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Anthem Paperback – Unabridged, December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Anniversary edition (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452281253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452281257
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Through her novels and nonfiction writings, which express her unique philosophy of Objectivism, Rand maintains a lasting influence on popular thought.

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  • "Writing" 14
  • "Depth" 8
  • "Characters" 7
  • "Influential" 1
  • "Suspense" 1
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Anthem is short novel (only 88 pages) foreshadowing what is to come in Rand's better known novels--Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Because this fictionalized work is brief and lacks the voluminous speeches found in the aforementioned novels (e.g. John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged), it's a more accessible work.

I've long wondered why mediocrity is so celebrated, with "tall poppies" often being cut down by the puveyors of the status quo. It is because of the "forbidden word"--the last word in Anthem--that the collectivists, New Agers, and "global village" demonize those who worship individualism.

As one who has been a part of New Age thought, it gives me pause to consider what can be lost with the "all is one" mentality.

My favorite Rand quote aptly sums up this gem of a novel:

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

If you'd like a simple introduction to Rand's philosophy of individualism, Anthem is a great place to start. Those who have read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead will likely enjoy this straightforward book about a man who dares to think and discover for himself--and what this decision costs him in a world ruled by the "we".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on July 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this along with my daughter for her required summer reading. I'm an English major and love literary pieces, but this seemed to be a punishment to inflict on kids that young (just starting high school). I'll be the first to admit, I've never liked allegories. There was something of value to take away and to discuss, which is why I gave it three stars, but the story world was too extreme to be believable. There was virtually no characterization and certainly no subtelty. It's a parable, I suppose, but 100 pp. is a bit long for a parable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jane E. Keeler on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Ayn Rand, and I love dystopian literature, so I expected to be blown away by Anthem. Instead, I was quite disappointed. It seems as though Rand read Evgeny Zamyatin's We (published over a decade before Anthem) and penned a much weaker version of her own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on November 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I read Anthem after first reading The Fountainhead-- becoming obsessed with that--then reading Atlas Shrugged and being disappointed. This came out before the Fountainhead, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was short but fun. Clearly a beginning step towards the longer novels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Eyon on June 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
While this novella is set in a dark time and place in the not-so-distant future, it glows with such beauty that I come close to rapture whenever I re-read it.

It's hard to believe that Russian-born Ayn Rand was struggling with English not so much earlier. The poetic writing style is so exactly right for the story that it is inconceivable that is could have been written in any other way. The airiness of this style gave way, in later novels, to a disciplined, ponderous one.

The plot involving a young couple rebeling against socialistic conformity is so daring in the philosophical context of its time (and in the present) that many people will find it inspiring.

This is a youthful, confident Ayn Rand. The intransigence would appear later.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beatriz on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book taught me that everyone deserves to be free. Everyone deserves to choose your career, to think whatever they want, to love whoever they want. Freedom is something you can't take away from anyone.
The world is not the same as it used to be. Now, people say what they are thinking, they express their opinion, they do what they want to and what they love. Nowadays the relationship between people exist and it's more notable. People have many brothers, sisters, cousins, friends and are always with them. It's rare to see anyone doing something alone these days.
This book is good for advanced english learners. They can improve their vocabulary, they can read the intire book because it isn't too long and they can understand it because it's not a hard book to understand.
In my opinion, this book is very nice! Even though it shows a extreme side of socialism and comunism, it made me realize that everyone can have freedom. Plus, it tells a good story. It doesn't keep saying about socialism and comunism all the time; it tells us a story about this guy who goes against the rules because he starts to think he deserve more than what the government give to him. He wants to choose his own career, he fall in love with a woman and he writes about all these things. It shows us how important is to have a opininon and your personal freedom.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason N. Beil on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
A couple years ago I was visiting my local Borders (r.i.p., old friend) looking for something to read, and I happened to remember an article I had read on Objectivism and Ayn Rand. The cover of Atlas Shrugged had always intrigued me when I had, on past visits, perused the literature section, so I thought I would give old Ayn a look-see. Of course, a door-stop like Atlas was a little intimidating at the time, so I picked up the thinnest book I could find, which happened to be Anthem.

And short it was indeed. I read the whole thing in one sitting, right there in the bookstore. And then and there, I realized that I really, really liked Ayn Rand.

Now, a lot of folks really, really do not like Ayn Rand. To be sure, she gets a lot of hate. I'm not sure any of it is deserved, but I can understand where the haters are coming from. Her philosophy is controversial, and if misinterpreted (which all the haters seem hell-bent on doing), it can seem like it is condoning unbridled selfishness, which it is not (not, at least, by most people's definition of selfishness. Ayn Rand herself would have said selfishness is good, but she was talking about rational self-interest, not some sort of Bernie Madoff "let me grab all this money I haven't earned at other people's expense" type selfishness. In point of fact, much of her writing is a denunciation of exactly that sort of thing).

A central tenet of Objectivism, and therefore of Rand's writing, is the celebration of the human spirit--not a mystical spirit or "soul," but rather that spark of uniqueness that makes us individuals, that makes us thinking, rational beings. Using reason and intellect, humankind can (and should) create great and wonderful works.
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