Cole, as an observer of Germany in defeat, writes with the sure hand of the professional journalist but his eye is that of a social psychologist. His insights emerge in vignettes and the perception behind some gesture or remark. He detects and arrests the condition of modern Germany in a maid's proud assertion that she comes from ""an academic"" family; a prostitute's conviction that ""next year"" she will marry her boyfriend; a beggar's difficulty in finding a station; a child's game involving a penalty known as ""denazification""; a waitress losing her beauty; a Burgomaster whose concept of law and order rests unalterably upon belief in rule by force. Cole is a filer of newspaper accounts of petty crimes, a student of traffic problems on the autobahn, a philosopher of eating habits and sartorial style. Yet of his countless side glances and details he creates a consistent and poignant portrait for nothing seems irrelevant or misplaced -- except his attempt at the end to eke out a few generalizations, which, if unnecessary, are harmless. What matters, what lingers is the glimpses, sudden phrase, a play of remembrance which often make it disturbing. And for all this, perhaps limited in its appeal.