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The Green Flag, Vols 1-3

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  197 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Also published in 3 Volumes as The Most Distressful Country/The Bold Fenian Men/Ourselves Alone
Covering Irish history from the beginnings of Irish Nationalism through 1973, Robert Kee's treatment ranges from the Protestant Plantations thru Wolfe Tone & the Great Famine to the founding of the Fenian Movement & the Irish Free State. His authoritative & comprehens
Paperback, 896 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (NYC/London) (first published September 1972)
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(showing 1-30 of 393)
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Aaron Crofut
A very solid work on a very confusing people (that I proudly claim ancestry from). To sum it up: the Irish didn't know they were Irish or what they wanted, but the Protestants/English were pretty damn intent on making sure whatever the Irish wanted they didn't get. And when the Protestants/English finally figured out they were screwing themselves and decided to play nice with the Irish, they made things even worse. At which point, the Irish gained a semi independence and proceeded to shoot the s ...more
The book chronicles Ireland's nationalist history from James II through the 1920s. It's a very frustrating four centuries of failed rebellions and uninspired people. Then comes the last couple chapters where the Irish actually accomplish something politically tangible. It's a very interesting, very frustrating history of oppression.

Lee manages to tell it well though, occasionally throwing in a bit of humour and always comparing the historical realities of Ireland's history with Ireland's contemp
The major part I remember about sifting through Kee's tome is him passing off the penal laws as something that could be easily discarded as long as people changed their religion. To eschew the eternal implications,a s that is not my purview, he is saying that people could choose to not be systematically starved by turning their back on their own culture in a vain effort to join another culture that considered them less than human. Once past this bit of claptrap, Kee is informative is readable. I ...more
Evan Barrett
I do not have a significant Irish heritage but I have always been fascinated by the Irish character. This book taught me a lot about the great Irish heroes - Protestant and Catholic - Gaelic, Norman, Anglo, and Scotch - Nationalist, Republican, and Unionist. The heroes Wolf Tone, Emmet, Parnell, Pearse, Collins, de Valera, and hundreds of others are brought to vibrant life. The book is very dense but well worth the effort.
Evan Hays
Didn't get to finish the book since it's really long and I only had it from the library, but it was good and satisfied my need for a basic overview of Irish history from before the English started messing with it up to about 1800. Good writing and good at highlighting themes throughout--Nationalism is completely a modern invention, but this does not of course mean that the English didn't behave very badly in Ireland.
The Green Flag is a brilliant, if somewhat dense, history of the evolution of Irish nationalism, and, in particular, the various social and quasi-military political movements which arose to defend and fight for the independence of Éire. Written by a British scholar of Irish history, this work is a must read for all parties interested in the social and political history of Ireland.
Serjeant Wildgoose
This wonderful book has been a constant companion on my journeys to and from work for the last 4 months.

Kee approaches the complexities of Irish Nationalism with the eye of a liberal, democratic neutral and captures its evolution, ascendancy and nemesis in a thoroughly compelling narrative.

A wealth of information. Close to being objective, but during the Revolution (1916-23) you can kind of gather that it was written by an Englishman, which it was.

Nonetheless good stuff.

Up the Republic!
David O'Neill
Best Irish history book I've read. Very objective which is a difficult task when writing about Irish history. It's a long book but it's well worth the investment of time.
This book is very detailed and at times hard work. It is however fascinating and I now understand much more about Ireland and its relationship with England and religion.
Nov 09, 2009 Erin marked it as to-read
Just bought it today. Maybe I'll be able to work my way through it while I'm a nursing this baby all the time.
D.J. Kelly
My favourite book in this most excellent trilogy. McKee gives a sound and balanced view of Irish Nationalism.
The best parts are the romanticized and stumbling attempts at rebellion
An intense, exhaustive look on a sad history.
Stephen Duncan
Stephen Duncan marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2015
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