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Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Ayn Rand
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2007 Penguin Modern Classics

A towering philosophical novel that is the summation of her Objectivist philosophy, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is the saga of the enigmatic John Galt, and his ambitious plan to 'stop the motor of the world', published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Opening with the enigmatic question 'Who is John Galt?', Atlas Shrugged envisions a world where the 'men of talent' - the great innovators, producers and creators - have mysteriously disappeared. With the US economy now faltering, businesswoman Dagny Taggart is struggling to get the transcontinental railroad up and running. For her John Galt is the enemy, but as she will learn, nothing in this situation is quite as it seems. Hugely influential and grand in scope, this story of a man who stopped the motor of the world expounds Rand's controversial philosophy of Objectivism, which champions competition, creativity and human greatness.

Ayn Rand (1905-82), born Alisa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, emigrated to America with her family in January 1926, never to return to her native land. Her novel The Fountainhead was published in 1943 and eventually became a bestseller. Still occasionally working as a screenwriter, Rand moved to New York City in 1951 and published Atlas Shrugged in 1957. Her novels espoused what came to be called Objectivism, a philosophy that champions capitalism and the pre-eminence of the individual.

If you enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, you might like Rand's The Fountainhead, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'A writer of great power ... she writes brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly'

The New York Times

'Atlas Shrugged ... is a celebration of life and happiness'

Alan Greenspan

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1184 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Updated edition (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188935
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936, followed by Anthem. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Rand's unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience and maintains a lasting influence on popular thought. The fundamentals of her philosophy are set forth in such books as Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, and The Romantic Manifesto. Ayn Rand died in 1982.

(Image reproduced courtesy of The Ayn Rand® Institute)

Product Description

About the Author

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is best known for her philosophy of Objectivism and her novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"Who is John Galt?" The light was ebbing, and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Thought Provoking but Overlong 19 Mar 2009
This novel hardly needs a review to encourage someone to buy it, when you consider one point alone: It is over 50 years old and people still read it and enjoy it. It is a classic and nothing I can say can detract from that.

But it is also a product of its time, espousing a philosophy that is only internally consistent if one makes rather more assumptions than the author admits to. The characters all speak with Ayn Rand's voice, in a manner that might be familiar to readers of Galileo perhaps, but not so much with readers of a good modern novel. The characters feel unreal. The whole setting is preposterously unreal, and here is a novel that would have been better set in an alternate universe of a science fiction writer, in the manner - say - of Philip Dick's "The Man in the High Castle". Perhaps that was her intent in fact, but she gives us no anchor into the world she is describing and the action of the novel dances across an empty stage.

For anyone seeking rich characterizations, realistic interactions, or a sense of place in the narrative, you will be disappointed in this novel. The novel is merely the platform for Rand's polemic, and jumps from unbelievable to the preposterous without apology.

This being said, it was still a jolly good read. The conflict in the novel is engrossing and draws you in quickly. The first time someone defeats a "looter government", you want to applaud. When Dagny (the protaganist) completes a railway line against all the odds you can feel her exhilieration - even if you wonder how she managed it! The concept of the plot is refreshingly original, and readers will want to finish the novel.

Given its length though, finishing can be tricky - especially where it comes to a 90 page speech espousing Rand's epistemology.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This audio book is in 50 CDs 21 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Most of the reviews here seem to be about the book - not this audio book.

I have only listened to 5 minutes of the start because I bought it for my blind step-son, wound it past the initial 8 opening tracks to track 9 where the book starts with "Who is..."

The narrator has a pleasant American accent.

Atlas Shrugged is the beginning of knowledge, real knowledge, about everything, for everyone (who wants to think). After reading it, you will not be the same person and if, like me, you then continue to read "Capitalism: the unknown ideal" and "Objectivism: the philosophy of Ayn Rand" and "An introduction to Objectivism" you will become a different person... e.g. you won't use phrases such as "minimum wage" or "price freeze" etc (unless you intend to appear a fool).

Your writing will change to a more direct style.

You will be able to challenge just about everything that goes on today in "politics" with devastating logic for its lack of principle and its short-sightedness.

In short, you will be given the most powerful defence there is: Reason and Logic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely thought-provoking 9 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read the book about 35 years ago and found it gripping. I was delighted to be able to get a copy from Amazon. The author explores in great depth the effects when dynamic capitalism is attacked by rampant socialism, bringing civilisation to the brink of melt-down.
Characters are well drawn, the plot is fascinating, and even re-reading it at the age of 76 I find it hard to put down.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clarion call of a bygone era 17 Oct 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps the most significant book in post-war American literature, one which has regained popularity since the start of the economic crisis, Altas Shrugged is the embodiment of an ideal society, the ultimate vehicle for Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism. Weighing in at over 1,000 pages of tightly-packed print, it's also one of the longest novels in English literature. Is it any good?

Well, as a novel, Atlas Shrugged unfortunately falls flat, in ways that Rand's first novel, We the Living (Penguin Modern Classics), didn't. There is foremost no humanity in the novel, the characters are dismembered, dessicated mouthpieces to Rand's philosophical diatribes, with everyone fitting neatly into 'good' and 'bad' camps. Rand herself claimed that using characters as symbols was never her intention: "My characters are persons in whom certain human attributes are focused more sharply and consistently than in average human beings." But what we are left with are flimsy apparitions, lobotomised automatons fulfilling the roles required of them to extol the virtues of her philosophy. Even this is taken to extremes, with one of the proponents delivering a 60-page long theoretical speech around which the rest of the novel might well be seen as scaffolding.

To complement this set of lifeless characters is a plot which similarly confounds understanding. In an America which technologically resembles the period in which Rand was writing, yet industrially feels set in an earlier period, and borrows heavily from the Great Depression, the main events and the decisions of the characters jar heavily with what the reader knows and expects from society.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs Review
Long-winded, yes.

Divisive, unnecessarily.

Obsolete, no.

The one critical ingredient that is missing, which would restore the libertarian vision? Read more
Published 6 days ago by Daniel Rozman
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but overly long
I have read We are the Living and The Fountainhead both of which I greatly enjoyed. While Atlas Shrugged is, on the whole, a really good book, for me it was spoilt by becoming... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute classic
Ayn Rand has been my favourite author for ever - she has the courage of her convictions and Atlas Shrugged is a true masterpiece - should be required reading !
Published 29 days ago by lilyen roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Long
Wow. It has taken me two years to read this book and has made me hate reading and all literature. It is a bloody interesting read though.
Published 1 month ago by jamsandwich
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, must read
I got this copy for my 13 year old son, who read it in about 3 weeks: it was that enthralling - I guess at around 650,000 words.

It says so much that is true today.
Published 3 months ago by A. Deas
5.0 out of 5 stars Delight to turn the page
This book is as good as Fountainhead if not better. A real page turner as it races through the problems of competitive business with a personal touch of all of the people involved. Read more
Published 4 months ago by barn1e
5.0 out of 5 stars With the world on her bleeding shoulders, Rand shrugged...
Have read many comments and articles of people bashing Ayn Rand and her philosophy. I was always taking their points with a pinch of salt, because I never read anything of hers -... Read more
Published 4 months ago by T. Durden
5.0 out of 5 stars Actually a pretty gripping read
Was not expecting to like this book as I disagree with the politics, but I have to admit it is a well plotted and interesting novel.
Published 5 months ago by pavanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand we need a whole new generation to get the message!
In this overblown "Nanny State" the lessons learned are so soon forgotten we have to learn them over and over again, a great read with a simple message.
Published 5 months ago by Andrew P. Widdall
5.0 out of 5 stars Self-indulgent and deluded twaddle that unfortunately has to be read
This book has few merits in its own right. Weighing in well over 1,000 pages, it is clearly too long, and this is more the result of the author's brazen self-indulgence than any... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mark Twain 12345
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