Monday, June 20, 2011

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

About the book: With this acclaimed work and its immortal query, "Who is John Galt?", Ayn Rand found the perfect artistic form to express her vision of existence. Atlas Shrugged made Rand not only one of the most popular novelists of the century, but one of its most influential thinkers.

Ayn Rand's epochal novel, first published in 1957, has been a bestseller for more than four decades as well as an intellectual landmark. It is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world - and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies but against those who needed him most - and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world's motor - and the motive power of every man?

Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life - from the productive genius who becomes a worthless the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction... to the philosopher who becomes a the composer who gives up his career on the night of his the woman who runs a transcontinental the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's masterpiece. It is a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller.

First line: "Who is John Galt?"

My thoughts: Wow! This has been in my TBR pile for several years and I have been putting it off, I guess because of the size of the tome. Even though I found it a bit wordy at times I thought it was captivating and compelling, I had a hard time putting it down. It is a dystopian novel set in an alternate 5os era so the sci/fi, fantasy nature of the book appealed to me. The author has very strong philosophical beliefs which were the foundation of this novel and are the source of much controversy. Basically I put the philosophy to the back of my mind, I read it for the fiction. The main characters were larger than life and I couldn't help loving them. Rand herself said about them that "they are not man as he is, rather man as he should be." There were no shades of gray here, all black and white. The good characters were good and the bad were evil.Even though I like this book, there were a few things that I didn't like: For one the sex was rough with little or no love involved. The 70 page speech on one of the main character's vision of life was a bit much (Yawn). All the main characters fall for Dagney and she has no trouble moving on to the next guy. Rand's
treatment of her philosophy was preachy and heavy handed.

Rating: A

Quote: "She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance."

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