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In this groundbreaking new series hosted by Niall Ferguson and based on his bestselling book The Square and the Tower, Ferguson visits network theorists, social scientists and data analysts to explore the history of social networks. From the Reformation and 17th century witch-hunting, through the American Revolution and to the nightmare visions of Orwell’s 1984, Ferguson explores the intersection of social media, technology and the spread of cultural movements. Reviewing classic experiments and cutting-edge research, Ferguson demonstrates how human behavior, disruptive technology and profit can energize ideas and communication, ultimately changing the world.

Milbank Family Senior Fellow
Executive Director
Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia
Research Fellow
Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow / National Fellow 2010–11
Deputy Director/ Director of Library & Archives | Research Fellow

“J.M. Keynes 1919 and the Ebb and Flow of Globalization” with Michael Bordo

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A History Working Group seminar with Michael Bordo which explored the turning points in the evolution of the global economic system since Keynes’s famous 1919 tract, The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

Sound Recordings in the Mont Pèlerin Society

“Mont Pelerin 1947” with Bruce Caldwell

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A History Working Group seminar with Bruce Caldwell. Caldwell presented “Mont Perelin 1947,” where he discussed a chapter from forthcoming biography of Friedrich A. Hayek, which he is co-authoring with Hansjoerg Klausinger.


“The Last Conservative: The Life of Milton Friedman” with Jennifer Burns

Friday, November 15, 2019
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A History Working Group seminar with Jennifer Burns who presented “The Last Conservative: The Lives and Times of Milton Friedman,” where she discussed a chapter of her new biography of Milton Friedman, arguably Hoover’s most famous economist.


“Winning the Battles and Losing the War” with Nadav Samin

Monday, November 4, 2019
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A History Working Group seminar with Nadav Samin on whether the United States was underestimating the resilience of and potential threat posed by Islamic extremism.


“Becoming Hitler: Lessons from the Making of a Demagogue” with Thomas Weber

Monday, October 21, 2019
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

A History Working Group seminar focused on Thomas Weber's latest book, titled Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi, which was published by Basic Books in 2017, which explores Hitler’s experience in the critical period between the end of the First World War and the publication of the Versailles Treaty. Thomas Weber is a professor of History and International Affairs and Director at the Centre for Global Security and Governance at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.



The Hoover Institution was founded on the idea that historical study is the indispensable foundation for the study of war, peace and revolution, as well as for the preservation of a free society: that is why it was, from the outset, an institution with an archive of historical manuscripts and publications.  However, historians in the United States have increasingly recoiled from addressing contemporary issues, while policymakers are rarely trained as historians. This means that policy is often formulated with too little reference to historical experience on issues ranging from financial instability to technological disruption, from Islamic terrorism to mass migration—and most recently the threat of pandemic disease.

The Hoover History Working Group (HHWG) aims to conduct and disseminate historical research on issues of national and international concern; provide concrete recommendations on the basis of research and discussion; and use Hoover's unique situation to convene academic experts, policy makers, and interested private sector actors both at Stanford and in Washington, DC.

Under the leadership of Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson and Executive Director Manuel Rincon-Cruz, the History Working Group was launched in fall 2019.