Keepers of the Flame: The Role of Fire in American Culture, 1775-1925

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"For, Lo! We live in an Iron Age - In the age of Steam and Fire!" wrote a poet mesmerized by the engines that were transforming American transportation, agriculture, and industry during his lifetime. Indeed, by the nineteenth century fire had become America's leitmotif - for good and for ill. "Keeping the flame" was deadly serious: even the slightest lapse of attention could convert a fire from friendly ally to ravaging destroyer. To examine the cultural context of fire in "combustible America, " Margaret Hazen and Robert ...

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