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The Ideas of Ayn Rand Paperback – December 31, 1998
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I purchased this book (The Ideas of Ayn Rand by Ronald E. Merrill) and found it to be refreshing and honest. The author's independent thinking approach was a change from many other texts I had read on this topic. This is a very interesting and informative book which is organized into eight areas.
The first section covers the controversial Ayn Rand, which includes the Objectivist movement, "Ayn Rand Cult": fact and fancy and other material. The second section is about Rand's life in print. The Nietzschean period is reviewed in section three. Section four deals with The transition period, Full integration of her ideas is covered in section five. Section six explains the philosophical period, which is my favorite section. The political period is dealt with in section seven and the final section gives a view of the future of Objectivism.
In conclusion, if you have an interest in Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you should check out this book. It provides insights not often found in other writings about this amazing woman and her philosophy.
Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy haiku)
The book's strongest potential virtue was to delineate Nietzsche's influence on Rand's philosophy. Yet while the author claims that Rand's writings were influenced by Nietzsche, he provides little documentation for any early influence and no evidence for any lasting influence. His claim that Rand derived her critique of Kant from Nietzsche, for example, was never documented. A substantial revision of this section of the book, particularly in light of recent publications, would be warranted--without such a revision, the book has little to recommend it.
Finally, the author's narration of recent scholarly interest in Rand--both inside and outside academia--was also disappo! intingly superficial. His treatment was marred by his conflation of these intellectual developments with much non-scholarly (and uninformative) interest in her personal life and the lives of her self-proclaimed admirers.
With the publication of "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand," "Letters of Ayn Rand," and "Journals of Ayn Rand," the current volume has been entirely superceded. Save your money.
He points out the weaknesses and problems with Rand's esthetic theories.
Unfortunately, he does not do the same for Rand's epistemology, which has always been the weakest part of her work.
The last part of the book deals with her attempts to make a practical difference through politics and the continuing disagreements Objectivists have with libertarianism.
The book is also extremely readable and well organized.