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Atlas Shrugged Paperback – August 1, 1999
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About the Author
Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand’s unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are put forth in three nonfiction books, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtues of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. They are all available in Signet editions, as is the magnificent statement of her artistic credo, The Romantic Manifesto.
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It is a good story, but prone to belabor the point. Every stupid character (and there are many) must apparently show their stupidity dozens of times to make absolutely sure the reader understand how stupid they are. Similarly, the chapter where hero John Galt sets out the argument for how society should be organized reads like a over-long political manifesto.
Through her process of rational deduction, Ayn Rands objectivism comes to the conclusion that nobody has any claim on the value produced by anybody else. This leads her to reject every aspect of the state, especially taxation and thus places objectivism next to anarcho-capitalism.
You don't have to agree with her conclusions to find the book entertaining and thought-provoking. Recommended.
The story, the characters, the plot... Where to begin? It's a beautiful story. I've always enjoyed Ayn Rand novels, but I can see how this is her crowning achievement. Rather than reading it as a commentary on capitalism (as many have), I read it as a story of true love. Dagny's growth and experiences moved me, and every piece of her past and future fit neatly into this grander puzzle of what I consider to be true love.
I'm glad I didn't have any other influences telling me to read this book solely from an economic or philosophical standpoint, because it would have ruined the beauty and adventure of what I see to be an excellent story. And you certainly don't need to read any further into it than a grand love story if you don't want to.