The thirteen-stripe, fifty-star flag is as familiar an American icon as any that has existed in the nation's history. Yet the history of the flag, especially its origins, is cloaked in myth and misinformation. Flag: An American Biography rectifies that situation by presenting a lively, comprehensive, illuminating look at the history of the American flag from its beginnings to today. Journalist and historian Marc Leepson uncovers scores of little-known, fascinating facts as he traces the evolution of the American flag from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. Flag sifts through the historical evidence to—among other things—uncover the truth behind the Betsy Ross myth and to discover the true designer of the Stars and Stripes. It details the many colorful and influential Americans who shaped the history of the flag. "Flag," as the novelist Nelson DeMille says in his foreword, "is not a book with an agenda or a subjective point of view. It is an objective history of the American flag, well researched, well presented, easy to read and understand, and very informative and entertaining."
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The flag of today represents many centuries of development. Probably no other inanimate object has excited so great an influence over the actions of the human race. It has existed in some form among all peoples and from the earliest times.--Frederic J. Haskin, 1941
HISTORY DOES NOT record the first time a human being attached pieces of cloth to a staff to use as a symbol. But wooden, metal, and cloth flaglike objects--statues, standards, banners, guidons, ensigns, pennons, and streamers--date from the ancient