Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand
At last, Ayn Rand's masterpiece is available to her millions of loyal readers in trade paperback. 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. Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit. Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club


Reviewed: 2018-12-26
This may be the most terrifying book I have ever read. It's definitely one of the hardest books I've ever read. The difficulty and the terror stem from the same place: the world Rand is describing very closely parallels our current reality.
As I read, I kept thinking, "Surely, they've hit rock bottom here. They won't be able to continue. Maybe the rest of the book is about rebuilding."

In criticism:
Francisco makes a speech, early on, that is entirely unbelievable in length. John makes a speech that is 5% of the book or, approximately, 58 pages long. Both of these speeches were like a synopses of the book without characters or plot. I could not finish John's speech and wound up searching for the end quote that signified its end. The rest of the book is great, but these speeches are way too heavy handed.
Also! Dagny is, apparently, the only woman in the world with a brain and spirit worth loving. A nod is made to a couple of others but they're just a nod to the possibility of women being worthwhile contributors. They are there almost purely to limit the size of Dagny's harem of admirers.

It's a massive book and it's not the easiest read. It is worth the time and effort and every thinking person should read it.
Reviewed: 2017-04-02
I liked this book more than any other book that I've rated as 4 stars. The characters, settings, and plotlines pulled me in and kept me coming back for more. The philosophy behind it was my favorite aspect, however, and was the reason I read the book in the first place.
During the first half of the book, I thought, "Wow! Objectivism is a great philosophy that emphasizes personal effort and maximum return on effort! And you have to be honest with yourself about everything and ponder the reasons you do things and not uphold stupid societal strictures if you don't believe in them!"
And then in the second half of the book, I thought, "Wow! None of objectivism's representative heroes have the ability to feel anything, unless they are together reveling in each other's selfishness! This philosophy fails to recognize the personal return to charity, and is more anarcho-capitalism than individualism!"
Basically I got sick of having people defined as binary, having every heroic moment accompanied by a lack of emotion, having women unable to enjoy relationships unless they feel like a male's sex servant, and of philosophers entirely abandoning those who don't perfectly share their belief.
The story admittedly jumps randomly to new focuses (e.g. finding the engine, the hobo on the train working at 20th Century, being close to an airport when the train gets stuck) and the discontinuity gets a bit old. Some characters exist only to emphasize a belief without necessarily being important to the story (Cheryl, Stadler). Galt's radio speech was pretty incomprehensible, and I had a hard time focusing on it.

But overlooking those obvious flaws, I did enjoy this book. A lot. It combines my love of philosophy, books, and controversial ideas in a very good package. But I can't let the story's discontinuity and repetitive characterizations get by without a star deduction.
Item Posts
@chrisquick completed #atlasshrugged... on 2013-08-10
@enlightenmental completed #atlasshrugged... on 2016-02-09
@enlightenmental began #atlasshrugged... on 2015-10-09