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Bavaria has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The Romans ruled it for some time in the final years B.C., but the Bavarian people have paid their dues to the area, having inhabited it for thousands of years themselves. Reading up on the fascinating history of this beautiful region and its culture can definitely enhance one's understanding of the history and thus the present. A guide to the area will also help you keep afoot and one with some German phrases will be all the more helpful.
Delving back into Bavarian histoy, some books of interest are "The Course of German History" by A. Taylor, "Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria 1933-1945" by Ian Kershaw, or "The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria" by Christopher McIntosh.
If you are in need of a guide to this region, pick up Lonely Planet's Bavaria Guide or for more specialized areas of interest you may be interested in "Drive Around Bavaria & the Austrian Tyrol: Your guide to great drives" by Brent Gregston.
It's always great to give the host language a shot and the book to help you do this is "Rick Steves' German Phrase Book and Dictionary" by Rick Steves.