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The Red Dragon


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This fascinating little volume is all about Welsh pride exemplified by our national flag. The Red Dragon is accepted as the most memorable of all national flags. But where did it come from? Involving himself in some detailed detective work, the author reveals all. The agenda is set on the very first page. Despite the fact that we are not known for our flair and that our heroism in battle is in fighting for the freedom of other nations, we should, says the author, be very proud of our flag. There are numerous reasons for such pride. For one, like our anthem, it belongs to all of us. It is not a narrow political flag, neither has it been changed by partisan governments. It is neither republican nor monarchist. Its birth was not baptised in the blood of other people. It is not too English or too British and does not reflect any particular religious credo. And it wasnt designed by a committee. Not bad as a symbol for a small nation, is it? It crystallises, reasons the author, the history and the psychology of the Welsh people. We learn that the flag and the dragon are historically connected, our language being the oldest continuously spoken tongue in Britain. Welsh place names abound as far as the north of Scotland. The language is the one unbroken link between our Celtic past and Roman memory. And it is through the Red Dragon that we can connect to that history. The dragon icon is examined and can be traced back through ancient mythology and through Rome. We learn that the English also carried dragon flags into battle. The myth that Glyndwr had a yellow dragon at the siege of Caernarfon is explained. We are guided through the Tudor era and then 300 years of history during which the Red Dragon is barely mentioned. It reappeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century when the Mimosa ferried the first Welsh settlers across the Atlantic to Patagonia, the first time it had been seen publicly since the Battle of Bosworth. The Red Dragon survived two world wars. It became the subject of a symbolic protest at the Eagles Tower at Caernarfon Castle in 1932, when the Union Jack was taken down and the Red Dragon raised in its place. Then, on 23 February 1959, it became, at last, the national flag of Wales. As the author exhorts us, we should fly it high and fly it often. Lyn Ebenezer It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council

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