Partly collected thoughts.
Empire Guy said...
was once having a discussion with a friend and colleague (both of us
do, or have done, academic work on empires) about Ferguson's "American
Empire" stuff, and he pointed out that Ferguson's an interesting
scholar. Why? Well, if you ask British imperial historians about his
work, they'll say its rubbish but they hear his stuff on economic
history is pretty good. When you ask economic historians about
Ferguson's work in their area, they'll say its not so good but they've
heard positive things about his World War I book. If you ask military
historians about his World War I book, they dismiss it but mention that
people seem to like his book on the Rothschilds. Not sure if all of
these criticisms are right (his stuff on American Empire is rubbish,
though), but I think it might capture an essential truth about
Ferguson's ability to maintain his reputation despite mostly
contributing shoddy arguments to the public sphere.
August 11, 2009 at 01:15 PM