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3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men by Sean Flynn

By Sean Flynn

The unforgettable and heartbreaking actual tale of the firemen who bravely fought "the excellent fire" is now in paperback.

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Already by 1918 the US government had joined the other imperial great powers in a military intervention against the Bolsheviks. America’s postwar unwillingness to take the lead in the international organizations Wilson had constructed is often written down to a US sense of political betrayal after Europe spurned US positions at the peace conferences. But the so-called ‘‘isolationism’’ of the 1920s and 1930s had deeper roots than concern over diplomatic negotiations. As the United States became the world’s primary industrial power, immigration had increased manifoldly, reaching its peak in the years immediately preceding World War I.

30 In other words, it was the structure of society that mattered, rather than capital or training. The deification of the market in the 1950s was a rather extreme version of the capitalist element in American foreign policy ideology. It came about for two reasons. One was the right-wing’s political campaigns against the New Deal’s extension of the US federal state. The other was the international collectivist challenge, which by the mid-1950s was more pronounced than ever in the Third World and from the Soviet Union.

23 Both before and during the Cold War there have been occasions when concrete business interests have had a direct and decisive role in American interventions, but the historical record shows that these were few and far between. Normally, presidents – from Jefferson to Reagan – have had little patience with businessmen promoting their self-interests, at least after they themselves have been elected to the White House. Those bankers, investors, and exporters who have come to the Oval Office pleading the case of their companies have more often than not received short shrift, somewhat similar to the way Soviet political theorists, The empire of liberty: American ideology and foreign interventions 29 scientists, or heads of friendship associations were treated in the Kremlin when they made suggestions on foreign policy.

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