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“The Man Without a Country” by Edward Everett Hale

Here is another selection for my yet-to-be-compiled anthology on the American flag in literature. Written by Edward Everett Hale, The Man Without a Country is a stunning story. So perfect in the telling, it is hard to believe that it is fiction, though of course, Aaron Burr was real enough.

The Man Without a Country is considered a short story, but it is much longer (about 15 typewritten pages) than anything I have used previously on The Daily Flag. You may want to bookmark it.

In 1973, ABC produced the story as a television movie, and I remember watching it. I don’t know if a DVD is available, but you can get a VHS here.

The Man Without a Country

I suppose that very few casual readers of the New York Herald of August 13th observed, in an obscure corner, among the “Deaths”, the announcement:

NOLAN. Died, on board U.S. Corvelette Levant, Lat. 2 deg; 11″ S., Long. 131 deg; W., on the 11th of May, Philip Nolan.

I happened to observe it, because I was stranded at the old Mission-House in Mackinac, waiting for a Lake Superior steamer which did not choose to come, and I was devouring, to the very stubble, all the current literature I could get hold of, even down to the deaths and the marriages in the Herald. My memory for names and people is good, and the reader will see, as he goes on, that I had reason enough to remember Philip Nolan. There are hundreds of readers who would have paused at that announcement, if the officer of the Levant who reported it had chosen to make it thus: “Died, May 11th, ‘The Man Without a Country.'” For it was as “The Man without a Country” that poor Philip Nolan had generally been known by the officers who had him in charge during some fifty years, as indeed, by all the men who sailed under them. I dare say there is many a man who has taken wine with him once a forthnight, in a three years cruise, who never knew that his name was “Nolan”, or whether the poor wretch had any name at all.
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