Without pictures or map, not only ""bleak and dreary"" East Berlin but the whole city presents an uninviting prospect -- but the book's major flaw remains the stress on contrasts between the two sectors, tempered only towards the close, and on dramatic aspects of the split. Moreover the summary history is studded with simplicisms that amount to evasions: to say that ""Socialism, which often appeals to the poor,"" took hold in the 1890's is a misstatement of the strong radical strain, that ""Germany and Austria-Hungary started World War I"" is almost equally obscurantist. (The appended definitions of ideologies flounder on the level of 'democracy is our system, inherited from the Greeks.') Even in the more developed sections on post-World War II and the blockade there is much that is unclear (the precipitating currency reform is not related to West German economic integration) while the many tales of hardship and daring stemming from the border-closing are both old and, considering the overall detente spurred by Willy Brandt, untimely. Indeed, recognition that the status quo may be regularized -- following brief mention that East Berlin has progressed -- is about the only enlightenment this has to offer and its chief advantage over David Knight's 1967 First Book, a more general, well-illustrated examination giving equivalent prominence to the Wall.