John Reed (1887-1920) American journalist and poet-adventurer whose colourful life as a revolutionary writer ended in Russia but made him the hero of a generation of radical intellectuals. Reed became a close friend of V. I. Lenin and was an eyewitness to the 1917 October revolution. He recorded this historical event in his best-known book Ten Days That Shook the World (1920). Reed is buried with other Bolshevik heroes beside the Kremlin wall.
Vladimir Lenin was born in 1870 and was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. He became a revolutionary, a communist politician, the principal leader of the October Revolution, the first head of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic and, from 1922, the first de facto leader of the Soviet Union. He wrote Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism while in exile in Switzerland during the First World War.