In This Review

Berlin Journal, 1989-1990
Berlin Journal, 1989-1990
By Robert Darnton
Norton, 1991, 352 pp

A distinguished American historian of French culture found himself in Berlin during the revolutionary year that preceded German unification. With a historian's reflectiveness and a journalist's eye he watched events in East Germany and his journal is a vivid account of the dissolution of the old regime. Anecdotal and analytical by turns, Darnton has written a readable account of the changes in the life and thought of east Germans. He records somber moments, such as the acceptance of responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi past, but he also catches in apt phrases the great cultural differences that divide the country even today: "The East Germans don't even have an expression for the 'fast lane'."