The Square and the Tower

The Square and the Tower

Networks and Power, From the Freemasons to Facebook

Book - 2018
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Ferguson believes that hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on, and historians are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change. From the cults of ancient Rome to the dynasties of the Renaissance, from the founding fathers to Facebook, Ferguson examines the rise, fall and rise of networks, and shows how network theory— concepts such as clustering, degrees of separation, weak ties, contagions and phase transitions— can transform our understanding of both the past and the present.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780735222915
Branch Call Number: 302.3 Fe
Characteristics: xxvii, 563 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 25 cm


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Jan 19, 2019

Book gives a general overview on historical trends and events with some insight on the influences that drove them, Much information here and an enjoyable read for that. I learned much about “Western” events I wouldn't have run across elsewhere. Ferguson makes his case by presenting case after case rather than by illustrating and building his theme.

Jul 08, 2018

the last 100 pages covering the evolution of social networks and their impact (i.e. Brexit, Trump) are worthwhile reading

Jun 13, 2018

Many of us may think of networks, particularly social networks, as 20th/21st century phenomena. Ferguson lays out his theory that networks have always been with us, sometimes working within hierarchical institutions such as governments or large commercial enterprises, and at other times working against, or in place of, them.
In each chapter, he presents a particular historical era and identifies the hierarchies, the networks, theorizes how they worked together or in opposition to one another, and lays the foundation for the networks and hierarchies face ting the world today.
Having never looked at history in these tetms, which I am sure is the case for many of us, I found Ferguson's theories both revelatory and discussion-worthy. I think there are useful insights here, and that by examining human institutions and relationships in terms of their existing and potential networks and the affects if those networks on our hierarchical institutions is a field worthy of closer scrutiny. There are lessons hete for today's evolving global relationships.

Mar 04, 2018

He uses so many words the book's prose can best be described as dense, as in a dense thicket. I wish he had more poetry experience. With a poem the more thought you put into it the fewer words you need. He needs more thought.

Feb 20, 2018

This is a terrific book. I had not read any of Niall Ferguson's books prior to The Tower And The Square. It is filled with facts, data, charts, and illustrations, but the pages fly by. He is a joy to read. This is an important work at this time in our world and our country. Like a survey course in college, it spans ages. One is left with a feeling of optimism in that humans have been in tight squeezes many times before and the forces of openness have prevailed, many times after horrific periods, true, but prevailed. One is also left with the feeling that although the costumes change, the inherent forces are basically the same. Those in power like it that way, and don't want to play nicely with others. Similarly, one is reinforced in the belief that religion is a powerful way to control people, to unify the masses UNDER a leader who asserts a connection to that 'god', and being chosen by that 'god'. In other words, the use of religion enables despotic leaders to make dissent of the leadership, the 'sin' of the critic.


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