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3 November 2008
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This week Andrew Marr is joined by Niall Ferguson, Susan Jacoby, Lawrence Goldman and Linda Colley.
As markets continue to struggle to deal with the credit crunch, Harvard academic NIALL FERGUSON argues that the cycles of boom and bust are a mirror of human nature – irrational, panicking and prone to herd instinct. He also suggests that the US is likely to cope much better than Europe in the current financial downturn. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World is published by Allen Lane and the Channel 4 series starts on 17 November.

“America is ill with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism”. That’s the diagnosis of American writer SUSAN JACOBY. In her latest book, she singles out the mass media, mediocre public education and a lazy and credulous public for blame and warns us that the UK isn’t immune. The Age of American Unreason: Dumbing Down and the Future of Democracy is published by Old Street Publishing.

In the winter of 1787-8, three American politicians - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay - published a series of essays making the case for a new and united nation, governed under a written Constitution. As Americans go to the polls to elect their 44th President, historian LAWRENCE GOLDMAN argues that The Federalist Papers contain useful insights into the American outlook today and show how sophisticated the often maligned US political system really is. The Federalist Papers is published by Oxford University Press.

The historian LINDA COLLEY is curating an exhibition at the British Library on Britain’s struggle for freedoms and rights. Despite the UK not having a codified constitution, and the US being very proud of theirs, Linda argues that many of America’s views on liberty are directly influenced by British values. Taking Stock of Taking Liberties: A Personal View is published by the British Library in conjunction with the exhibition: Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain's freedoms and rights which runs from 31 October 2008 – 1 March 2009 at the British Library.

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