Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags
When you see your nation's flag fluttering in the breeze, what do you feel?
For thousands of years flags have represented our hopes and dreams. We wave them. Burn them. March under their colours. And still, in the 21st century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on the Arab street, 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 we need to understand the symbols, old and new, that people are rallying round.
In nine chapters (covering the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, international flags and flags of terror), Tim Marshall draws on more than twenty-five years of global reporting experience to reveal the histories, the power and the politics of the symbols that unite us - and divide us.
Originally published in hardback.
"Full of sharp analysis and a very entertaining read" --Andrew Neil
"A fascinating tour of the world's ensigns, their histories and meanings … a sobering lesson in just how silly we human beings can be" --Daily Mail
“Timely … explores how the threads of history and legend are woven into the fabric of a country’s banner” – Times Literary Supplement
“Entertaining … bristling with historical trivia and commentary on current events … these fluttering symbols of collective identity continue to both unite groups and divide the world” – The New Yorker
“This might be the comprehensive flag volume we’ve all been waiting for – a slick yet detailed and well-researched journey through some of the world’s most infamous and interesting flags … Marshall guides us through this myriad of stories admirably” – Geographical magazine
"Insightful and entertaining ... a truly fascinating book that feels all the more considered and urgent in today's world of Brexit, Trump, China and ISIS"--Dan Lewis, Wanderlust magazine
"Marshall points out that we often forget the aggressive symbolism of established flags ... [they] are a quick, visual way of communicating loyalties, power and ideas"--Robbie Millen, The Times
"An engagingly written, veritable page-turner. Whether the topic is ethnic identity, Japanese imperialism, Panamanian shipping law or the defeat of Nazism, flags speak volumes about our human condition" -- Lawrence Joffe, Jewish Chronicle
"In today's globalised and media savvy environment, the role of state and non-state symbols has become more important and in many cases more dangerous and evocative. This witty book brings to our attention this power, alongside the reality that we must not underestimate or misunderstand how the flags of our world came to be. A must read for anyone wishing to grasp the meanings behind today's international affairs." --Human Security Centre
“[A] brisk, entertaining read … an informative survey of these highly visible symbols of national or international pride” – Publishers Weekly
“An excellent book with deep meaning” -- evilcyclist.wordpress.com
“Energetic … fascinating … contains some interesting surprises. It is worth grasping that these rectangles of silk can move individuals and communities to remarkable efforts, for good or ill” – Tribune magazine
“A fast paced, often witty look at the stories behind the flags … I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is not just interested in flags but in the modern world and how we identify with our countries. I always find it difficult to recommend non-fiction to book groups, but if a group was brave enough to take it on, then I think they would be rewarded.” – Nudge-book.com