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Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right Hardcover – October 19, 2009
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More About the Author
Professor Burns is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press), an intellectual biography of the controversial novelist and philosopher. Based on exclusive access to Rand's personal papers, Goddess of the Market is the only book to draw upon Rand's unedited letters and journals. It has been favorably reviewed by numerous publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, the Economist, and the New Yorker.
A popular guest on radio and television programs, Professor Burns has been interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, C-Span's Book TV, NPR's Weekend America, and Here & Now. She has also written articles for Harvard Magazine, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, and several academic journals.
Professor Burns also enjoys speaking before academic and professional organizations. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Columbia Business School, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Rice University, and the Cato Institute.
Podcast lectures for Professor Burns' course, Introduction to U.S. History from 1865, are available on iTunes and have attracted an appreciative worldwide audience. The lectures are available at iTunes.Berkeley.edu and can be found by searching "History 7b" in the Social Sciences section.
Top Customer Reviews
with my then-husband, we operated and ran the los angeles chapter of NBI in the 60's. when the 'break' with the brandon's occurred, we were astonished to find that unless we 'sided' with AR, we were excommunicated (their words). we refused to side with anyone. after that we were not even allowed to subscribe to the publications of AR and her cohorts. it was truly heartbreaking; we were being asked to take sides without knowing anything about anything except that AR had denounced NB. we could not do that, and so we were kicked out of an organization that we had been steadfastly loyal to for a number of years.
that is not to say that NB was such a saint either; he did his share of humiliating and abusing those who he felt were 'less' than he; even to the point of admitting to us one day that yes, he and AR did believe, as did Nietszche, that there were those who were 'more deserving' than others; more worthy of life, more elite. they believed in a hierarchy which allocated a special level of entitlement. AR and NB being a part of, if not THE, hierarchy of course. this said while sprawled on our sofa, chewing on radishes. he could be a charmer, but he could be a SOB just as easily.
by then, i was heading out the door and out of the realm of objectivism. i learned a lot from both AR and NB (i truly liked barbara and found her to be a classy, warm woman who did not need to intimidate and humiliate others in order to feel good about herself).Read more ›
The book marshalls a remarkable amount of information: Professor Burns has consulted 18 collections at 10 archives - and was given access to the Ayn Rand Archives themselves. She has read, audited, or conducted 89 interviews. She also cites more than 200 books in her bibliography, and there are 48 pages of footnotes for those who want to know the exact sources for her information. The book examines Ayn Rand's work and ideas closely; but it also traces their many connections with and influences upon America's political and cultural right wing. If scholars who come after her wish to be taken seriously, they will really have to do their homework - as she has.
Burns is a historian, not a philosopher - and she approaches Rand from a historian's viewpoint. As a historian, she shows the influence that Rand's ideas have had on the right wing of American politics; but - also as a historian - she shows how Rand's personality and character affected the way that message was received. If you disregard either the person or the ideas, you're not writing good history. Burns gives full attention to both aspects of her subject in this book.
Still more importantly, what this book gives back to Ayn Rand is context. Many Objectivists have withdrawn into a self-referential, self-ghettoizing circle where every word of Ayn Rand is viewed as inerrant and one takes note of cultural or intellectual trends in the wider world only in order to express one's contempt for it all.Read more ›
Having read the 1-3 star reviews here, I'm left wondering if a reader's more extensive knowledge of Ayn Rand and her philosophy, Objectivism, becomes a disservice in trying to read what one of these reviewers correctly labels a Reader's Digest version of Rand.
These reviewers are also correct that the work is not so much analysis and interpretation as a regurgitation of facts around Rand's life, relationships, and belief system. For the uninitiated such as myself, the regurgitation will naturally not come across as a repetition of well-known events. I can see that if the author is claiming "never before seen sources" as input to the work that there would be unmet expectations among the more knowledgeable, but for me the survey level was just fine. I take issue, though, with the complaints that the book (a) is laced with negative renderings of Rand and Objectivism, and (b) characterizes Objectivism as indistinguishable from "the right" or "the GOP". In this, perhaps because I'm less sensitive to it through distance from the philosophy, I thought Burns was extremely fair.
Were there negative statements about Rand and/or her behavior and/or her philosophy? Certainly, but there were also some very strongly worded positive statements. Did Burns imply/state that Objectivism influenced the development of "the Right"?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The subject of the biography is a vile character but I can't fault the biographer. Ms. Burns did an excellent job of capturing the intellectual strengths of Ms. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Mc Teague
Like her or hate her (Ayn Rand), but this was a great Audible presentation. The book was well researched and accurate as any historical look back can be.Published 8 months ago by Gary D. Scott
I am a big fan of Ayn Rand, and I enjoyed reading about her. The book seemed to tell the real story.Published 9 months ago by Miss Natural
Jennifer Burns wrote this unauthorized biography about Alisa Z Rosenbaum. Burns has some erroneous opinions and inaccurate information about Rosenbaum. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Max Sylver Destin
A good and seemingly fair assessment of a controversial figure.Published 11 months ago by Michael Atkins, PhD
Since Ayn Rand’s ideas have been so influential in the past fifty years or so, I decided to study her works and see what she was really all about. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Walter Stanley
There are apparently two diametric impressions Ayn Rand makes upon readers: Either she comes across as a rather mediocre intellect, and very mediocre writer, and a rather odious... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Walter Stanley