Customer Review

1,034 of 1,244 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Sense of Life, June 22, 2005
This review is from: Atlas Shrugged (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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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2006 9:33:47 PM PST
For an "actual review of the novel" most of it seems to be a review of other people's reactions to the novel, and not even in depth at that purpose. Why is this a spotlight review?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2007 5:30:50 PM PST
L. L. Mills says:
Seems better than what you had to say.

Posted on Jun 1, 2007 11:51:25 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 11, 2007 11:38:48 AM PDT]

Posted on Nov 9, 2007 8:18:16 PM PST
skeptics not skepticists

Posted on Oct 20, 2008 5:08:40 AM PDT
Hypoxy says:
Beautiful review that cuts to the chase. This book is the Iliad of the 20th century.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2009 6:59:34 AM PST
Well, that's a thought: "The Iliad of the 20th century." Or maybe we should make that the 21st century.

Well, Ayn Rand was clear-sighted. She saw what was coming because she had already been through that, in Russia. And one way to think of it is as "a cloud of meaningless words completely designed to make you unaware that you are being robbed." I doubt that, in 1950, there were many professors maintaining that objective reality was a myth. Now, in 2009, it is commonplace. You can't debate these people. John Searle has tried valiantly. And even the most basic counter-argument ("If there is no objective reality, what makes you think that you are right?") is pushed aside in the rush to institute Envy as the ruling principle of government.

I was born in 1946, and when I compare the government of (say) Eisenhower to the current troika of Obama-Pelosi-Reid, words fail me. I suspect that this is true for many Americans.

Happily, words did not fail Ayn Rand. She, at least, can call a spade a spade.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2009 7:15:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2009 7:20:17 AM PDT
Like Geoff (above) I was born in 1946 also. The differences in America then versus now are hard to describe. Sure, in many respects, the 1950s were backwards in the realm of civil rights, womens' advancement and in still believing that Manifest Destiny did not come at a price for native Americans. Yet, we seemed to have a government composed of people (men) far more like the average American that our nest of elitists today. Back then, the vast number of members of Congress had fought in World War II and knew, firsthand, about the sacrifices made by America to withstand tyrannical rule. Back then, even as a young child, I truly understood what all said - that America was the land of OPPORTUNITY. Today the message is, largely via trial lawyers, that America is the land of GUARANTEES. So many of us actually believe there is a "free lunch" to be had. And, of course, most of those laboring under this utopian vision have no basic grasp of fundamental economics, market forces, supply and demand etc.... Because they are seemingly dependent on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars for their view of the world, they cannot even see the end of the gravy train coming their way. The producers of America have now been made the enemy and those who have made them so produce nothing other than reams of legal-written pages of legislation that are not even read before voted upon. We are lectured on the need to pass bailouts, TARPS, earmarks and restriction after restriction on those producers and we are then 'promised' that this heavy-handed legislation (that few actual taxpaying citizens seem to favor) is oozing with "transparency and oversight' when, in fact, there is none provided.

We are nearing the tipping point between tax payers and tax consumers. In only a few more years, more will be profiting from taxation then will be paying them. When that happens, productivity will plunge and the producers will become America's new slave population and there will be no emancipation coming from those profiting from such slavery. Then, Atlas WILL shrug.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2009 12:10:32 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 11:35:38 AM PDT
Kechmocash says:
I read Atlas Shrugged at the tender age of 21. It was then, and has remained the best book I have ever read, after the Bible. I even saw a survey once that said the same thing...Bible number one, A.S. number two. It formed my political views as well as my opinions of what comprises great literature. It should be required reading in any college literature class, but considering the liberal ilk of most academics, I can understnad why it isn't. I am re-reading it now, at age 65, and wishing the print were larger!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 10:45:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2009 10:45:54 AM PDT
Ayesha says:
Kevin, I think it's pretty clear what Geoff is saying. So the question REALLY is: What are YOU trying to infer??
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