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Summary

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 25 years of global reporting experience to reveal the histories, the power and the politics of the symbols that unite us - and divide us.

©2016 Tim Marshall (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"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)
"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)
"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)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

meh!

Some interesting bits, but ultimately weighed down by the dry narration which makes for an effective sedative. Not anywhere near as good as Prisoners of Geography.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very interesting

Some slightly dubious accents from the narrator. They were not necessary and sometimes distracted from the dialogue

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Brilliant. This is a well performed audiobook, a fascinating story, with detail, intrigue, and humour.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth reading

As stated in the introduction, not a comprehensive guide to all flags but a slightly more general view at the flags and concept of a flag. Still, you do get the stories for all major flags, how they came about, what they stood and stand for. And a great ending.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Arrgh - the Narrator

Subject matter is fascinating; the author's writing is sublime, the research is of a high quality, though in no way academic. But the flipping narrator is beyond annoying. If the narrator had only maintained his normal speaking voice through, this book would be wonderful. But the faux put on attempts at accent are beyond bad. It's difficulty to know whether the fake American, the appalling Trump impression, the cringeworthy Scots accent or the incredibly grating Northern Irish attempts are worse. I haven't mentioned the Slavic attempts, or the countless others (though I am conscious I just did) which detract from the author's hard work and craftsmanship. Narrator hang your head in shame - you are ruining this wonderful book.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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an interesting diversion

interesting and informative covering national flags from all continents and sporting and international groupings. and.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting, but aggravating

Love the subject matter, well written and thought provoking. A binge listen was however prevented by the narrator’s bizarre delivery and lame accents. I had to stop every so often and take some deep breaths. The content is great and really interesting, the delivery not so much. I’d recommend it but be ready to lol.

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  • Moose
  • Derbyshire UK
  • 16-07-18

verbose, slow and energy sapping

talk about going round the houses. the content could be condensed significantly condensed. not helped by the pausing for effect by Mr voice over man.

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Well I didn't know that.

An entertaining history of the flag and how it means so much to so many.