A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols by Tim Marshall

Thursday, July 13th 2017


I have to admit when I saw  A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of a Nation Symbols my only initial reason for reading it was to figure out what author Tim Marshall was saying about my country, The Bahamas. After reading this book I found that Tim Marshall had much more to say about the history and struggle multiple nations had to endure in order to obtain their symbol of a nation, their flag.


A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols by Tim MarshallA Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols by Tim Marshall
Published by Scribner on July 4th 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction
Pages: 304

Combining keen analysis of current events with world history, Tim Marshall, author of the New York Times bestseller Prisoners of Geography, “one of the best books on geopolitics you could imagine,” (The Evening Standard), explains flags and their symbols—how their power is used to unite and divide populations and intimidate enemies.
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. 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.
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 examines the systems of symbols that represent nation states and non-state actors (including ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas), and 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—A Flag Worth Dying For is a winning combination of current affairs, politics, and world history.

Tim Marshall beings the book by laying out a telling story behind each of the variety of nations and their different flags that are mentioned in the book. The entire book is interesting, not just because my country is mentioned briefly in it, but because it’s a high political read that doesn’t make you feel like you’re reading an insurance policy like most historical text feel like. As much as I love this book, there are some issues with this book. I hope that since I was reading an advance readers copy through my kindle that it was just my device giving me issues, however it would be nice to have pictures. I know this book isn’t a picture book, but it would be nice to add some images to add to the historical detail mention, especially when describing the struggle people endure to obtain their on flag. If not that, it would be nice to have some pictures of the actual flags that are mentioned! I really feel the book would truly benefit  with adding at least some images of the flags mentioned instead of stopping to look on my phone about which flags are being mentioned because a detailed description is still a description. Now author Marshall does say that this book is not an encyclopedia of flags, but he is discussing certain flags that are important to his topic. Yet he doesn’t spend unfair amount between having a  long describing one flag and comparing to another.

Overall I found this book to be very entertaining  I think this would make a very interesting gift for those who love history, flags, and geometry Tis is a book you should totally read while you’re traveling the world.

About Tim Marshall

Tim Marshall was Diplomatic Editor and foreign correspondent for Sky News. After thirty years’ experience in news reporting and presenting, he left full time news journalism to concentrate on writing and analysis.

Originally from Leeds, Tim arrived at broadcasting from the road less traveled. Not a media studies or journalism graduate, in fact not a graduate at all, after a wholly unsuccessful career as a painter and decorator he worked his way through newsroom nightshifts, and unpaid stints as a researcher and runner before eventually securing himself a foothold on the first rung of the broadcasting career ladder.

After three years as IRN’s Paris correspondent and extensive work for BBC radio and TV, Tim joined Sky News. Reporting from Europe, the USA and Asia, Tim became Middle East Correspondent based in Jerusalem.

Tim also reported in the field from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia during the Balkan wars of the 1990’s. He spent the majority of the 1999 Kosovo crisis in Belgrade, where he was one of the few western journalists who stayed on to report from one of the main targets of NATO bombing raids. Tim was in Kosovo to greet the NATO troops on the day they advanced into Pristina. In recent years he covered the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria.

He has written for many of the national newspapers including the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Times.

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