In the past ("the past" get it... oh, wait you haven't read the next bit yet), I have tried reading history books (see, history, past, har har!) and they always seemed to disappoint. They're always overly concerned with pinning down dates and details to the point of tediousness. 1917 is not like this. It's an insightful look at two figures who managed to shape the course of the world. Wilson was no doubt one of the worst presidents ever to hold the office: an out-and-out racist and authoritarian who had visions of creating a perfect world. His bumbling allowed for the creation of the U.S.S.R. and laid the groundwork for Nazi Germany. Lenin, well we all know he was a monster, but at least he was honest about his motives. The book mixes Lenin's rise with Wilson's quest for establishing the USA as the arbiter of peace throughout the world. The two stories weave together nicely as the World War rages and pushes their destinies, and the fate of the modern world, forward.