The American Flag: An Encyclopedia of the Stars and Stripes in U.S. History, Culture, and Law

ABC-CLIO. 2018. 398p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440857881. $94; ebk. ISBN 9781440857898. HIST
OrangeReviewStarAccording to Vile (political science, Middle Tennessee State Univ.), America's enthusiasm for the Stars and Stripes and its ubiquity in U.S. culture are fairly unique among the world's nations. Here, a poignant introductory essay lays out how the flag has grown in importance from its colonial origins to the present. Expanding more deeply on the flag's meaning and importance in U.S. history and contemporary life, eight comprehensive essays illustrate the flag's role in American art, music, journalism, and politics. However, the core of this high-quality and informative work is the second part: 200 alphabetically arranged entries on a range of topics from flag etiquette and design to artistic depictions of the flag including poems, speeches, and musical selections. Scholarly references; a time line; a topical list of entries; numerous photographs, woodcuts, and cartoons; and a bibliography of articles, essays, reports, websites, and book chapters enhance the presentation, making the encyclopedia not only ideal for browsing but also a solid starting point for further study.
VERDICT A masterly exploration of the American flag, with a potpourri of fun details for anyone with an interest in U.S. history, patriotic symbols, and vexillology.

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