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Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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Atlas Shrugged Kindle Edition
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|Length: 1188 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Part of the Ayn Rand Box Set (2 Book Series)
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It is true that Rand's political views are radical, and it's quite possible that a reader might not agree with all of them (although readers who agree with any of them will probably be very pleased with the sections in which these views are espoused). But I think that the most important aspect of the book--and this is coming from a reviewer who subscribes to nearly ALL of Rand's ideas--had little, if anything, to do with the political aspects of it.
Instead, I found the most helpful areas of this book to be the ones concerning personal struggles, where Rand is able to shed a perceptive and refreshing light on issues such as personal struggles and love. Her portrayal of Hank Rearden, and his struggles with the feeling of obligation toward unconditional love for his family in the face of their rabid exploitation of him, is one that provides strength for a reader who may have gone through something similar. The same goes for her portrayal of love, which is quite frankly far and away the most important aspect of this book, in my mind. The author shows love to be a celebration of one's own life and principles, and not the sort of sacrificial and emotionally destructive charity that is so often peddled in literature and film. And don't shy away if you're a romantic, because Rand's ideas on love celebrate it more fully than almost any others out there. Her lovers love each other as rewards for themselves, thus enhancing themselves in the process, and creating positive feedback in the relationship. This is an important idea for anyone who has ever struggled with unrequited or asymmetrical emotions, and I think can go a long way toward helping a reader to forge more meaningful relationships in his or her own life.
Frankly, the best part of the novel is summed up in the words of John Galt, in the latter half of the third portion: "It's not that I don't suffer, it's that I know the unimportance of suffering. I know that pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one's soul and as a permanent scar across one's view of existence."
In many ways, Atlas Shrugged is a reminder to the reader that he or she is important, and that should they earn it then they deserve only the best. Rand has the gall to come out and say it in a way that makes you feel as though she is right, and that you are right as well for agreeing.
Even if you know that you do not buy into the political ideas of the book, I would recommend reading it solely for this aspect. I already held the same political beliefs as Rand before I read her work, so I can safely say that my attachment to it has little to do with that stuff.
Just don't believe the rabid hype or poisonous criticism. Read for yourself, leave what you don't like behind, and take with you what you do.
It is an intense read. Lots of description. Lots of character development.
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