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The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism Paperback – 6 Jul 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140291652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140291650
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Kee lives in London SE5. He is a distinguished historian and broadcaster. Penguin also publish THE LAUREL AND THE IVY, Robert Kee's acclaimed life of Parnell.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am from an Irish background and so am familiar with many of the events described. I think that what makes this book so good is that it provides a fresh perspective to the well known Republican/Catholic v Unionist/Protestant accounts. The fact that people from both traditions were actively involved on 'the other side' over the centuries supports the author's thesis that the conflict should be seen in terms of a 'civil war'. At key points in Irish history (e.g. 1798) it is clear that a majority of Catholics had no developed sense of Irish identity and so didn't particularly wish for separation from Britain. It is only from the latter half of the nineteenth century that the Republican faction began to exert any real influence at a national level and it is the ultimate success of this tradition which has given us the widely known and modern narrative of Irish history. (I was already aware that many Protestants played an important role in the Nationalist and Republican movements but this may come as a surprise to some.) In my view this is an excellent book which will challenge many of the easy assumptions made by people from different backgrounds, whether Irish or non-Irish.
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