All Books

Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897-1927

(Cambridge University Press, 1995; shortlisted for the Longman/History Today Book of the Year award)

(editor) Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals

(Macmillan, 1997; also published in the U.S., Spain, Germany, Poland and Japan)

The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998; winner of the 1998 Wadsworth Prize for Business History and shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award; also published in the U.S. and Germany)

The Pity of War

(Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 1998; also published in the U.S. and Germany)

The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000

(Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 2001; also published in the U.S., Germany, Italy, Spain and South Korea; forthcoming in Turkey)

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World

(Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 2003; also published in the U.S. as Empire: The Rise and Fall of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power; translated into Korean)

Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire

(London, Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 2004; also published in the U.S. as Colossus: The Price of America's Empire, translated into Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish)

The War of the World: History's Age of Hatred

(London: Allen Lane / Penguin Press, 2006; also published in the United States as The War of the World: Twentieth-century Conflict and the Descent of the West; translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish; shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times History Book of The Year Prize)

(with Oliver Wyman) The Evolution of Financial Services

(London / New York: Oliver Wyman, 2007)

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World 

(New York: Penguin Press, 2008) 

High Financier : The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg 

(New York: Penguin Press, 2010)

Book - Civilization


If in the year 1411 you had been able to circumnavigate the globe, you would have been most impressed by the dazzling civilizations of the Orient. The Forbidden City was under construction in Ming Beijing; in the Near East, the Ottomans were closing in on Constantinople.

By contrast, England would have struck you as a miserable backwater ravaged by plague, bad sanitation and incessant war. The other quarrelsome kingdoms of Western Europe - Aragon, Castile, France, Portugal and Scotland - would have seemed little better. As for fifteenth-century North America, it was an anarchic wilderness compared with the realms of the Aztecs and Incas. The idea that the West would come to dominate the Rest for most of the next half millennium would have struck you as wildly fanciful. And yet it happened.

What was it about the civilization of Western Europe that allowed it to trump the outwardly superior empires of the Orient? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, was that the West developed six "killer applications" that the Rest lacked: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. The key question today is whether or not the West has lost its monopoly on these six things. If so, Ferguson warns, we may be living through the end of Western ascendancy.

Civilization takes readers on their own extraordinary journey around the world - from the Grand Canal at Nanjing to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul; from Machu Picchu in the Andes to Shark Island, Namibia; from the proud towers of Prague to the secret churches of Wenzhou. It is the story of sailboats, missiles, land deeds, vaccines, blue jeans and Chinese Bibles."

Book - High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg


In this groundbreaking new biography, based on more than 10,000 hitherto unavailable letters and diary entries, Niall Ferguson returns to his roots as a financial historian to tell the story of Siegmund Warburg, an extraordinary man whose philosophy of finance was the antithesis of the debt-fuelled, algorithm-driven banking of our own time.

A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Warburg rose to become a dominant figure in the post-war City of London and one of the architects of European financial integration. Seared by events in the 1930s, when the long-established family-run bank was first almost destroyed by the Depression and then 'Aryanized' by the Nazis, Warburg was determined that his own bank, S.G. Warburg, would both learn from the past and contribute to the healing of post-war Europe.

Siegmund Warburg was a complex and ambivalent man, as much a psychologist, politician and actor-manager as a banker. In High Financier Niall Ferguson reveals Warburg's idiosyncracies: the love-hate relationships, the feline intuitions, the mercurial temper-tantrums. But above all he recaptures the meticulous business methods and strict ethical code that set Warburg apart from the mere speculators and traders who inhabit today's financial world.

Book - The Ascent of Money


Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labour. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What's more, he reveals financial history as the essential back-story behind all history.The evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization, from ancient Babylon to the silver mines of Bolivia. Banks provided the material basis for the splendours of the Italian Renaissance, while the bond market was the decisive factor in conflicts from the Seven Years' War to the American Civil War.

With the clarity and verve for which he is famed, Niall Ferguson explains why the origins of the French Revolution lie in a stock market bubble caused by a convicted Scots murderer. He shows how financial failure turned Argentina from the world's sixth richest country into an inflation-ridden basket case - and how a financial revolution is propelling the world's most populous country from poverty to power in a single generation.

Yet the most important lesson of the financial history is that sooner or later every bubble bursts - sooner or later the bearish sellers outnumber the bullish buyers - sooner or later greed flips into fear. And that's why, whether you're scraping by or rolling in it, there's never been a better time to understand the ascent of money.

Chapters in Books

​"Europa nervosa", in Nader Mousavizadeh (ed.), The Black Book of Bosnia (New Republic/Basic Books, 1996), pp. 127-32

"The German inter-war economy: Political choice versus economic determinism" in Mary Fulbrook (ed.), German History since 1800 (Arnold, 1997), pp. 258-278

"The balance of payments question: Versailles and after" in Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman and Elisabeth Glaser (eds.), The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 401-440

"'The Caucasian Royal Family': The Rothschilds in national contexts" in R. Liedtke (ed.), 'Two Nations': The Historical Experience of British and German Jews in Comparison (J.C.B. Mohr, 1999)

"Academics and the Press", in Stephen Glover (ed.), Secrets of the Press: Journalists on Journalism (Penguin, 1999), pp. 206-220 

"Metternich and the Rothschilds: A reappraisal" in Andrea Hamel and Edward Timms (eds.), Progress and Emancipation in the Age of Metternich: Jews and Modernisation in Austria and Germany, 1815-1848 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1999), pp. 295-325

"The European economy, 1815-1914" in T.C.W. Blanning (ed.), The Short Oxford History of Europe: The Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 78-125

"How (not) to pay for the war: Traditional finance and total war" in Roger Chickering and Stig F”rster (eds.), Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 409-34

"Introduction" in Frederic Manning , Middle Parts of Fortune (Penguin, 2000), pp. vii-xviii

"Clashing civilizations or mad mullahs: The United States between informal and formal empire" in Strobe Talbott (ed.), The Age of Terror (Basic Books, 2001), pp. 113-41

"Public debt as a post-war problem: The German experience after 1918 in comparative perspective" in Mark Roseman (ed.), Three Post-War Eras in Comparison: Western Europe 1918-1945-1989 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002), pp. 99-119

"Das Haus Sachsen-Coburg und die europ„ische Politik des 19. Jahrhunderts", in Rainer von Hessen (ed.), Victoria Kaiserin Friedrich (1840-1901): Mission und Schicksal einer englischen Prinzessin in Deutschland (Campus Verlag, 2002), pp. 27-39

"Max Warburg and German politics: The limits of financial power in Wilhelmine Germany", in Geoff Eley and James Retallack (eds.), Wilhelminism and Its Legacies: German Modernities, Imperialism and the Meaning of Reform, 1890-1930 (Berghahn Books, 2003), pp. 185-201

"Introduction", The Death of the Past by J. H. Plumb (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. xxi-xlii

"Globalization in historical perspective: The political dimension", in Michael D. Bordo, Alan M. Taylor and Jeffrey G. Williamson (eds.), Globalization in Historical Perspective (National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report) (University of Chicago Press, 2003)

"Introduction to Tzvetan Todorov" in Nicholas Owen (ed.), Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Oxford Amnesty Lectures (Amnesty International, 2003)

"The City of London and British imperialism: New light on an old question", in Youssef Cassis and Eric BussiŠre (eds.), London and Paris as International Financial Centres in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 57-77

"A bolt from the blue? The City of London and the outbreak of the First World War", in Wm. Roger Louis (ed.), Yet More Adventures with Britainnia: Personalities, Politics and Culture in Britain (I.B. Tauris, 2005), pp. 133-145

"The first 'Eurobonds': The Rothschilds and the financing of the Holy Alliance, 1818-1822", in William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst (eds.), The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 311-323

"Prisoner taking and prisoner killing in the age of total war", in George Kassemiris (ed.), The Barbarization of Warfare (New York University Press, 2006), pp. 126-158

"The Second World War as an economic disaster", in Michael Oliver (ed.), Economic Disasters of the Twentieth Century (Edward Elgar, 2007), pp. 83-132

"The Problem of Conjecture: American Strategy after the Bush Doctrine", in Melvyn Leffler and Jeff Legro (eds.), To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine (Oxford University Press, 2008)


​Kissinger (Volume 1 to be published by Penguin in 2012)

Civilization: The West and the Rest (to be published in 2011)

"Rothschilds", in The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Economic History, ed. Joel Mokyr (to be published Oxford University Press)

"The rise of the Rothschilds: The family firm as multinational", in Phil Cottrell (ed.), Finance and the Making of Modern Capitalism (to be published by Cambridge University Press)

Other Articles

​(with Brigitte Granville) "Weimar Germany and contemporary Russia: High inflation and political crisis in comparative perspective", Voprosii Ekonomiki (1997)

(with Laurence J. Kotlikoff) "The degeneration of EMU", Foreign Affairs, (March/April 1999), pp. 110-21

"Abbiamo ritrovato la pace perduta? Il Trattato di Versailles e l'ordine internazionale della pace de Parigi ottant'anni dopo", Ricerche di Storia Politica, Nuova Serie, 3 (1999), pp. 305-24

"Think again: Power", Foreign Policy (March/April, 2003), pp. 18-24

"The British Empire revisited: The costs and benefits of 'Anglobalization'", Historically Speaking, 4, 4 (April 2003), pp. 21-27 and "Globalization without gunboats?", ibid., pp. 34-6

(with Laurence J. Kotlikoff) "Going critical: American power and the consequences of fiscal overstretch", The National Interest, Fall 2003, pp. 22-32

"A world without power", Foreign Policy (July/August 2004)

"Economics, religion and the decline of Europe", Economic Affairs (December 2004), pp. 38-41

"Sinking globalization", Foreign Affairs (March/April 2005), pp. 64-77

"Empires with expiration dates", Foreign Policy (September/October 2006), pp. 46-52

"The next War of the World", Foreign Affairs, 85, 5 (September/October 2006), pp. 61-74

Refereed Journal Articles

​"Public finance and national security: The domestic origins of the First World War revisited", Past & Present, 142 (1994), pp. 141-68

"Keynes and the German inflation", English Historical Review, cx, 436 (1995), pp. 368-91

"Constraints and room for manoeuvre in the German inflation of the early 1920s", Economic History Review, xlix, 4 (1996), pp. 635-66

(with Brigitte Granville) " 'Weimar on the Volga': Causes and consequences of inflation in 1990s Russia compared with 1920s Germany", Journal of Economic History, 60, 4 (December 2000), pp. 1061-1087

"The dynamics of defeat: Prisoner taking and prisoner killing in the age of total war", War in History, 11, 1 (2004), pp. 34-78, reprinted in George Kassimeris (ed.), The Barbarisation of Warfare (London: Hurst & Co., 2006), pp. 126?158

"Political risk and the international bond market between the 1848 Revolution and the outbreak of the First World War", Economic History Review, 59, 1 (February 2006), pp. 70?112

(with Moritz Schularick) "The Empire effect: The determinants of country risk in the first age of globalization, 1880-1913", Journal of Economic History, 66, 2 (June 2006), pp. 283?312

(with Moritz Schularick) " 'Chimerica' and global asset markets", International Finance 10, 3 (2007), pp. 215-239

Working Paper

​"The balance of payments question: Versailles and after, 1919-1932", Centre for German and European Studies Working Paper 5.23, University of California, Berkeley (1994)

"The costs and benefits of 'Anglobalization': The world economy in the age of British imperialism", Stern School of Business, New York University Working Paper (2003)

(with Moritz Schularick) " 'The thin film of gold': The limits of monetary commitments in the first era of globalization" (2008)

"Earning from history: Financial markets and the approach of world wars" (2008)

9 Entries