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Anthem: 50th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – August 1, 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Rand's dark portrait of the future was first released in England in 1938 and reedited for publication in the United States in 1946. This 50th-anniversary edition includes a scholarly introduction and a facsimile of the original British version, which bears Rand's handwritten alterations for its American debut.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly. --The New York Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; Anniversary edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525940154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525940159
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anthem is not a book. It is not a philosophical or governmental treatise. As Ayn Rand herself admitted, it has neither a real plot nor a real climax. Anthem is a poem.
Its final two chapters are (according to Rand) the "anthem"--the celebration of the human ego. This is not done in logical terms, but in pure emotional exultation. In my opinion, Rand's writing throughout the book is skilled, passionate and evocative, but in the last two chapters she really shines.
For presentations of Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, in logical form, read Atlas Shrugged. For a ruthless, beautiful evocation of the emotional aspect of Rand's philosophy of egoism, read Anthem. If you have socialist leanings, or simply have always assumed the many is more important that the one, the book may disturb you greatly (it did me, when I read it the first time). It will change the way you feel, and Rand's later work will change the way you think.
Highly recommended. This book is often misunderstood, but if you read it with the understanding that it is a poem, and not a book, your understanding of it will be enhanced.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The novel is a tale of a time when the human race has lost all individuality, when people are reduced to numbers and have lost their freedom to make decisions for themselves. Through this novel, written and completed while Ayn Rand was working on Fountainhead, Ayn Rand introduces her philosophy concerning the individual.
The novel really got me thinking and I couldn't put it down. At just over a hundred pages, i read it all in one setting, and thought about it the rest of the week. Though the world in Anthem is a very dark and depressed one indeed, it comments nonetheless on more subtle forms of control and losses of our individual freedom in today's world.
An excellent read and a great intro to her philosophy. This book led me to purchase Atlas Shrugged, and I recommend these both to all my friends.
Amazing and Powerful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I heard a lot about Ayn Rand from my elders 20 years ago. At the time, I tried to read Fountainhead, but never could get into it. This past year, I happened to run into Anthem and bought it on my Kindle. This is the book I should have started with all those years ago. Rand's rant against the evils of unmitigated collectivism still plays well for those who live and work in broken communities where the status quo has taken on the character of revelation. Rand inspires rebellion against group think. Add some real critical thinking skills to Rand's simplistic vision and one has the potential for solid citizenship.
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By A Customer on March 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is in my opinion, Ayn Rand's best book. There are a number of reasons for this, but I think most important is that unlike "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged", she wrote a succinct piece, and didn't allow herself to ramble. Anyone wanting an introduction to Rand should start here, it won't take you long to get through, the writing is pretty good, and it lacks the convoluted plots and characters of her longer pieces. In a strange way it is at times quite moving, and also lacks some of the more objectionable statements that can be found in Rand's other pieces, bordering on racism & fascism at times... this is a classic struggle for Individualism against a smothering regime, but not a struggle putting down other people's individualism.
I suggest that any person coming to "Anthem" should read "WE" by Yevgeny Zamyatin first. It was written in 1920, only a few years after the Russian Revolution. Russian was Ayn Rand's native language and she would have been able to read this book in the original, in fact she left Russia six years after "We" was published. "Anthem" was written seventeen years after "We". Various features of "Anthem" seem to have been taken from "We" (Brave New World and 1984 were also influenced by it, but not to the same extent). The most obvious similarity is that the characters have numbers, not names, and don't think of themselves as "I" but "We" and there's also the diary format in common. A major difference is that in "Anthem", the society has regressed technologically. Although this particular Hive/Ultra-Communist set up has been much copied since in fiction, it was not so common when Zamyatin was writing.
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So why wasn't this book made into an episode of the Twilight Zone? It is right up Sterling's alley-the individual against the state, and his right to revolt.

Of course this book has elements of other dystopian literature: big government and small humans, retrograde technology, and state control of life, liberty, and sex. This seems like a rehash of the usual works ("The Iron Heel," "THX-1138," "Logan's Run, " "Harrison Bergeron"), but keep in mind it was written in 1937, five years AFTER "Brave New World," and eleven years BEFORE "1984."

In fact, this book in many ways surpasses Orwell's classic. Being a novella, it is crisper, punchier, and more to the point. It has less deadwood (the sex scene are allusions), and focuses on the moral aspects of an omnipresent state that has eliminated the word "We."

That is the key. Eleven years before Appleforth refused to eliminate the word "God," the World Council had eliminated the word "I." For day to day activity, that is like removing the letter "e." Throughout the narrative, which is written in first person, Equality 7-2521 keeps referring to himself as "we."

This makes for awkward reading, since we do not know if he is along or with Liberty 5-3000, or anyone else. But that is point: the objective of the World Council is to eliminate the concept of individuality in order to cement control over society.

You do not need a whole Newspeak dictionary if you can eliminate this one word for the vocabulary. This one small change makes all the difference.

*

The only drawback is that Peikoff included the galley prints of Rand's revision of the First Edition. This uselessly doubles the size of the book, but it is an important insight for fans of Rand and those who are aspiring writers. If you liked "Romantic Manifesto" and "The Art of Fiction," buy this book. You see Rand's mind in action.
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