July 16, 2009


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Niall FergusonLEWISBURG, Pa. — Niall Ferguson, a renowned professor of history and economics and an award-winning author, will kick-off this fall's continuing Bucknell Forum series, "Global Leadership: Questions for the 21st Century," with a talk titled "Is the United States an Empire? Should It Be?" || More on Niall Ferguson

The presentation, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a book-signing, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public. || Sneak peek video

A prolific author and regular contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic, Ferguson has published numerous award-winning books, including The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (2008), which predicted that too much credit would fuel a global financial crisis, including a subprime mortgage meltdown. It has been the subject of a recent four-part PBS documentary.

British World Order
Ferguson's other books include Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2003), which was a bestseller in both Britain and the United States and accompanied a six-part history of the British Empire for U.K. television; Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (2004); and The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), which was published to critical acclaim. In 2004, TIME magazine named him one of the world's most influential people.

"Ferguson shows how promises and paper have lifted humans from subsistence farmers in Babylon to Masters of the Universe on Wall Street," a Washington Post review said of The Ascent of Money. "The pleasure of reading Ferguson's treatment comes partly from the clarity of his explanations of financial concepts but mostly from his pen portraits of the extravagantly gifted and flawed characters who have led money's long rise."

"Ferguson contends that the United States today would be advised to learn from the British Empire," the Los Angeles Times said in a review of Empire. "Given the overwhelming power of the U.S., it is an imperial power whether it likes it or not, and Ferguson chides Americans for not embracing the burdens and responsibilities that come with such power."

First book
Ferguson's first book, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927, came out in 1995 and was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award.

A collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, was a 1995 U.K. bestseller. In 1998, he published to international acclaim The Pity of War: Explaining World War One and The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild, winner of the Wadsworth Prize for Business History. In 2001, he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World.

Ferguson also is a contributing editor for The Financial Times.

Research and teaching
Ferguson has conducted research and taught in Hamburg, Berlin, and Cambridge, and in 2000 was appointed professor of political and financial history at Oxford. Two years later became the holder of the Herzog chair in financial history at New York University's Stern Business School before moving to Harvard University in 2004. He is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

He is currently working on a biography of Siegmund Warburg, founder of the British investment bank S.G. Warburg & Co., and he has recently begun researching the life of Henry Kissinger, the U.S. Secretary of State in the Nixon administration.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1964, Ferguson was awarded a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with First Class Honors in 1985. Other demyship recipients at Magdalen include Oscar Wilde, Lewis Gielgud and T.E. Lawrence.

The Bucknell Forum
The latest Bucknell Forum series, "Global Leadership: Questions for the 21st Century," which runs through spring 2010, began in February with a talk by former South Africa President F.W. de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for bringing an end to apartheid. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of Infidel, spoke in March about women's rights and Islam in a talk titled "Ladies First."

In April, Matthew Bogdanos, the author of Thieves of Baghdad, a medaled veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a Bucknell graduate discussed "The End of the Citizen-Soldier? Questions of Leadership in a Time of War."

Contact: Division of Communications

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