Saturday, August 19, 2006

Niall Ferguson

It's late, but this snark attack on Niall Ferguson must not be missed. Click through and read Rob Farley's review of Colossus, too.
After suffering through some of his earlier writing, I've always imagined Niall Ferguson sneaking into the Imperial War Museum in the dark of night. Certain that the coast is clear, he rips off his black track suit to reveal a replica of the uniform that Lord Raglan wore during the Crimean War. Ferguson stands behind a cannon, raises his faux marshal's baton, and exclaims, "Lads, let's send these blighters back to the Seven Hells from whence they came!"

Heh. I actually studied the history of the British Empire at one point, and I recall that Niall Ferguson, despite his recent fame, was astonishingly insignificant in the historiography. You just didn't encounter very much of him. Compared to John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, David Cannadine, Ronald Hyam et al he was non-existent. Perhaps we were just weird, but I suspect this reflects a deeper truth.

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