From Publishers Weekly
Freelance writer Podritske and author Schwartz (The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest) have selected 32 lectures and interviews from the 60-year career of writer and conservative philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982), founder of objectivism, beginning with her first interview in 1923, on the Depression ("Americans... don't even know what a depression is"), when the Russian émigré had just sold her first story to Universal Studios. Rand's 1943 novel Fountainhead catapulted her to success (amplified by the release of a film version) that was solidified in 1957 by her 1100-page magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. Both novels and later non-fiction were conceived as vehicles for "objectivism," a laissez-faire world-view based around the ethics of "rational self-interest" (a more familiar iteration might be "Greed is Good"); among her followers were Leonard Peikoff and a young Alan Greenspan. Though she knew hers was "an extreme and unpopular viewpoint," she was a tireless advocate for "full, unregulated, uncontrolled capitalism," and a harsh opponent of conservatives who "tie their political views to religion." With transcripts from speeches, television appearances, radio shows and more, this will no doubt please Rand's fans and provide a great resource for students.
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Author and philosopher Rand was generally reluctant to grant interviews because she thought they didn’t provide enough time and leeway to explain her philosophy of objectivism, that “reality exists as an objective absolute” that can be perceived through reason. After the success of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), Rand did go on to grant several interviews. This collection of 32 print interviews and transcripts of radio and television interviews from the 1940s until 1981 offers a fascinating conversation on objectivism, though Rand herself continually refers to her novels for a more in-depth perspective. Part 1 of this collection includes Rand’s first-known interview at age 27 and focuses on her life as a Russian immigrant; part 2 features interviews at Columbia University from 1962 to 1966; part 3 features several televised interviews, including talks with Mike Wallace in 1959 and Rand’s last public appearance in an interview with Louis Rukeyser in 1981. Given her influence on American culture, including the thinking of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, readers will find this a particularly topical review of Rand’s highly individualistic philosophy. --Vanessa Bush
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