In this collection of pieces from the New Yorker, Roueche (The Medical Detectives, etc.) takes us on memorable journeys here and abroad. There is a cross-country trip aboard Amtrak, a hazardous canoe voyage with Eskimos in the Bering Sea, another down the Mississippi on a giant tow. Roueche runs a whitewater stream in the Ozarks, follows the lone physician of Jal, N.M., on a day's rounds and reports on urban development in Portland, Ore. The descriptions of his European travels, by train and canal barge, are evocative enough to rouse a restless feeling in travel-minded readers. Back home, he describes the aftermath of a storm and tells what it is like to live without electricity. Three pieces written more than 30 years agoabout a Shaker community, Sag Harbor and Amagansettshow their age; but the remaining ones, about people, travel and places, are delightful. January 23
One of our best travel writers ( Special Places: in search of small town America ) presents pieces on travels in a variety of ways to a variety of places between 1946 and 1985. The majority are from the 1970s and 1980s. We visit wealthy wheat-country Kansas; a small-town, isolated New Mexican doctor; the last surviving Shakers in Mt. Lebanon, New York; and Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and France via train. If that seems too tame, then we can accompany Roueche on a towboat ride down the Mississippi River and on a dangerous , icy canoe trip with Eskimos from mainland Alaska to King Island. His description of Portland, Oregon demands that the reader visit; that of a tourist barge trip in France entices more than travelogues. Roueche doesn't merely tell about his trips, he takes us along. Highly recommended. Roger W. Fromm, Bloomsburg Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.