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Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion New Ed Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0754655497
ISBN-10: 0754655490
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Editorial Reviews


'Ayn Rand's complex philosophical novel, Atlas Shrugged, is hugely popular, yet intimidating or confusing to some people. By assembling this impressive collection, Edward Younkins has done something wonderful for both those who enjoyed the novel and those yet to discover it. Younkins and his collaborators examine many different facets of the novel, from the perspectives of a variety of different disciplines: literature, philosophy, economics, politics, history. This is sure to be a thought-provoking and conversation-stimulating anthology.' Aeon J. Skoble, Bridgewater State University 'Edward Younkins appreciates the significance of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged to so many disciplines and thus he has assembled an impressive collection of essays by distinguished experts in many fields to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Rand's monumental work. Younkins understands the unique nature of "Atlas "; it is a great work of romantic literature, its plot shows in the concrete the importance of economic liberty and a morality of rational self-interest, it outlines an integrated philosophy - Objectivism - by which to guide one's life, and it offers a vision of the kind of life and world that this philosophy can produce. This collection is a welcomed volume for the millions who love Rand's magnum opus.' Edward Hudgins,The Atlas Society & the Objectivist Center 'Atlas Shrugged is a thrilling and, in my view, nearly indispensable part of courses on economics and government. Dr. Younkins's insightful collection of essays by experts in many fields will prove immensely valuable to teachers and students who use Atlas and to any reader who seeks deeper understanding of Ayn Rand's marvellous novel.' John B. Egger, Towson State University 'A collection of this type is long overdue. Edward Younkins has exhibited an impressive vision in assembling this extraordinary book just in time for the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand's masterpiece.' Lew Rockwell, Ludwig von Mises Institute 'Atlas Shrugged has been called the most important novel of ideas since War and Peace. Now, more than 20 years after Ayn Rand's death, she and her great book are beginning to get the scholarly attention they deserve. This Companion is a fine example of that.' David Boaz, Cato Institute 'My eyes were opened further by a new book, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, edited by Edward W. Younkins, which collects thirty-six essays from a variety of contributors offering literary, philosophical, economic, historical, and personal insights on Rand's great novel. First and foremost I should note that, for an anthology from an academic press, this was a surprisingly fast and fun read. The book's essays are short (mostly around ten pages) and readily comprehensible by any reasonably intelligent person. The only prerequisite to understanding the volume (other than an active mind) is Atlas Shrugged itself-and even that is nicely synopsized by Younkins at the outset. And while the essays are substantive and scholarly, one can also see and feel the joy most of the authors take in discussing one of their favorite books. Their enthusiasm rubs off as they provide the reader with even more reasons to appreciate Atlas Shrugged.' The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

About the Author

Edward Younkins is one of the leading scholars on the works of Ayn Rand in the world. He is the author of 'Capitalism and Commerce' and 'Philosophers of Capitalism: Menger, Mises, Rand and Beyond'.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (November 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754655490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754655497
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Almond on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Very few novels have stood the test of time. This year marks a venerable exception to this axiom, with the fiftieth aniversary of the first publication of Ayn Rand's groundbreaking novel Atlas Shrugged, which has never been out of print since its inititial publication. Hugely popular among literature and philosophy buffs alike, it has meant many different things to many people over the years. To some, it is just an entertaining story with fascinating characters and plot twists, while to others it is the cornerstone of their business, political, economic, and life's philosophy.

One such man, Dr. Edward Younkins of Wheeling Jesuit University, has long argued the merits and deeper meaning of Ayn Rand's ideas and Objectivist philosophy, which was laid out so completely in her culminating work, Atlas Shrugged. While Dr. Younkins has authored other works on related ideas, he may well consider this his crowning achievement. Few have understood this complex and artistic work with the depth and breadth of Dr. Younkins, and he has worked with many of the worlds leading scholars, authors, philosophers, businessmen, and educators to compile thirty six different essays on various aspects of Atlas Shrugged. Each contributor has laid out in easily understood form a different aspect of Atlas Shrugged and its significance to the human condition.

Dr. Younkins has then organized each of these separate works into a comprehensive companion, designed to help anyone understand the deeper truths Ayn Rand worked so hard to articulate to those who are willing to look. After reading Dr. Younkins' companion compilation, it is clear to anyone why the works of Ayn Rand have had such staying power and influence over the best and brightest minds of our age, from such minds as Alan Greenspan all the way down to the causal reader just looking for a good story. Anyone wanting to expand their knowledge and understanding of this classic work need look no further.
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Format: Paperback
As a lover of Atlas Shrugged and of literary analysis, I was really looking forward to diving into this companion book. With the promise of philosophical and literary discussion, I was very interested in what the articles would have to add to the dialogue of ideas in Atlas Shrugged and modern culture. I was sadly disappointed, however. This book's essays are basic and offer little further insight into the myriad ideas presented in Rand's epic novel. For anyone just beginning to delve into literary analysis, this companion may prove helpful. However, for anyone looking for an in-depth or even a collegiate companion book, this collection won't offer any additional insight.
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Format: Paperback
There are many different themes in this book. Most notable are the tones of capitalism vs. communism and the the producers in society vs. those who mooch off of the government.

Dagny Taggart is the female protagonist. This is a story about one person's fight against government corruption and greed. As an executive for one of the biggest railroads in the country run by her brother, she is frustrated by the lack of production from other workers until she runs into Henry Rearden, a scientist who has created his own metal plant and through many hours of hard work has grown the company to be one of the best in the industry. The two discover they have a lot of ideas in common in regards to work ethic and business practices.

Against Dagny and Henry (and many other industry giants introduced in the book) is the government which believes that they should share the wealth they have created for themselves from their own hard work with the rest of the world. In addition, they should share the secrets of their success with the rest of the world so that other companies can produce the same product without having to put in the same amount of work.

John M. Vanderslice
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good and helpful discussion of one of the most important books of the 20th century. It has a very good plot summary. Do not read this book until you read Atlas Shrugged.
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Editor Younkins acknowledges in his introduction that he solicited the 36 essays in this book from contributors already known to him, and that he thought the limited knowledge that some had of them subject would add to the perspective. For a potential reader who can get gut-level reactions to the book from Amazon reviews, the response could legitimately be: Why bother with this book? That question applies doubly when potential readers consider that a competing volume consists entirely of essays by contributors who have extensively studied the novel and its author. However, fairness to Younkins's collection demands that its best parts be highlighted and evaluated.

Among the better-informed, more analytical essays, there is a common attitude that if put into words would be expressed "Ayn Rand was smart, but I know better." These authors would have done well to gone back to her work to add to the knowledge they already had about her. Consider:

* Contributor Sechrest takes Ayn Rand to task for not embracing anarchism, contending that "Atlas Shrugged" provides a case for it. Secrest thinks that the novel validates his view over Rand's because Galt's Gulch functions with civility although it has no laws, just custom. (pg. 193-94) Contributor MacCallum likewise writes, "While Rand was ahead of many of her contemporaries in advocating a limited government, she stopped there, perhaps fearful that to go further would be to add the proverbial straw, branding her thought as anarchistic and thereby consigning it to intellectual oblivion." (pg. 197) Yes, Ayn Rand was an advocate of limited government, and, no, she was not inconsistent.
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