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Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder

About the Book

This is the story of two men, and the two decisions, that transformed world history in a single tumultuous year, 1917: Wilson’s entry into World War One and Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. 


In April 1917 Woodrow Wilson, champion of American democracy but also segregation; advocate for free trade and a new world order based on freedom and justice; thrust the United States into World War One in order to make the “world safe for democracy”—only to see his dreams for a liberal international system dissolve into chaos, bloodshed, and betrayal. 


That October Vladimir Lenin, communist revolutionary and advocate for class war and “dictatorship of the proletariat,” would overthrow Russia’s earlier democratic revolution that had toppled the all-power Czar, all in the name of liberating humanity—and instead would set up the most repressive totalitarian regime in history, the Soviet Union.


In this incisive, fast-paced history, New York Times bestselling author Arthur Herman brilliantly reveals how Lenin and Wilson rewrote the rules of modern geopolitics. Through the end of World War I, countries only marched into war to increase or protect their national interests.  After World War I, countries began going to war over ideas.  Together Lenin and Wilson unleashed the disruptive ideologies that would sweep the world, from nationalism and globalism to Communism and terrorism, and that continue to shape our world today. 


Our New World Disorder is the legacy left by Wilson and Lenin, and their visions of the perfectibility of man. One hundred years later, we still sit on the powder keg they first set the detonator to, through war and revolution.  


Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“The pairing of these two diametrically opposed figures into one biography makes this illuminating read for anybody interested in World War I, the new political order it spawned, and the failures that led to the rise of Nazism and the horrors of World War II.” —Library Journal

“‘The wars of peoples,’ predicted Winston Churchill in 1901, ‘will be more terrible than those of kings.’ Arthur Herman has brilliantly identified the moment that that prediction came true, only sixteen years later. In his gripping account of the pivotal year 1917 – as seen through the world-changing decisions of its two crucial protagonists VI Lenin and Woodrow Wilson – Herman shows how Total War descended on Mankind, how ideology trumped the old European kingly concepts of Realpolitik, and how competing  beliefs about dictatorship and democracy  would lead to an even bloodier conflict only two decades later.” —Professor Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

“Arthur Herman’s parallel biography of Lenin and Wilson will make the reader stop and think — about the great man theory of history and the cataclysmic events of 1917.  Analyzing their legacies, Herman issues a clarion call for us to cast a wary eye on ideologues who want to remake the world, in 2017 as in 1917.” —Nicholas Reynolds, author of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961

“Woodrow Wilson, the liberal idealist, and Vladimir Lenin, the illiberal totalitarian, hand-in-glove unwound the old nineteenth-century order and redefined war as an existential and global struggle over ideas—with disastrous twentieth-century results. In yet another well-written and fascinating dual biography, the prolific and insightful historian Arthur Herman shows how Wilson’s naive good intentions and Lenin’s deliberate ruthlessness nonetheless had the same pernicious effect of using the state to defy human nature. A fascinating and entirely original explanation of the American and Russian origins of the modern world.” —Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“Arthur Herman writes with the artistic gifts of a novelist, and 1917 breaks new ground, plowing up the seminal event of the twentieth century, World War I. In his unique telling of this tale, the spotlight of interpretation falls on Vladimir Lenin and Woodrow Wilson, the former a Russian ideologue of violent Bolshevik revolution, the latter an American academic ideologue of peaceful ‘progressive’ revolution. As the author makes clear, both millenarian politicians are determined to rule their revolutions, and to bend the existing social order to their abstract, even utopian, ideals.” —Lewis Lehrman, author of Churchill, Roosevelt, & Company: Studies in Character and Statecraft and Money, Gold, and History

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062747365
  • ISBN 10: 0062747363
  • Imprint: HarperLuxe
  • On Sale: 11/28/2017
  • Pages: 768
  • List Price: 36.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Presidents & Heads of State
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century

1917 by Arthur Herman PhD

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