The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson review – a new understanding of global history?

Don’t leave networks to conspiracy theorists, argues the prolific historian in a book that ranges from the Illuminati to Brexit and Trump

In a dark joke from the early 1930s, a Jewish man is gleefully browsing Der Stürmer, a Nazi propaganda rag. His baffled friends protest: “Why are you looking at that rubbish? And how come you’re enjoying it so much?” “Because,” he answers, “if you read the Jewish papers, it is going terribly for us. But in this one, the news is all good. We control the banks, we control the country – we run the whole world!”

If the maddest conspiracy theories were true, it would be good news for historians, too. They would have rather an easy job, because wars, revolutions and economic crashes could be explained simply by exposing the cabals that engineered them. Niall Ferguson, the prolific historian and broadcaster, is no conspiracy ...