This book is a spin-off from the recent TV series of the same title, in which author James Michener traveled to every region of the country, attempting ''to take stock of the USA - where we are, and where we are likely to go.''
Not only are the media mixed here: so are the results.
The text is derived from the TV script, with substantial additions by the editor (Peter Chaitin, not Michener). It combines light historical descriptions of countless localities with interviews of local residents.
The photographs are mostly ''stills'' from the series footage, which probably accounts for the flat-and-fuzzy quality that mars many of them. They are supplemented with file shots from photo libraries, some of which look suspiciously outdated.
Michener's interviews are the strongest feature of the book.
Despite Michener's avowed mission, this is not the place to look for profound thinking. The concluding pages lean more toward platitude (''a great revolution in social mores has occurred'') than insight. Still, as a coffee-table book, it all makes for pleasant - although not memorable - browsing.