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July 25, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

BERLIN JOURNAL 1989-1990 by Robert Darnton (W. W. Norton: $10.95; 338 pp.) and TIME OUT BERLIN GUIDE by Time Out Magazine C (Penguin: $14; 288 pp., illustrated, paperback original). Darnton comments, "The Revolution in East Germany has had so many turning points that it makes the head spin," and his collected observations, profiles and reflections offer valuable insights into the events that precipitated the downfall of the Soviet-dominated regime. Roaming through East Berlin and the surrounding countryside, Darnton catalogues the grim legacy of corruption, mismanagement, repression and pollution that lead the German people to demand better, freer lives. He recounts the euphoria of dancing on top of the Wall with crowds of revelers; the Orwellian surveillance network of the Stasi, the hated secret police, and the cultural clashes that took place when two groups met after being divided for a generation. Readers curious to locate the events Darnton describes can consult the thorough guide to Berlin prepared by the staff of the British magazine Time Out. The writers mix useful information with a welcome touch of irony, distinguishing historic importance from media hype.

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