The Union Jack

Nick Groom

RRP: £11.99

17 August 2017

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781786491480

RRP: £9.49

22 May 2012

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9780857899316

Known the world over as a symbol of the United Kingdom, the Union Jack is an intricate construction based on the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick. Nick Groom traces its long and fascinating past, from the development of the Royal Standard and seventeenth-century clashes over the precise balance of the English and Scottish elements of the first Union Jack to the modern controversies over the flag as a symbol of empire and its exploitation by ultra-rightwing political groups. The Union Jack is the first history of the icon used by everyone from the royalty to the military, pop stars and celebrities.


Enterprising and challenging... engaging and interesting history - history as seen from a specific and highly appropriate vantage.Peter Ackroyd
The Times

Fascinating... works well as a potted history of Britain right back to the days when warriors carried dragon standards, and also as a pot pourri of useful trivia.James Delingpole
Mail on Sunday

'Masterly.'Julia Keay
Literary Review

Groom is an illuminating essayist in various aspects of British culture; humour and flashes of historical oddity make the book immensely readable... Groom explores this history with an unfailing inquisitiveness... Union Jack establishes itself as essential reading in the background to current debates about British identity.Mike Phillips

Vivid, fascinating and carefully researched history... Groom enters a robust, positive and wholly persuasive defence of the retention of the Union Jack as a symbol of coherence and unity in a multiracial society and what has become a federal kingdom... Bravo.Jeffrey Richards
Times Higher Education Supplement

A pertinent contribution to the enduring conversation about what it means to be British.Claire Allfree

A wonderfully exuberant book... marvellously rich... Groom's scope is formidable and this, together with the acuity of his judgements and the brio of his deployment of a vast wealth of resources, makes the work a model of cultural history for our time.Hugh Lawson-Tancred
The Liberal

FascinatingPaul Callan
Daily Express