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

Analysis and Commentary

Student Protesters More Akin To Puritans

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, November 30, 2015

While the world has been gripped by epoch-making events — from jihadist massacres in Paris to downed warplanes in Syria — American universities have been gripped by events that are better described as emoji-making.


We Face A Three-Headed Monster

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, November 23, 2015

It is usual for horror to be followed by hysteria. The unusual thing about the Paris massacre on Nov. 13 is that the most hysterical reactions have been thousands of miles from the scene of carnage.

Analysis and Commentary

What Would Eisenhower Do?

by Niall Fergusonvia National Review
Thursday, November 19, 2015

[Subscription required] American foreign policy today is in disarray. Faced with three major challenges to Western democracy — a restive Russia, an economically ascendant China, and Islamic extremism emanating from a strife-torn Middle East — President Obama has struggled to formulate a coherent strategy.


Paris And The Fall Of Rome

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, November 16, 2015

I am not going to repeat what you have already read or heard. I am not going to say that what happened in Paris on Friday night was unprecedented horror, for it was not.

Analysis and Commentary

Wear Your Poppy And Remember: Sometimes We Must Fight

by Niall Fergusonvia The Sunday TImes
Sunday, November 8, 2015

 [Subscription Required] The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to journalists what fish in a barrel are to marksmen.

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Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist

by Niall Fergusonvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger, based on unprecedented access to his private papers.


Bash Kissinger But Not Obama? The Double Standard Is Striking

by Niall Fergusonfeaturing Henry A. Kissingervia Trib Total Media
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Having spent much of the last decade writing a life of Kissinger, I no longer think of the former secretary of State as the heartless grandmaster of realpolitik. (That's a caricature.) But after reading countless critiques of his record, not least the late Christopher Hitchens' influential “Trial of Henry Kissinger,” I also find myself asking another question: Where are the equivalent critiques of Obama?

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Analysis and Commentary

Cameron Is Right To Schmooze The Chinese

by Niall Fergusonvia The Times
Saturday, October 24, 2015

[Subscription required] The prime minister is neatly repositioning Britain alongside the world’s rising power, just as the US did 40 years ago


Niall Ferguson: The Degeneration Of Europe

by Niall Fergusonvia Prospect Magazine (UK)
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sluggish growth, an ageing population and a refugee crisis - will the union survive?

Analysis and Commentary

Playing Patience While Syria Burns

by Niall Fergusonquoting Henry A. Kissingervia TheWorldPost
Monday, October 12, 2015

In England the game of solitaire is known as "patience." For those unfamiliar with the game, a single card player places a shuffled deck of cards face down and tries, by turning them over and rearranging them, to end up with four columns, one for each suit, with the cards ranked from ace to king.