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We the Living: Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1996

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Review

A colossal love story with a massive philosophical framework. --Miami News --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

AYN RAND (1905-1982) was born in Russia, graduated from the University of Leningrad, and came to the United States in 1926. She published her first novel in 1936. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved a spectacular and enduring success and her unique philosophy, objectivism, gained a worldwide following. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 60 Anv edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451187849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451187840
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 267 people found the following review helpful By Bethany on May 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are a lot of people who dislike Ayn Rand. Whether for the rather didactic and lengthy sermons that populate most of the plots of her novels, or her own theories which tend to be underdeveloped and difficult to understand, she is not the most popular author or person in the philosophical realm. We the Living, however, is a book that one must read in order to change the perception of Rand doing what she does best: writing fiction.
The novel is a harsh look at communism in the post-Red revolution of Russia, following three people: Kira, a young, idealistic, woman who bourgeois family was left poverty-stricken following the revolt; Leo, an indifferent young man haunted by the Communists due his late father's war glory; and Andrei, a Communist questioning his own beliefs in the system he has risen up in so quickly. Despite the fact that this novel is set in a far-away time and place to most of its readers, it is a book which I felt an extremely strong connection with. Everybody knows a Leo: flippant, handsome, could get any girl he wants -- but he has serious character flaws, and tends to be abusive of Kira's love for him. And Kira, the novel's protagonist, is very similar to any youth of today: she does not understand the ideals of the Communist party, but she does know what she believes and is wholeheartedly committed to fulfilling the promise she had at birth.
The entire novel is beautifully written in moving prose that reflects both the harsh conditions for the people of Russia and the emotions felt between Kira, Andrei, Leo, and others as they attempt to make life better for themselves in a regime that denies them anything good without punishment.
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108 of 117 people found the following review helpful By J. Kane on March 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ayn Rand said that "We the Living" was the closest she would ever come to writing an autobiography. Maybe that's why when I was reading WTL I got the impression that I was witnessing real scenes from Ayn's past life under the Soviet system. The uncompromising and highly principled behavior of the main character, Kira is inspiring and horrible to witness when you realize what she was up against(communist rule).
Kira is not the superhero type Rand would create so well in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but she was as close as you could expect to find in Soviet Russia. And unlike Rand's later fiction, WTL has a sad ending... an ending which really drives home the point of how collectivism's ultimate result is death -- death of the mind, death of the individual, and eventually death of everything good in society.
It kept me up nights reading and many more nights pondering what it all meant. A great read!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By P. Connors on June 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of Rand's novels to sell fairly well commercially. Initially it did well in Europe and less so in the USA. When the first printing was sold out in the USA, the plates were destroyed and it went out of print for close to 20 years before the combined success of THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED cried out for its re-publication in the United States.
There is much truth in other reviewers comments here that this book seems to be written so differently than Rand's later novels. I will not disagree with anyone on that. Along with ANTHEM and a play titled THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 16th, Rand used WTL as a laboratory to express her anti-totalitarian ideas in English and in novel form. It should be remembered that Rand came here as a penniless Russian immigrant. She initially lived with relatives in Chicago and then made her way to Los Angeles where she earned her way (and began to write).
Rand herself said that this book was the closest she would ever come to writing an autobiography. Obviously, Kira is an idealized fictional symbol of all that Rand held to be virtuous and worth aspiring to. She conflicts good and evil and in the process, we see that even though Kira idolizes freedom (both political and economic), she cannot accept contradictions in the man she has chosen to love.
This novel portrays the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution on the lives of three people. Three people who meant very little to the totalitarian Soviet state and the Communist Party but as individual Russians, living through that dark midnight that almost extinguished hope in the hearts of the Russian people, Kira, Leo and Andrei are as alive as any of the classic characters found elsewhere in important literature.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Aaishik Kar on June 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"We the living" is the lesser known of Ayn Rand's novels, yet my favorite.
I'd say without doubt or hesitation that there is no novel which I have loved as much as this one(and I don't think I'll ever love any other as much as this one, too).
Yes, "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" certainly are greater, but this novel had an emotional impact on me which the others did not - at least not of the same degree.
Though Rand had not fully defined her unique, ground-breaking philosophy of Objectivism at the time she wrote this novel - it proffers her image of life and man which is fully consistent with her more refined novels.
The theme of this novel,strictly speaking,is : "The evil of totalitarianism".
Going deeper, the theme emerges to be : "The sanctity of human life."
Ultimately, this novel dramatizes how totalitarianism violates the sanctity of human life.
But I'd say the fundamental abstraction is : "MAN'S LOVE FOR LIFE, FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS"
And this is what reaches out to every person who reads this emotionally intense novel about a love-triangle involving a woman, an ex-aristocrat and a communist whose lives are destroyed by the system in which they live (in Communist Russia) - for I don't think there is any person in this world,except the most depraved,who doesn't value life,joy and liberty (at least his/her own).
"We The Living" is about the human spirit struggling to preserve its dignity, honor and benevolence - in circumstances which break and pulverize, embitter and malign it.
It is about both,the vulnerability,and the indestructibility of the human spirit.
It is about man being driven by despair, hopelessness and pain to resort to incorrect means so as to achieve good ends.
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