This will never make it as a Michelin or AAA guide for itinerant corporate execs or honeymoon couples. Thompson's saloon search was made on behalf of all the wayfarers, midnight cowboys, unsung poetasters, and heartbreak kids who might be passing through. Crisscrossing the country on his heroic mission--""what I seek in a Great American Bar is form to frame or isolate chaos""--he is appalled by the soul-destroying chrome-and-formica cocktail lounges, ersatz taverns, dinky discos. What he seeks is the classic 19th-century saloon: mahogany or oak bar, polished brass fixtures, big mirrors--the hand-carved Gilded Age interiors which mostly vanished with Prohibition. Plus, of course, a simpatico clientele. Entire states are beyond redemption--Pennsylvania gets a single, grudging page. But rest easy, traveler. There are plenty of good spots left from Key West to Carson City; New Orleans to Miles City, Montana. It's a pilgrimage worthy of Walt Whitman or Thomas Wolfe--Jack Kerouac at the very least.