Reference Points

"Berlin" Lonely Planet, $11.99

This is a small, intimate guide to Berlin, that most modern of cities, perfect for carrying around in your pocket or purse. Berlin is very much focused on the present, not the past. If profligacy seems to be its reason for being, and that is the impression one gets after perusing this guide, it does have its somber sides too, because Berlin is a city that combines the horrific with the hedonistic. Hence, visitors can partake of the city's numerous cabarets and clubs but also visit the Jewish Museum, an interactive journey through 2,000 years of Berlin's Jewish history, or see with their own eyes Checkpoint Charlie, the gateway between West and East Berlin in the Cold War. But, warns author Andrea Schulte-Peevers, it is little more than a "tacky tourist trap" where "uniformed actors" pose in front of the replica of a guardhouse. There also is an informative section on the Berlin Wall.

— June Sawyers, Special to Tribune Newspapers

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