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. Once we understand this, both the past, and the future, start to look very different indeed.
Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His books include The House of Rothschild, Empire, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, The Great Degeneration and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist. His many prizes include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).