Born in Glasgow in 1964, he was a Demy at Magdalen College and graduated with First Class Honours in 1985. After two years as a Hanseatic Scholar in Hamburg and Berlin, he took up a Research Fellowship at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1989, subsequently moving to a Lectureship at Peterhouse. He returned to Oxford in 1992 to become Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Jesus College, a post he held until 2000, when he was appointed Professor of Political and Financial History at Oxford. Two years later he moved to the United States to take up the Herzog Chair in Financial History at the Stern Business School, New York University, before moving to Harvard this year.
His first book, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927 (Cambridge University Press, 1995), was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award, while the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (Macmillan, 1997), was a UK bestseller and subsequently published in the United States, Germany, Spain and elsewhere. In 1998 he published to international critical acclaim The Pity of War: Explaining World War One (Basic Books) and The World’s Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild (Penguin). The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001 he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000 (Basic), following a year as Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England.
Ferguson is an accomplished biographer. In addition to the history of the Rothschild family, he recently published High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg (2010) and is currently writing a life of Henry Kissinger. In 2011 his film company Chimerica Media released its first feature-length documentary, “Kissinger," which won the New York Film Festival’s prize for Best Documentary. His most recent book is The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, published in the United States in June 2013.
A prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics, Niall Ferguson writes regularly for newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. He was the Philippe Roman Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics in 2010-11 and the BBC Reith Lecturer for 2012. He is a member of the board of trustees of the American Academy in Berlin, the Museum of American Finance and the New York Historical Society. His many prizes and awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010) and the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012).
- The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die Penguin (2013)
- Civilization: The West and the Rest Penguin (2012)
- High Financier : The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg Penguin (2010)
- The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World Penguin (2008)
- The War of the World: History's Age of Hatred Penguin (2006)
- The War of the World: Twentieth-century Conflict and the Descent of the West Penguin (2006)
- Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire Penguin (2004)
- Empire: The Rise and Fall of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power Basic Books (2003)
- The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000 Basic Books (2001)
- The Pity of War Basic Books (1999)
- The House of Rothschild Penguin (1999)
- Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals Macmillan (1997)
- Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897–1927 Cambridge University Press (1995)
Position: Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School
Specialty: International history; financial history; American and British imperial history
27 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617.495.4303 ext. 203
Office Hours: Thursday 11:15-12:30