This book recounts a fascinating new version of the evolution of Western Civilization since 1417, and links its modernization to a rather unexpected source. Essentially, this book has two narratives, one regarding the life of Poggio, and the other regarding Lucretius's poem and the way it worked to shape civilization as we know it. The first of these is extremely well done, but can be rather boring, while the second is more interesting to a general bibliophile but leaps to conclusions at times without sufficient support. Together, the two actually form a rather cohesive and interesting whole, flawed but still worthwhile. I cannot comment on the historical reliability and such, but can certainly say that if one has an interest in history from the period, Roman civilization, Latin, or the impact literature can have upon societies, then this is certainly not a bad choice in reading material.