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The Green Flag, Vols 1-3

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  18 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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Aaron Crofut
Mar 23, 2012 Aaron Crofut rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ireland
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
Chris Wray
Dec 21, 2015 Chris Wray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2016
An excellent book on the development of Irish Nationalism up to the mid 1920’s. The book is particularly compelling in the period covering the Home Rule bills through to the 1916 rising and the Anglo Irish and Civil wars, as this covers the sequence of events leading to eventual Irish independence, and the context for where Ireland is today.

Some of the most interesting points are:
- The complexities of Irish nationalism, as the majority of Irishmen saw it as working out within the context of some
Feb 10, 2011 Owen rated it liked it
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
Apr 09, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
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
Evan Barrett
Jan 31, 2012 Evan Barrett rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 02, 2010 Evan Hays rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-history
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.
Jun 26, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Very comprehensive, but unsympathetic to Irish nationalism. Worth a read, but as an introduction. I read the original trilogy in the 80s. It was a little more accessible in that format. Published in the 70s, it would have been a creditable attempt to understand Irish history. In this attempt, it falls short.
Dec 28, 2010 BGP rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 21, 2016 Jimmy rated it liked it
Okay, this will be brief; Kee's work is worth reading for all who are interested in Irish History and politics, however he's approach is very dismissive--I believe unfairly-- of Irish Republicanism--and its really, really long.
Serjeant Wildgoose
Apr 14, 2013 Serjeant Wildgoose rated it really liked it
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.

Oct 14, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it
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!
D.J. Kelly
Mar 03, 2013 D.J. Kelly rated it it was amazing
My favourite book in this most excellent trilogy. McKee gives a sound and balanced view of Irish Nationalism.
David O'Neill
Jan 24, 2013 David O'Neill rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Jun 09, 2013 Juliemburgess rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 20, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it
An intense, exhaustive look on a sad history.
Jan 19, 2008 danny rated it it was ok
The best parts are the romanticized and stumbling attempts at rebellion
Michael Romo
May 28, 2015 Michael Romo rated it really liked it
One of the most depressing but also important books about Ireland that I have ever read.
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Robert Kee, CBE was a broadcaster, journalist and writer, known for his historical works on World War II and Ireland.

He was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham, and read history at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a pupil, then a friend, of the historian A.J.P. Taylor.

During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force as a bomber pilot. His Hampden was shot down by flak one night while on
More about Robert Kee...

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