Julia Keay

Show Your Colours

The Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag


Atlantic Books 331pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

‘The Union Jack’, says Nick Groom in his masterly Story of the British Flag, ‘is an international flag, representing four nations and defining them in their relationships to each other.’ Bless him for trying to make it sound simple. In fact this most recognisable of (inter)national flags is so weighed down with political, religious and heraldic significance, so hung about with rules and regulations, and so widely misunderstood, misinterpreted and misappropriated, that it is surprising it can still summon the strength to flutter. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,