With this many-sided history of inter-war Berlin, Anton Gill in effect provides a permanently useful handbook for that metropolis during the 20 years when it ran the gamut from world-class forcing house for cultural innovation to being the dark hub of Hitler's emerging imperium. Gill is an enthusiast for this ever-resilient conurbation to the point of portraying Berliners as less committed en masse to the Nazis than they perhaps were. He is also on occasion excessively distracted from the city scene by national German events. But with their fine index, his crowded pages can be dipped into for facts or impressions about all aspects of this dynamo of a town during its most influential decades. In stretches at least, Gill's book is a lively chronicle, despite its teeming detail and sometimes histrionic tone.