Sid Balman Jr. - SEVENTH FLAG

Start: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 6:30pm
Location: 
2421 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

A sweeping work of historical fiction, SEVENTH FLAG traces the arc of radicalization in modern Western Civilization — a parable that reaffirms what it means to be an American in a dangerously divided nation.

The United States and Europe have unraveled since World War II, and radicalism has metastasized into every community, tearing away the decency, optimism and security that shaped the robust democracies of the West for more than eight decades. No place is immune, including the small West Texas town of Dell City, where four generations of an iconic American family and a Syrian Muslim family carve a farming empire out of the unforgiving high desert.

A work of historical fiction, Seventh Flag traces the arc of a nation through these two families as they fight real and perceived enemies – from the beaches of the Western Pacific to the battlefields of the Middle East and from the lawless streets of Juarez to the darkest corners of the Internet. They journey through the football fields of Texas and West Point, the hippie playgrounds of Asia, the music halls of Austin, the terrorist cells of Europe and the political backrooms where fortunes are gained or lost over the rights to Western water.  

Their partnership is as unlikely as the idea of a United States, and their powerful friendship can be traced back to a bloody knife fight in a Juarez cantina just after World War II. The bond forged that night between Jack Laws, an Irish-American who staked his claim in West Texas after the war, and Ali Zarkan, whose great grandfather sailed from the Middle East to Texas in the mid-1800s as part of President Franklin Pierce’s attempt to create the US Army Camel Corps, shapes each generation of the families as they come of age and adapt to shifting paradigms of gender, commerce, patriotism, loyalty, religion and sexuality. 

Underlying it all is the basic question of identity and citizenship in America, or in Texas, a land over which six flags have flown. The seventh flag is not one of a state or a nation, but a mosaic of cultures, religions and people from every corner of the world struggling to define what it means to be unified under an ambiguous banner.


A Pulitzer-nominated national security correspondent and specialist in behavior-change communications, Sid Balman Jr. has covered wars in the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo; and travelled extensively with two American presidents and four secretaries of state on overseas diplomatic missions. With the emergence of the Web and the commoditizing of content, Mr. Balman moved into the business side of communications. In that role over two decades, he helped found a news syndicate focused on the interests of women and girls, served as communications chief for the largest consortium of US international development organizations, led two successful progressive campaigning companies and launched a new division at a large international development firm centered on violent radicalism and other security issues on behalf of governments and nonprofits. A fourth generation Texan, Mr. Balman, a climber, surfer, paddler and benefactor to Smith College, lives in Washington DC. with his wife, three kids and two dogs.

Seventh Flag Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781684630141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sparkpress - October 8th, 2019