Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

3.74 (266 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'Magisterial ... Immensely readable' Douglas Alexander, Financial Times

A compelling history of catastrophes and their consequences, from 'the most brilliant British historian of his generation' (The Times)

Disasters are inherently hard to predict. But when catastrophe strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of many developed countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why?

While populist rulers certainly performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, Niall Ferguson argues that more profound pathologies were at work - pathologies already visible in our responses to earlier disasters.

Drawing from multiple disciplines, including economics and network science, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe offers not just a history but a general theory of disaster. As Ferguson shows, governments must learn to become less bureaucratic if we are to avoid the impending doom of irreversible decline.

'Insightful, productively provocative and downright brilliant' New York Times

'Stimulating, thought-provoking ... Readers will find much to relish' Martin Bentham, Evening Standard
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Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 43mm | 742g
  • Allen Lane
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241488443
  • 9780241488447
  • 88,598

Review Text

A superb history of the lost art of handling a crisis.
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Review quote

Magisterial reach ... immensely readable ... Ferguson [applies] his prodigious intellect to placing the present pandemic on a wider historic canvas. -- Douglas Alexander * Financial Times * This is not just about a virus but a collision of politics, panic, digital media, human behaviour and incompetence. Niall Ferguson's Doom looks at each of these aspects, putting them into historical perspective in a book of dazzling range and rigour. -- Fraser Nelson * The Spectator * Niall Ferguson's Doom is often insightful, productively provocative and downright brilliant. * New York Times * A superb history of the lost art of handling a crisis. * The Telegraph * Stimulating ... Each chapter of this thought-provoking book is worth reading for the ideas, perceptiveness and well-told stories of landmark events ... It's a useful reminder that what may feel like having unprecedented restrictions imposed on our lives today is nothing new... readers will find much to relish. -- Martin Bentham * Evening Standard * Elegant, pacey, gripping ... a wealth of deep research. * The Economist * Doom covers an impressive sweep of history at a lively narrative clip and weaves a lot of disparate strands together into an engaging picture. -- Rafael Behr * The Guardian * Timely and refreshing ... An informative, amusing and thought-provoking read that is full of steadying good sense for these troubled times. -- Peter Neville-Hadley * South China Morning Post * Performs a crucial public service ... Doom is far more than just a page-turner, though that it certainly is: it's that most precious of things in a history book - an account of the past that truly helps us understand where we are today. -- Ryan Bourne * CapX *
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About Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His most recent book is The Square and the Tower.
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Rating details

266 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 26% (69)
4 36% (96)
3 27% (72)
2 8% (21)
1 3% (8)
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