A Flag Worth Dying for: The Power and Politics of National Symbols (Paperback)
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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).