In the summer of 1931 Joseph Hergesheimer, author of more than a dozen books of fiction, returned to Germany for a visit, his first since 1907. This very American trip is recounted in his Berlin (1932) forgotten book by a well-nigh forgotten writer. It is surely one of the most curious volumes of a literary type which, for all its vigorous and perceptive judgements, is itself something of a curiosity. By now, I suppose, it is a commonplace mat the travel book, the elegant bastard of genres, invariably reveals more about the traveller than about the geography he supposedly describes. This is true certainly for modern examples which come to mind – James's The American Scene (1907) Hemingway's The Green Hills of Africa (1935) or Steinbeck's Travels with Charley (1961). And whatever other defects mar, say, Truman Capote's Local Color (1950) or John Knowles's Double Vision (1964), the failure to impose personality on the scene –to let voice and stance, even with their inadequacies, shape and experience – is in large measure the source of our disappointment in those books. Hergesheimer's Berlin does not fail for this reason. Like Local Color, it is mannered, and like Double Vision, it is thin; but it is not merely mannered and thin.