Niall Ferguson

Senior Fellow

Niall Ferguson, Hoover senior fellow, is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and a noted author.

Ferguson's books include The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective (2010), High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg (2010), and The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Penguin, 2008). His first book, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897–1927 (Cambridge University Press, 1995), was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award; the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (Macmillan, 1997), was a best seller in the United Kingdom.

In 1998 he published, to international critical acclaim, The Pity of War: Explaining World War One (Basic Books) and The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild (Penguin). The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001 he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700–2000 (Basic), the product of a year as Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England.

His books have been translated and published in numerous countries, including the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Taiwan.

He is a regular contributor to television and radio. In 2003 he wrote and presented six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4 n the United Kingdom. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (Basic), was a best seller in both Britain and the United States. He also wrote and presented the two-hour film American Colossus, broadcast in the UK in 2004.

He has just completed a six-part history of the twentieth century, The War of the World, to be broadcast in the UK in 2006.

A prolific commentator on contemporary politics, he writes and reviews regularly for the British and American press. He and his family divide their time between the United States and the United Kingdom.

He is the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award for public service (2010).

Born in Glasgow in 1964, Niall Ferguson was awarded a Demyship (half-fellowship) for his academic achievements by Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1981 and graduated with First Class Honours in 1985. After two years as a Hanseatic Scholar in Hamburg and Berlin, he took up a research fellowship at Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1989, subsequently moving to a lectureship at Peterhouse. He taught for more than a decade at Jesus College, Oxford, and was then Herzog Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, before moving to Harvard in 2004.

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Recent Commentary

Paranoid Republidents for Trump

by Niall Ferguson
Monday, July 25, 2016

What a comedy! What a circus! Melania Trump's speech was ripped off from one of Michelle Obama's.


The Mideast's Next Dilemma

by Niall Fergusonvia Newsweek
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On one issue the Republican contenders and the president they wish to replace are in agreement: the United States should reduce its military presence in the Greater Middle East. The preferred arguments are that America cannot afford to be engaged in combat operations in far-flung countries and that such operations are futile anyway.


From Trollope To Trump

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, July 18, 2016

To understand what has just happened in Britain, mystified Americans are advised to read the novels of Anthony Trollope. I especially recommend “Framley Parsonage.’’ There is a wonderful parody there of a Victorian change of government, which dashes the political ambitions of the unscrupulous Harold Smith, briefly elevated to the Petty Bag Office.

The Populism Bomb

by Niall Ferguson
Monday, July 11, 2016

The Trump phenomenon explained.


Tony Blair’s Legacy? Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, July 11, 2016

All political lives, it is said, end in failure. Tony Blair and David Cameron both know only too well what he meant. But whose failure was worse? To judge by the British press last week, the answer is clear.

Analysis and Commentary

What’s Really In It For Britain?

by Niall Fergusonvia Niall Ferguson
Thursday, July 7, 2016

Living in New York, you soon see how easy it is to succumb. “Oh, you’re English?” (Scottish actually, but never mind.) “We just love England.”


The World After Brexit

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, July 4, 2016

“Now is the end! Perish the world!” In a hilarious 1961 sketch, the “Beyond the Fringe’’ team played a millenarian sect, led to a mountain top by Peter Cook to await the end of the world. After protracted discussions about the precise form the apocalypse will take —“Will this wind be so mighty as to lay low the mountains of the earth?” “No, it will not be quite as mighty as that”—there is a long and expectant silence.

Analysis and Commentary

The Year Of Living Improbably

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, June 27, 2016

A number of years ago the British apparel chain “French Connection” unveiled a daring and eye-catching new marketing slogan: the initials FCUK. This seems like the mot juste for the British disconnection that happened last week.

Analysis and Commentary

Take It From A Divorcee: Brexit Will Cost You Dear

by Niall Fergusonvia The Spectator
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I suppose there are such things as amicable divorces. Mine wasn’t. Like the First World War, it was fought for more than four years, and ended with the Treaty of Versailles (by which I mean that it imposed territorial losses and the payment of annual reparations for a very long time).


Making Sense Of Orlando And Birstall

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, June 20, 2016

No man is an island, as John Donne said. Every murder changes the world a bit. I suspect the murder of Jo Cox, the young British member of Parliament killed in Birstall last Thursday, was the sort that changes the world a lot. I wish I could say the same about the murders of the 49 people who lost their lives in Orlando a week ago.