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Inventing the Flag


With gorgeous four-color reproductions of an amazing array of art from diverse cultures and eras, Inventing the American Flag explores the symbolism of the flag and investigates why the founding fathers chose the images they did to represent the new nation. Art history sleuth Henry W. Moeller brings a breath of fresh air to our appreciation of the flag, blowing away the cobwebs left by antiquarians fixated on dusty records and Masonic conspiracies. Inventing the American Flag weaves together exotic and colorful strands of history to offer a new understanding of the forces that contributed to the flag flown by America's revolutionaries.

Henry W. Moeller's forty-year journey into the history of the symbols on America's early flags took him to libraries, museums, and private collections around the world. The deeper he dug, the further back in time he went. He pored over explorers' maps, medieval manuscripts, astronomers' charts, and ancient myths. Gradually, he was able to piece together the remarkable, constantly surprising, and often inspiring story of how, beginning in classical times, the stars and stripes acquired new meanings and were put to new uses until, at the birth of our nation, they became the symbols of that nation itself.

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