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The World Encyclopedia of Flags Paperback – Illustrated, 12 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Southwater; Revised edition (12 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844768953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844768950
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 1.7 x 30.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 482,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alfred Znamierowski began publishing numerous press articles on flags in the 1960's, and since 1965 he has undertaken extensive research in Italy, France, Germany and the United States. During the last 25 years, thousands of his illustrations have been published in encyclopedias, books and journals. He has also designed flags and arms for commercial firms and for individuals. He is the founder of the Instytut Heraldyczno-Weksylologiczny (Institute of Heraldry and Vexillology) whose files contain thousands of specifications, laws and regulations relating to flags and arms. In 2001 the International Federation of Vexilloligical Associations recognized him as a Fellow of the Federation.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 7 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To begin with, this is not the book to buy if all you want is a guide to the current flags of each country around the world. You will find those flags here (accurate for 1999, when the book was published) but this book contains much more besides. There are many other guides to current flags that are both cheaper and more up to date. One thing you learn about flags is that a new national flag will replace an old one somewhere in the world at reasonably regular intervals, because of political changes. After all, flags are the ultimate political symbol. The 1990's saw many changes. The break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia meant lots of new national flags, but South Africa and many other countries also changed their flags.
Besides the flags of all nations, you can learn much from this book about the origin and history of flags and about many other flags in current use - regional, local, state and provincial flags, as well as maritime flags, protest flags (like the Basque separatist flag), organizational flags (like the Red Cross) and commercial flags.
Of course, even in a book this size, it is not possible to cover everything comprehensively, but the author manages to make the development of flags seem interesting, explaining how various basic designs evolved and were copied by other countries.
I have seen the development of the stars and stripes explained and illustrated in greater depth than it is here, but the description here is a good starting point for anybody not familiar with it.
For anybody wanting to explore the history of flags, this is the best book available. Even if you buy this, you may still occasionally want to buy a book devoted to current flags to keep up to date with all the changes.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bialystock on 23 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
Loads of pictures in glorious colour. Just the ticket for someone who is going through their flag drawing phase. Lots of good detail for the grown-ups too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Lots of potential, little new material 18 Jan. 2000
By Nicholas McClung - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had great expectations for this book, but opening it the first time I was let down by the overwhelming historical and heraldic content. I had to go 3/4's of the way back in the book to find the modern flags of the world. When I did find that portion of the book, not only wasn't it alphabetized, the descriptions and narratives about the flags were skimpy. I was expecting an alphabetized listing, showing ALL states, nations, territories, islands, dependencies, etc. with the coat-of-arms, date the flag was adopted, explanation of the colors/symbols on the flag,flag proportions, a current synopsis of the country's population, capital city, language, religion, land area included in the description, but only the name of the country, date of adoption and proportions were provided. It is a beautiful book, with great color illustrations, although there were several obvious errors, such as the flag of Taiwan, and Palestine (which pictured the flag of Spain) among others. My main gripe is that the book deals far too much with history and heraldry, and not enough on current flags.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The best available book of its kind 7 Feb. 2003
By Peter Durward Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I originally bought the first edition and reviewed that version. I've since bought the current edition (only because I was able to do so cheaply) and there aren't a lot of changes, the most noticeable being the different cover artwork, but the few changes inside the book are significant. For example, the incorrect pictures shown for Taiwan and Palestine in the first edition have now been corrected while new flags are shown, including those for Afghanistan (actually a revival of an earlier flag) and Tristan Da Cunha (not represented in the first edition). Other than those and other similar changes, the remainder of my review (listed on Amazon on all editions) applies equally to all editions.

To begin with, this is not the book to buy if all you want is a guide to the current flags of each country around the world. You will find those flags here (accurate for when the particular edition was published, except for the mistakes in the earlier edition) but this book contains much more besides. There are many other guides to current flags that are both cheaper and more up to date. One thing you learn about flags is that a new national flag will replace an old one somewhere in the world at reasonably regular intervals because of political changes. After all, flags are the ultimate political symbol. The 1990's saw many changes. The break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia meant lots of new national flags, but South Africa and many other countries also changed their flags.

Besides the flags of all nations, you can learn much from this book about the origin and history of flags and about many other flags in current use - regional, local, state and provincial flags, as well as maritime flags, protest flags (like the Basque separatist flag), organizational flags (like the Red Cross) and commercial flags.

Of course, even in a book this size, it is not possible to cover everything comprehensively, but the author manages to make the development of flags seem interesting, explaining how various basic designs evolved and were copied by other countries.

I have seen the development of the stars and stripes explained and illustrated in greater depth than it is here, but the description here is a good starting point for anybody not familiar with it.

For anybody wanting to explore the history of flags, this is the best book available. Even if you buy this, you may still occasionally want to buy a book devoted to current flags to keep up to date with all the changes. That will normally be cheaper than buying an updated edition of this book - I just happened to get lucky.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to a Much Needed Reference Book 27 Dec. 1999
By michael herman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There has not been a comprehensive reference book about flags since Dr. Whitney Smith's "Flags Through the Ages and Across the World" was published in 1975. There have been a number of "observer" type books but now we have a scholarly work that goes beyond colorful images. Not that the images are neglected as this work supplies them in great quantity as well as quality, but there is also a well written text to accompany them. As another reviewer noted there are a number of pictorial errors (another is the Royal Banner of Scotland being substituted for that of the Dutch province of South Holland). However, these should not deter any potential purchaser to pass this book by as they would be missing a real treat. As someone who has been buying flag books and charts for more than thirty-five years (and who now goes to various on-line flag sites) I can readily say that this is the book that flag-lovers have been waiting for. If you are interested in learning about flags beyond the usual national flags that you can get in the "World Almanac" or any decent encyclopedia, this book will suppy you with a cornucopia of historical, regional and special purpose flags that should be a source of endless fascination.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great new flag book, but... 9 Dec. 1999
By Chris Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With all the upheaval in the world over the last ten years, a new flag book was badly needed. And this is as good as any I've seen in some time. It's up-to-date, its coverage seems comprehensive, and its illustrations are spectacular.
I did run across three rather glaring errors in the edition I own. The national flag designated as the flag of Taiwan is actually the flag of Taiwan's founding political party, the Kuomintang. Palestine seems to have the civil ensign of Spain. And the flag of Schleswig- Holstein is pictured but not identified.
But if these and any other errors are corrected, this book will be as vital a flag reference as there is.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
beautiful, but many mistakes 7 Jan. 2000
By Derkwillem - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My name is Derkwillem Visser Jr. editor of Vlaggen-Info, a Dutch/English magazine for people interested in flags, heraldry and history. This flagbook is absolutly beautiful done and I admire the work the autor did. However, there are made many mistakes, unfortunatly. But altough the mistakes, I strongly advise people who are interested in flags and history to get this book, you will not regret it and I'am glad Amazon.com is having it in store.
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