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Want to understand how history is made? Look for the networks

Niall Ferguson's new grand theory of history is carried off with panache and sardonic wit

By David Marquand   December 2017

Russian Revolution of 1917: Lenin speaking to the workers of the Putilov factory, in Petrograd, 1917. Painting by Isaak Brodsky (1883-1939). National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

Niall Ferguson belongs to an endangered species. In an age of academic specialisation, when most historians devote themselves to learning more and more about less and less, Ferguson is a polymath. He scorns disciplinary boundaries, mixing economics with computer science and anecdotes with sweeping generalisations. As he puts it, he seeks to undermine the “tyranny of the…

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