Herein are sketches of forty-one American cities, from Bismarck, N.D.--small-- to Wilmington, Del.--large, done in sure, quick, often broad strokes by a New Yorker staff writer of entertaining abilities. If you think that after the tenth city--Erie, Pa.-- you will be bored, you are wrong. Each town is developed in a personal fashion, so that between the corny rodeo in Laramic, Wyo. and the search for a vintage bourbon in Lexington, Ky., lie an individual itch and nuance, events and eventoriums as varied as the landscape. As for the burghers themselves, Mr. H. has collected an ark of Americans that only John Cheever has managed to catch before him--Babbitts `59-'65--superbly ominous in their muddleheaded boosterism when they know they are on camera, a bit lost on their home grounds when caught unawares. By the thirty-seventh city you'll think you have read everything. Then comes the visit to the atomic laundry where the Los Alamos wash is done.