Sunday 5 July 2015

Book Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Title: Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: 2005 (1957)
Pages: 1168
Format: E-Book
Genre: Fiction /Treatise
Source: Gift
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This 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? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.

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

You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions.

This is a mystery story, not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I've been wondering how many stars to give Atlas Shrugged and even now I'm not certain I won't change my mind tomorrow. It took me a long time to read this book. It is lengthy and verbose, and other books came in to which I had to give preference for reviews etc. But finally I am finished. Rand is not the best writer, either in terms of dialogue or characterisation, and her books tend to be more about expounding her philosophical and political ideals than the plot. That said, there is a certain magnetism about them that keeps me reading until the end. Often it is because of one character who holds my attention, and in this case that was Dagny Taggart. I had to read on to the end to see what would happen to her. If you read this though, watch out for the speech by John Galt. That guy can really talk... and talk... and talk.

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