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Mark KamineThe name Charm City first came into use during a 1974 garbage strike and heat wave that led to looting and arson. This darkly droll anecdote, with which the novelist Madison Smartt Bell opens his guide to Baltimore, gives fair warning of what's to follow. A standard tourist itinerary can be gleaned from the handful of walks Bell describes, but Frommer would serve better for those interested in simply seeing the sights and eating fine food. Bell's Baltimore is a real city: complex, ever changing, often gritty and dangerous, always interesting…Guides to cities are easy enough to come by. Guides to cities' souls are not. Charm City is both.
—The New York Times