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We the Living (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Ayn Rand , Leonard Peikoff
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

1 July 2010 Penguin Modern Classics
Depicting the daily struggle of the individual against a tyrannical dictatorship, We the Living shows the terrible impact of a revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their happiness. Kira, determined to maintain her independence and courageous in the face of starvation and poverty; Leo, upper class and paralysed by state repression; and Andrei, an idealistic communist and officer in the secret police who nonetheless wants to help his friends.

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We the Living (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Fountainhead + Anthem (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (1 July 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141193883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141193885
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,374 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) published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Through her novels and nonfiction writings, which express her unique philosophy, Objectivism, Rand maintains a lasting influence on popular thought.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut 20 Sep 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was one of my greatest literary pleasures and surprises in recent years. I had somehow managed not to read anything by this writer, even though the genre this book can be categorized in is probably my favorite, i.e., classic Russian literature. Apparently, Ayn Rand grew up in Russia, in the same period as this book (early twentieth century), and it's clear that she still had a huge Russian influence when she wrote it, because in some aspects it is almost indistinguishable from the style and atmosphere of the Russian greats. She seems to also have inherited a great deal of passion, and she excels at expressing her beliefs in noble and beautiful ways. Her characters are well-drawn, deep, realistic and diversified, and she was obviously an intelligent and perspicacious woman, who had a good grasp of the human psyche in all its varied forms. Her depiction of the incredible and impossible conditions which people had to suffer through in this period in Russia is extremely well-written, as is all the absurdity of the communist doctrine, and how it made people act and even think. I think I can say that Ayn Rand has become one of my favorite writers through one book alone, and I look forward with the greatest pleasure to read the rest of her work.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rand's Greatest! 31 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We the Living is Ayn Rand at her greatest. Her phenomenal writing talent moves the story along at a fascinating pace. The characters are totally believable. They don't become the non-human symbols of people which populate her other two masterpieces (although they're all fascinating, you can't relate to them on a human level). She manages to interweave her philosophy in bits and pieces, rather than the page-after-page rants in Atlas Shrugged. Kira, though, is a frustrating heroine to admire. While she treats Andrei like crap, she pours her life into Leo, a fascinating but brutal hero. Also, if a basic tenent of her philosophy is self-reliance, of holding no one higher than one self, one wonders why Kira becomes dependent on Leo, and sacrifices so much for him. In re-reading this masterpiece again and again, I kept thinking of how Rand was using Greta Garbo as her heroine. Also, the Italian movie made of "We the Living" is an absolute must-see for any admirer of this book. It runs over 3 hours and is amazingly faithful to the book. To think that this film was made in Italy and not in Russia is a shock. And to think it was made right at the height of World War II, with bombs exploding all over the place, makes it even more extraordinary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Troubling 30 Aug 2011
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I had such mixed feelings about this book. On the positive side, it's a wonderfully readable account of the horrors of the Communist regime in the last years of the rule of Lenin and the beginning of the Stalin regime. Rand's descriptions of St Petersburg and life in Communist Russia in the 1920s are superb (she wrote that the novel was not specifically about Russia in the 1920s, but it is in fact the historical background that gives the novel a lot of its power). Unusually for such an aggressive and dogmatic thinker, Rand the hater of Communism does manage to show us why decent men such as the sailor Stepan Timoshenko or the 'good' Communist official Andrei Taganov were drawn to socialism and Marxism, and how desolate they became when the regime fell into the hands of corrupt officials such as (in the novel) Pavel Syerov and (in reality) Stalin and his henchmen. Rand's three main characters are compelling, particularly Andrei and her heroine, Kira (though Kira occasionally becomes rather too much a mouthpiece for Rand's philosophy and ideals). Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As far as I'm concerned, this is the only real novel that Rand ever wrote. Lacking the soapbox diatribes of her later works, this novel is filled with a savage beauty, deft characterization, and beautiful poetic prose. It is the story of a young woman who must endure the turmoil of revolution and the imposition of a totalitarian state & who ultimately risks everything for freedom. Don't avoid this novel just because you don't like objectivism (this was written before she started her philosophical movement) or you'll definitely be missing out on one of the best novels of the 20th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable read 9 Jan 2014
By Joe
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read Rand's Atlas Shrugged, I enjoyed the continuity of her philosophy in this smaller and less theoretical work. The story took priority over the mind numbingly repetitive philosophical rants which were prevalent throughout Atlas shrugged. Rand's heroine, Kira, is an appealing and interesting character in this drama set in post October revolution Russia.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
One of the most depressing books I have read. Do not be put off by that remark as it is also fascinatingly interesting.
Recommend very highly
Published 4 months ago by mabel smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
Great emotional roller coaster. It made be cry several times. Fantastic book, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know the truth about life.
Published 20 months ago by peter j
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically interesting but philosophically uncompelling introduction...
"The basic cause of totalitarianism is two ideas: men's rejection of reason in favor of faith, and of self-interest in favor of self-sacrifice. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Nicholas J. R. Dougan
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire, I'm afraid
Someone I hold dear was reading Ayn Rand and speaking well of her, so i took the opportunity of obtaining a book she'd written, not expecting to have my negative opinion of this... Read more
Published on 2 July 2012 by Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent written
The book is excellent written and has a good story. It tells us about what happens if we just accept conformity and and how government power easily corrupts. Read more
Published on 25 July 2011 by Torben Jensen
1.0 out of 5 stars slightly better than Barbara Cartland
I turned to this book after reading Tobias Wolff rip the piss out of Rand in 'Old School'. I found it surprisingly entertaining stuff which bowls along nicely, but how anyone can... Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2010 by ossian
4.0 out of 5 stars Objectivism aside, it made me reflect on life after a regime change
After reading all of Ayn Rand's fiction in two months, We the Living (objectivist philosophy in its infancy) made me think of something that had always been there and never stopped... Read more
Published on 29 May 2009 by J. Casinos Molina
4.0 out of 5 stars Born out of experience
Not surprisingly, this is Ayn Rand's most realistic story since its background of the sordid results of the Communistic takeover of Russian came from her personal experience. Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2007 by J. A. Eyon
2.0 out of 5 stars The most readable of Rand's books
For those of you who excroriate Rand for one-sided hatred of Communism, let me just point out that she was born under it, and she ought to know. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 1999
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