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“Fire in The Minds of Men”


A little odd for the President to use this phrase in his speech. It’s from—or also appears in—Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, and was taken by James Billington as the title for his book. From a review of the latter: “Billington published Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of Revolutionary Faith, a study of small groups and idiosyncratic people who ‘created an incendiary legacy of ideas.’ The title of the book came from Dostoyevsky’s novel The Possessed, in which one character, looking out at a town torched by revolutionaries, said, ‘The fire is in the minds of men, not in the roofs of buildings.’”


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