Combining keen analysis of current events with world history, Tim Marshall, author of the New York Times bestseller Prisoners of Geography, provides “an entertaining whistle-stop tour of world flags” (Library Journal)—how their power is used to unite and divide populations and intimidate enemies.
For thousands of years flags have represented our hopes and dreams. We wave them. Burn them. March under their colors. And still, in the twenty-first century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on Arab streets, from front porches in Texas. They represent the politics of high power as well as the politics of the mob. From the renewed sense of nationalism in China, to troubled identities in Europe and the USA, to the terrifying rise of Islamic State, the world is a confusing place right now and it’s important to understand the symbols, old and new, that people are rallying around.
In nine chapters (covering the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, international flags, and flags of terror), Tim Marshall’s A Flag Worth Dying For is a “brisk, entertaining read...that successfully answers a puzzling question: how can a simple piece of cloth come to mean so much? Marshall presents an informative survey of these highly visible symbols of national or international pride” (Publishers Weekly), representing nation states and non-state actors (including ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas), and explains how they figure in diplomatic relations and events today.
Drawing on more than twenty-five years of global reporting experience to reveal the true meaning behind the symbols that unite us—and divide us—Marshall “writes with the cool drollery that characterized the work of Christopher Hitchens of Simon Winchester” (USA TODAY). The “illuminating” (The New York Times) A Flag Worth Dying For is a winning combination of current affairs, politics, and world history and “a treasure vault for vexillologists, full of meaning beyond the hue and thread of the world’s banners” (Kirkus Reviews).
About the Author
Tim Marshall is a leading authority on foreign affairs with more than 30 years of reporting experience. He was diplomatic editor at Sky News, and before that was working for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio. He has reported from 40 countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. He is the author of five books including the no.1 Sunday Times bestseller Prisoners of Geography; Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags; and Divided: Why We’re Living in Age of Walls. He is the founder and editor of TheWhatandtheWhy.com.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Stars and the Stripes 9
Chapter 2 The Union and the Jack 37
Chapter 3 The Cross and the Crusades 63
Chapter 4 Colors of Arabia 105
Chapter 5 Flags of Fear 133
Chapter 6 East of Eden 155
Chapter 7 Flags of Freedom 187
Chapter 8 Flags of Revolution 211
Chapter 9 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 241