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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Irish history
It has been said that all Englishmen should study the history of Ireland, and all Irishmen should ignore it. As an Englishman I have taken an interest in Irish history in an attempt to understand why things have ended up as they are.
It is only when you investigate the history of this troubled island that you begin to realise the complexity of the problem. This...
Published on 4 Feb 2001 by Nevermind

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE EDITION!!!
I have no problem with the book itself - it is excellent. The Kindle edition, however, is APPALLING and a nightmare to read. There are errors on almost every page. Words are run together, others are misprinted, punctuation is missing.. you name it. Derry is 'Deny' throughout and Henry VIII 'Henry W'. I paid more for the Kindle edition than I would have for the physical...
Published on 15 Mar 2011 by Lipski's Ghost


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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Irish history, 4 Feb 2001
This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
It has been said that all Englishmen should study the history of Ireland, and all Irishmen should ignore it. As an Englishman I have taken an interest in Irish history in an attempt to understand why things have ended up as they are.
It is only when you investigate the history of this troubled island that you begin to realise the complexity of the problem. This complexity can sometimes be matched by the content of the books written on this subject. In 'The Green Flag' however, Robert Kee has managed to condense hundreds of years of rebellion, repression, famine, political intrigue and a myriad of movements, both political and otherwise, into a very readable, informative book.
'The Green Flag' was originally written in three parts. 'The Most Distressful Country' begins with Brian Boru in 1014 A.D., but mainly focuses on the period from the Wolfe Tone rebellion of 1798, and the subsequent political union with the United Kingdom, to the Smith O'Brien rising of 50 years later. The period covered includes the career of Daniel O'Connell and the famine which, we learn, almost halved the population of Ireland over a period of 25 years, either directly through death, or by emigration.
The second book of the trilogy 'The Bold Fenian Men' covers the beginnings of the Fenian movement in the mid 19th century and travels through the career of Charles Stewart Parnell, who came agonisingly close to his dream of Home Rule for Ireland, before scandal stopped his career in its tracks. The original volume climaxes with the Easter Rising of 1916.
The final part of the original trilogy is 'Ourselves Alone' which is an approximate translation of the Gaelic 'Sinn Fein'. It begins with the aftermath of the Easter Rising and covers the Anglo-Irish war, treaty negotiations and subsequent Civil War. The central characters at this time were Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera and it is this part of the story that is covered in the film, entitled 'Michael Collins', which may make it more widely known than the earlier history covered by Kee.
What Kee achieves in this single volume is to present a clearly explained, impartial version of the major events that shaped Ireland in the period leading up to the de Valera years.
If you have often wondered why there has been so much conflict in Northern Ireland in recent times, then this book may answer your questions.
There are many other books which go into further detail on the events, or individuals, covered in Kee's work, but this is as good a starting point as I have found and comes highly recommended by this reader.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ BOOK ON IRISH NATIONALISM, 31 Dec 2001
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This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
Robert Kee's "The Green Flag" is near 900 page superbly written history of Irish nationalism from its early roots, the Wolf Tone rebellion, the Catholic Emancipation and Repeal of the Union campaign, the early Fenian activity, the rise of the IRA and UVF, the Easter Rising, the Civil War and the Creation of the Irish Free State, the impact of Collins and De Valera, the beginning of the Irish Republic in 1949, and the early beginnings of the troubles in 1969. The detail of the book is awesome and offers insight into the history of Ireland in a totally unbiased way. Its only failing is that it fails to keep up with history. Written in the early 1970s Kee has kept himself to concentrating on an history up to 1922 and the Irish Free State. This misses alot of history since, but surely an updated version of the book with a couple of extra chapters to bring it up to date would make Kee's book the ultimate for any person interested in Irish History. A MUST READ BOOK!!!!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE EDITION!!!, 15 Mar 2011
I have no problem with the book itself - it is excellent. The Kindle edition, however, is APPALLING and a nightmare to read. There are errors on almost every page. Words are run together, others are misprinted, punctuation is missing.. you name it. Derry is 'Deny' throughout and Henry VIII 'Henry W'. I paid more for the Kindle edition than I would have for the physical edition because I thought I would be more likely to read a 900-page book that way. I managed it, but it was a trawl. The Kindle edition of this book SERIOUSLY needs a thorough going over.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, buy it now!, 14 Oct 2009
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S. Leacy (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
This book is excellent!

It is very refreshing to finally see an objective book which gives clear information on the important aspects of Irish history. Too many times have I come across books on this subject which villify either the Irish or the English whilst offering little in the way of usefull information. You will not regret parting with your hard earned cash for this book.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best book on early 20th centry Ireland that I kn, 7 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
I read this book while doing an A level disertation on the Easter Rising. It was the most helpful book by far, from a collection of more than 20. Ourselves Alone, the thrid part, was especially good in its explanation of the Aglo Irish war. The detail is there for one to finish with a knowledge of that time in Ireland that lacks any gaps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irish History, 14 April 2013
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I. P. Hale (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
Utterly un-quotable from an academic point of view (I tried to write an essay with it and ended up using Richard English's excellent 'Irish Freedom' instead) but probably quite a good read if you're looking for something to read for pleasure. Having said that, Kee's conclusion as to why Sinn Fein won the 1918 election is incredibly astute, and I have come across no better or more sober assessment of the Easter Rising's impact.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good, 4 Mar 2008
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This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
This is a good book which focuses on events rather than providing analysis. I would have much preferred the book to come from a more human, emotional perspective though.
I didn't feel as though the book was written with the passion that a subject like this deserves. Normally a partisan view of things is not warranted, but a subject like this without a measure of passion ultimately falls flat. It just lacked feeling, and the description of events became monotonous and perfunctory. The fact that Kee is English, not Irish , probably had something to do with this. His sense of reserved detachment never falters but alas this provides little piquancy for the reader.

Most of the books 750 pages are confined to the 19th century and consequently you become lost in all the events that took place in that period of time. Little is written before or after this period. Why just this century in a book that claims to be a whole history of Irish Nationalism? Kee would say that this is the century that everything changed, but still it would have been nice to be partial to things that led up to the events that took place. It would give the reader a more panoramic view of things.

I often felt like I was being placed in the deep end without knowing why things were taking place. It is not just on events that there is little background info but also more needed to be said on the participants of the events.
Given that the book centres on people rebelling due to their grievances, it would have helped me to understand, more about what those grievances were. You would then be able to sympathise with their plight, drawing you more into their story and really willing them on to succeed. But Kee's stand-off approach served to dehumanise the characters and you failed to empathize with them to any great extent.

One other minor grievance is that I would have like a few more maps in addition to a solitary map of Ireland at the front of the book. They would have helped to bring the book alive. Also maybe a few photos of the various main players wouldn't have gone amiss too.

Having said all this I will give Kee his due: this is a very well researched book and the information is all there, it's just how Kee put that information across that wasn't to my particular taste, but it may be to others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History, 18 July 2013
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This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
I'm really enjoying this book. Well written, informative and easy to dip in and out of. Gives a real insight into the Irish Nation
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22 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erin-Go-Bragh, 6 July 2004
This review is from: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Paperback)
Kee has written a book that is clear, lucid and interesting over about 750 pages (discounting the appendices). He only just fails to hide the ridicule he feels for the noble sacrifice of 1916, when brave Irish souls fought for their own people, instead of giving their lives for nothing in a capitalist-imperialist war, dying for a country that had oppressed them for over 400 years.
However, if you can ignore that, this book is still a must-have if you wish to learn about a subject that has never been taught in English schools.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green Flag, 7 Feb 2013
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Excellent read- very enlightening about Irish history, should be compulsory reading for schollchildren and adults of all persuasions in Ireland Shame about multiple spelling errors
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The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism
The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism by Robert Kee (Paperback - 6 July 2000)
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