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The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power (Paperback)
  • The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power (Paperback)
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The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power (Paperback)

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Paperback 608 Pages / Published: 07/06/2018
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'Silicon Valley needed a history lesson and Ferguson has provided it.' - Eric Schmidt

What if everything we thought we knew about history was wrong?

From the global bestselling author of Empire, The Ascent of Money and Civilization, this is a whole new way of looking at the world.

Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, and prime ministers. But what if that's simply because they create the historical archives? What if we are missing equally powerful but less visible networks-leaving them to the conspiracy theorists, with their dreams of all-powerful Illuminati?

The twenty-first century has been hailed as the Networked Age. But in The Square and the Tower Niall Ferguson argues that social networks are nothing new. From the printers and preachers who made the Reformation to the freemasons who led the American Revolution, it was the networkers who disrupted the old order of popes and kings.

Far from being novel, our era is the Second Networked Age, with the computer in the role of the printing press. Those looking forward to a utopia of interconnected 'netizens' may therefore be disappointed. For networks are prone to clustering, contagions, and even outages. And the conflicts of the past already have unnerving parallels today, in the time of Facebook, Islamic State and Trumpworld.

An award-winning Scottish historian, author and journalist Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and a senior fellow of the Centre for European Studies, Harvard. His books include: the global bestseller Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (the accompaniment to the six-part series he presented for Channel 4), Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, The War of the World: History's Age of Hatred, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World and Civilization: The Six Killer Apps of Modern Power.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141984810
Number of pages: 608
Weight: 438 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Provocative, snappy, a rare book ... fasten your seatbelts' - Peter Frankopan, Daily Telegraph

'Immensely stimulating, absorbing, illuminating ... sends ideas blazing all over the place ... one of the best popular historians of our time' - David Goodhart, Prospect

'Captivating and compelling' - Jonathan A. Knee, The New York Times

'Niall Ferguson writes big, muscular books with high-concept ideas that target current concerns through the prism of the past. They are pull-yourself-together warnings to the present by way of arresting historical precedent... Ferguson's breadth of learning is impressive.' - Andrew Anthony, Guardian

'Silicon Valley needed a history lesson and Ferguson has provided it.' - Eric Schmidt

'This is an immensely stimulating historical tour d'horizon...an absorbing Cook's tour of the past combined with an illuminating polemic about the current digital revolution.' - David Goodhart , Standpoint

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“More Circumspect, Coffee-Table History than Coffee-Ringed, Controversial One”

The publication of Niall Ferguson’s Empire (2003) and Colossus (2004) irritated – rather, incensed – many by discussing the virtues (as opposed to wholly concentrating on the vices) of imperial rule. Although this... More

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