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American Places, photographs by Eliot Porter, text by Wallace Stegner and Page Stegner. New York: E. P. Dutton. 252 pp. $29.50.

From the tangled underbrush of Skunk Hollow, Vermount, to the tidy streets of Grand Island, Nebraska, this book is a collection of American images. The nearly 90 Eliot Porter photographs show America with it's most attractive foot forward--a cypress slough in Florida, a fishing village in Maine, redwoods in California. Rounding out this collection of visual images are 14 essays about America.

But , as the essayists assure, this isn't just "another book of natural wonders, though some of the country it deals with is wonderful; not simply a collection of personal experiences, though it contains some of both.

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One essay tells of what life in America was like in 1800, while another tells of experiences the author had while traveling the country be interstate highway.

While the writers are concerned with the quality of life in North America, none of the essays or photographs focuses on modern cities. The real America, they seem to be saying, is where links to the nation's past are still strong: in small towns and out-of-the-way places." The book doesn't try to cover every corner of the country. Instead, the authors and photographer have picked out places for which they have personal feelings.

The result is a collection attractive photographs and readable essays.

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