• The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

  • A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened
  • By: Bill McKibben
  • Narrated by: Eric Jason Martin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Eric Jason Martin adds gusto to this mini-memoir, which spans much of author Bill McKibben's lifetime."-AudioFile on The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

Bill McKibben—award-winning author, activist, educator—is fiercely curious.

“I’m curious about what went so suddenly sour with American patriotism, American faith, and American prosperity.”

Like so many of us, McKibben grew up believing—knowing—that the United States was the greatest country on earth. As a teenager, he cheerfully led American Revolution tours in Lexington, Massachusetts. He sang “Kumbaya” at church. And with the remarkable rise of suburbia, he assumed that all Americans would share in the wealth.

But fifty years later, he finds himself in an increasingly doubtful nation strained by bleak racial and economic inequality, on a planet whose future is in peril.

And he is curious: What the hell happened?

In this revelatory cri de coeur, McKibben digs deep into our history (and his own well-meaning but not all-seeing past) and into the latest scholarship on race and inequality in America, on the rise of the religious right, and on our environmental crisis to explain how we got to this point. He finds that he is not without hope. And he wonders if any of that trinity of his youth—The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon—could, or should, be reclaimed in the fight for a fairer future.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Co.

©2022 Bill McKibben (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“If we survive the interlocking plagues of climate change, right-wing authoritarianism, and savage inequality, future generations will utter the name of the New England moral visionary and activist McKibben with the reverence we speak of Emerson, Thoreau, and Garrison. This sparkling little diamond of a book illuminates the all-American boyhood and education of a radical Christian environmentalist in love with a broken world that, frankly speaking, may or may not exist at all a century from now. May McKibben's golden pen continue to flow swiftly and conquer—with both love and reason—the dangerous enemies of human civilization.“
—Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-8)

“Plainspoken, direct, conversational, and inspiring, Bill McKibben offers us generous insight into who he is and how he has been shaped by his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs. We see through inner and outer choices, struggles, and influences, why one of the world's most effective and humble leaders in the climate justice movement committed himself to an activist's life on behalf of a warming planet. The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon is more than a memoir, it is a bow to the power of social justice movements and a smart and savvy historical reflection on what has brought us to this crucible moment of climate collapse. Bill McKibben is an every-day hero who continues to show us not only what is possible, but necessary to our survival, the survival of our democracy, and all life in the places we call home.“ —Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing

“What went wrong with America in the 1970s? In this searching book, Bill McKibben wrestles with a generation that lost its way, and why, and how to find the way back.”
Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

What listeners say about The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

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Another Liberal perspective not based in data

Title says it all. Don’t waste your time or money…dude was raised as a liberal and can’t see past his self righteousness nose!

Lots of bashing Trump and previous presidents with no factual data to support assertions! Garbage…another liberally stealing your money!

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The Flag, The Cross, and The Station Wagon

Excellent analysis of the major political themes in America over the author’s and my lifetime. Helpful and hopeful.

Thank you, Bill.

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Elders Take Notice

An inspiring and valuable resource that all elders should read ASAP. Full of relatable personal stories that baby boomers can learn from. A wake up call for a generation that must act for the future.

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Heartbreakng

--------and FRUSTRATING. People are just ignoring this. Never mind grandchldren; our adult children will be horribly affected by this. I am old and have been working on this since the 70's. In the future, when our descendants read about our past two generations, when we KNEW what was coming, what will they feel? More importantly, how will they survive? i