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What if everything we thought we knew about history was wrong? 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. But networks have a dark side, 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.


A great historian . . . Ferguson is master of all he surveys


Ferguson's intellect and panache mean that his skillful revision of history will reverberate for years to come


A talented controversialist. He brings a wealth of historical knowledge to bear on big questions


He writes with splendid panache and a seemingly effortless, debonair wit

Andrew Roberts

Ferguson has knack for making long-ago events as vivid and visceral as the evening news

The New York Times

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    November 15, 2017

    Allen Lane

    608 pages

    RRP $55.00

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  • The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power
    Niall Ferguson



    October 26, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

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