I never enjoyed the type of history full of numbers and names. I'd much rather learn about history thru biography. Reading a few biographies a year will allow you to see your own time in a new light, and compare the lives of those around you (and yourself) to truly remarkable people. What you'll learn is the following:
1. Successful people all get "there" on their own terms
2. Successful people face very difficult challenges
3. Their tenacity is usually the reason for their success
I just finished a biography which I highly recommend if you need some inspiration.
Eric Metaxes' book Amazing Grace transports us back to the event which set up the US Civil war, England's abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. Well developed characters enrich the vivid account of these historic events. Eric Metaxes writes with fantastic wit and tells a very personal story of Wilberforce's struggle against the Slave Trade from 1774 to 1833.
I recommend this book because it gives a unique point of view of the social justice as a creation during this time. Wilberforce had a big hand in creating a social conscious. Metaxes also explains the unintended consequences of the French Revolution on the freedom of the slaves.