Unlike most of my books, I can remember exactly where I read this week’s one, Ronald Clark’s 1988 biography of Lenin. It was in late 1989 or early 1990, when I was an infantry officer in the British army and my company had been sent to spend a week on ‘site guard’ at a depot somewhere in Germany. It wasn’t a particularly onerous duty. Apart from leading an occasional patrol around the perimeter, there wasn’t much for the officers to do, so I took Lenin along to while away the time. The available options for entertainment were a) read about Lenin or b) join the boys in watching the same German porn movies over and over again. Being a nerd, I chose Lenin, though it came with an interesting sound accompaniment from the video player in the room next door.