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The square and the tower : networks and power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

( Book
New York : Penguin Press, 2018.  |  

Originally published: London : Allen Lane, 2017.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 436-536) and index.

Part I: Introduction: Networks and hierarchies ; The mystery of the Illuminati ; Our networked age ; Networks, networks everywhere ; Why hierarchies? ; From seven bridges to six degrees ; Weak ties and viral ideas ; Varieties of network ; When networks meet ; Seven insights ; The Illuminati illuminated -- Part II: Emperors and explorers. A brief history of hierarchy ; The First Networked Age ; The art of the Renaissance deal ; Discoverers ; Pizarro and the Inca ; When Gutenberg met Luther -- Part III: Letters and lodges. The economic consequences of the Reformation ; Trading ideas ; Networks of Enlightenment ; Networks of revolution -- Part IV: The restoration of hierarchy. The red and the black ; From crowd to tyranny ; Order restored ; The house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha ; The house of Rothschild ; Industrial networks ; From pentarchy to hegemony -- Part V: Knights of the Round Table. An imperial life ; Empire ; Taiping ; 'The Chinese must go' ; The Union of South Africa ; Apostles ; Armageddon -- Part VI: Plagues and pipers. Greenmantle ; The plague ; The leader principle ; The fall of the golden international ; The ring of five ; Brief encounter ; Ella in reform school -- Part VII: Own the jungle. The long peace ; The general ; The crisis of complexity ; Henry Kissinger's network of power ; Into the valley ; The fall of the Soviet Empire ; The triumph of Davos Man ; Breaking the Bank of England -- Part VIII: The Library of Babel. 9/11/2001 ; 9/15/2008 ; The administrative state ; Web 2.0 ; Coming apart ; Tweeting the revolution ; 11/9/2016 -- Part IX: Conclusion: facing Cyberia. Metropolis ; Network outage ; FANG, BAT and EU ; The square and the tower redux -- Afterword: The original square and tower.

"Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, prime ministers and other potentates. It's about states, armies and corporations. It's about orders from on high. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the less visible social networks that are the true drivers of change--leaving them to the conspiracy theorists, with their dreams of all-powerful Illuminati? The twenty-first century has been hailed as the Age of Networks. However, in [this book], Niall Ferguson argues that networks have always been with us, from the structure of the brain to the food chain, from the family tree to freemasonry. Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. Just because conspiracy theorists like to fantasize about such networks doesn't mean they are not real. From the cults of ancient Rome to the dynasties of the Renaissance, from the founding fathers to Facebook, The Square and the Tower tells the story of the rise, fall and rise of networks. Far from being novel, Ferguson argues, our era is the Second Networked Age, with the personal computer in the role of the printing press. And he shows how network theory--concepts such as homophily, degrees of separation, weak ties, viral contagions and phase transitions--can transform our understanding of both the past and the present. Just as The Ascent of Money put Wall Street into historical perspective as the financial crisis struck ten years ago, so The Square and the Tower does for Silicon Valley as political storm clouds gather over the tech titans. Those who prophesize a global community of interconnected netizens are in for a shock, Ferguson warns. For the conflicts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries already have unnerving parallels today in the time of Facebook, the Islamic State and Trump."--Dust jacket.

Branch Call Number Location Status Due Date
Niagara-on-the-Lake 6448 FER Adult History Available -

Available copies

  • 3 copies at Libraries in Niagara Cooperative. (Show)
  • 1 copy at Niagara-on-the-Lake Library System.

0 current holds with 3 total copies.


Related Subjects

Social networks > History.
Hierarchies > History.
Power (Social sciences)

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