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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1200 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452011876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452011878
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,986 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 School & Library Binding edition.

About the Author

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision which sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long an admirer of cinema, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screenwriting.

In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various nonwriting jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she sold her first screenplay, "Red Pawn," to Universal Pictures in 1932 and saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway. Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in 1934 but was rejected by numerous publishers, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels, it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny.

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles which make such individuals possible.

Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy—Objectivism, which she characterized as "a philosophy for living on earth.". She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for six books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totalling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show "Philosophy: Who Needs It."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



More 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, Objectivism, Rand maintains a lasting influence on popular thought.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
2,450
4 star
559
3 star
313
2 star
236
1 star
428
See all 3,986 customer reviews
Even if you are not seeking out Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy, this book makes you think.
AmazonDiva
Even though it is a much longer book than I would nornally care to read, I find myself looking forward to the next time I can get back to the book to see what happens.
Steve in Westminster, CO
I read this book for the first time about 20 years ago, have read it twice since then, and have re-read favorite sections many times.
Father Of Two

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2,833 of 3,165 people found the following review helpful By Hoke on July 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I want to say from the beginning that one does not need to agree with a philosophy to appreciate it. Obviously most of the critics and some of the supporters have never read this work. One need not approve of communism to give the Communist Manifesto a high rating but it is certainly a must read.

Ayn Rand's philosophy is known as objectivism. It is essentially having a objective reason and purpose for every action you commit.

Atlas Shrugged is one of two major novels that outlines her entire philosophy while trying to show how it would be applied. That is why this book deserves a 5 star rating. Any philosopher can give generic ideas with no application. Rand puts it all on the line to show exactly how she means her philosophy to be interpreted.

The student of philosophy will be able to understand her philosophy quite clearly after reading this. If you agree with her philosophy you should encourage others to read this book. If this book is so clearly wrong then you should encourage others to read it so they will see how clearly wrong it is. Those that want it burned or object to others reading it know that she offers some very strong arguments for a position they clearly do not want to be true.

This book takes place probably around the 1950s. It is centered around the industrial sector of the U.S., the only government that has not become a People's State. The main character in this book is Dagny Taggart. She is a no-nonsense VP of Operations for the largest railroad in the world. She is intelligent and is solely driven to keeping her RR as the best.

The times are dim and getting dimmer. In the beginning the country is in a recession of sorts and it is up to Taggart and others like her to save the country.
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937 of 1,098 people found the following review helpful By "mcgee22" on July 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An earlier reviewer struck an important vein when mentioning that academia and media have left this novel largely untouched, while it has continued to be read via word-of-mouth recommendations. Why? Rand is provocative; the novel engenders both deep respect and vitriolic opposition. Why?
To begin with, this is not an ordinarily structured novel; it is an overt statement of a philosophy. The plot, like many of those employed by Shakespeare, is not wholly original. (See an older book entitled "Secret of the League"). In any event, Rand uses the complex plot allegorically as a vehicle for describing her own unique philosophy and its consequences. Rand's philosophy, and it is clear enough upon reading, is a synthesis of Aristotelianism with more modern "humanistic" concerns, in the greatest and original sense of the term. Rand ties Aristotle's basic conceptions of logic to the workings of egoism and capitalism. She rejects Nietzschean irrationalism, Kantian ethics, and the kind of Pragmatism championed by Dewey. Her suggested replacement for these constructs is a body of thought which recognizes and responds to human needs and values, economic conditions, political necessities, and logical imperatives, even if incompletely at times. Oddly, her critics continue to tout her as little more than a "pop-philosopher". On to her book.
Atlas Shrugged is a fountainhead of skilled dialogue and monologue. Francisco's speech on "money" is insightful, and honest. Some prosaic passages, like Galt's enormous speech near the novel's end, could have used some editing. Nonetheless, such passages are meant to (and succeed in) conveying a rather thorough philosophy.
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1,018 of 1,216 people found the following review helpful By Z.S. Oakes on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I thought I'd be ambitious and write an actual review of the novel, rather than a review of Ayn Rand or her philosophy, Objectivism. Although I hold both in high regard, I think any disrespectful ad hominems need no response.

First let me tell you what this book is not. Atlas Shrugged is not a novel depicting ordinary people in ordinary situations. It is not here to tell you what is - it is here to tell you what could be and should be. That is why so many find the characters unbelievable, unreachable, even childish in their idealism.

As for the ideal itself, it is personified in the productive giants of (then) modern America. Dagny Taggart does railroads, Francisco D'Anconia does copper mines, Hank Rearden - steel. For centuries, men have asked what would happen if the working class went on strike; Miss Rand asks, what would happen if the men of industry went on strike.

What would happen if Atlas, a man whose shoulders held a world damning him a robber baron, shrugged? This is not a novel for the chronic skepticists who dismiss strong convictions as dogmatism, nor for the pessimists who proudly declare that they "grew out" of Miss Rand's "naive optimism."

For everyone else, though, I recommend Atlas Shrugged highly.
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651 of 781 people found the following review helpful By cynthia on May 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've never seen any point in all the "read this! buy this!" stuff of customer reviews, but I felt compelled to respond after stumbling across all of the tripe posted here by the vehemently Anti-Rand. I noticed that one of the major complaints is the length of the book. This amuses me; I would hope that anyone who thinks themselves intelligent enough to argue the psychological premises of this book would be past the childlike complaint of "It's too long!"...when did reading become "work"? I thought we'd outgrown that, children... I am seventeen years old and I just finished reading this book for the third time. I wouldn't say that it changed my life so much as it reaffirmed my existing view of life as I always knew it should be. when reading this, or any of rand's other work, I am always tempted to underline, to highlight the countless passages in which she has described all of the vague notions that I could never quite put into words. I am baffled by those who call her characters "shallow" and "one-dimensional"; I have never encountered any characters in literature who are as deeply affected by the world around them as Dagny, Rearden, Galt, etc. (Their actions alone should be sufficient proof of this...did you people actually read the novel? How can you overlook an entire plot?). Others complain that the novel's premises are "too black-and-white", saying that no one could actually go to such emotional extremes "in real life". Is it any wonder, then, that such people completely miss the point of this novel? This is probably the most important book I have ever read. My only regret is that I did not purchase the hardcover copy (my paperback has become quite tattered). Pay no attention to the outbursts of one-star reviewers...Read more ›
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