The Poppy: A Cultural History from Ancient Egypt to Flanders Fields to Afghanistan


Where the earth is churned, poppies grow. In the aftermath of the horrific trench warfare of the First World War, the poppy became immortalized and a symbol of loss, remembrance, and redemption. The poppy has been intricately entwined in human conflict, suffering, and spiritual cleansing for millennia. From the ancient Egyptian fights over prized dream-potions to the morphine addicts of the American Civil War, to the British entanglements in the Opium Wars with China and the struggle today to hold at bay Afghanistan’s tribal narcotics trade. Nicholas Saunders shares the definitive history of this ever-enduring icon. Nicholas Saunders is the world’s leading authority on the anthropology and archaeology of the First World War. His exhibition of trench art from the war was for five years a centrepiece of the ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ in Ypres, Belgium.

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320 pages

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