Thanks for the review of Niall Ferguson's new book. It is an interesting read, covering broad swaths of human enterprise. Interestingly enough, he got it wrong on the history of Roman coinage when he says that the aureus-denarius-sestertius coinage was minted with "all bearing the head of the reigning emperor on one side, and the legendary figures of Romulus and Remus on the other." He is mostly right on the first half of the assertion but wrong about the reverses.
He is not the only author who refers to coinage without checking his information. Some of Bernard Cornwell's series of historical fiction based on British history makes coinage-related mistakes as well.
I acknowledge that this may seem pretty picky on my part, but these simple misstatements leave a nagging concern in the back of my mind about information utilized in other parts of the work that might be equally questionable.