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The square and the tower : networks, hierarchies and the struggle for global power Preview this item
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The square and the tower : networks, hierarchies and the struggle for global power

Author: Niall Ferguson
Publisher: [London] : Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, and prime ministers. But what if that's simply because hierarchies 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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Niall Ferguson
ISBN: 9780241290460 0241290465 9780241298985 0241298989
OCLC Number: 1007888247
Description: xxvii, 573 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: networks and hierarchies. The mystery of the Illuminati --
Our networked age --
Networks, networks everywhere --
Why hierarchies? --
From seven bridges to six degrees --
Weak ties and viral ideas --
Varieties of network --
When networks meet --
Seven insights --
The Illuminati illuminated --
Part II: Emperors and explorers. A brief history of hierarchy --
The first networked age --
The art of the Renaissance deal --
Discoverers --
Pizarro and the Inca --
When Gutenberg met Luther --
Part III: Letters and lodges. The economic consequences of the Reformation --
Trading ideas --
Networks of Enlightenment --
Networks of revolution --
Part IV: The restoration of hierarchy. The red and the black --
From crowd to tyranny --
Order restored --
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha --
The House of Rothschild --
Industrial networks --
From pentarchy to hegemony --
Part V: Knights of the round table. An imperial life --
Empire --
Taiping --
'The Chinese must go' --
The union of South Africa --
Apostles --
Armageddon --
Part VI: Plagues and pipers. Greenmantle --
The plague --
The leader principle --
The fall of the golden international --
The ring of five --
Brief encounter --
Ella in reform school --
Part VII: Own the jungle. The long peace --
The general --
The crisis of complexity --
Henry Kissinger's network of power --
Into the valley --
The fall of the Soviet Empire --
The triumph of Davos Man --
Breaking the Bank of England --
Part VIII: The library of Babel. 9/11/2001 --
9/15/2008 --
The administrative state --
Web 2.0 --
Coming apart --
Tweeting the revolution --
11/9/2016 --
Part IX: Conclusion: Facing Cyberia. Metropolis --
Network outage --
FANG, BAT and EU --
The square and the tower redux --
Afterword: the original square and tower.
Responsibility: Niall Ferguson.

Abstract:

"Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, and prime ministers. But what if that's simply because hierarchies 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 personal 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 sixteenth and seventeenth centuries already have unnerving parallels today, in the time of Facebook, Islamic State and Trumpworld."--

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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 * Read more...

 
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