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My Years with Ayn Rand: The Truth Behind the Myths Paperback – 26 Feb 1999
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"Dr. Branden′s account of his complex relationship with the literary great . . . allows us a fascinating glimpse into the passions of their lives––intellectual and personal. . . . [It is] not only a memoir of a mythic woman . . . but a chronicle of a stirring intellectual commitment to a political morality that indivudally could only fail." (NAPRA ReView)
"What a story! It′s heroic, romantic, deadly, horrifying, tender–and I couldn′t put it down." (George Leonard, author of The Transformation and Education and Education and Ecstasy)
"Relentlessly revealing. . . the myth of Ayn Rand gives way to a full–sized portrait in contrasting colors, appealing and appalling, potent and paradoxical. . . . it takes a special kind of nerve to write such a book." (Norman Cousins, author of Head First and The Healing Heart)
"Non–stop theater. All the ingredients are there: conflict, colorful characters, suspense, and a Greek inevitability of tragedy born of hubris. There′s a nexus of sex nearly dizzying in its permutations." (Dale Wasserman, playwright and screenwriter, Man of La Mancha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo′s Nest)
"Branden plots his relationship with Rand from a psychological vantage point, with devastatingly articulate results. . . . A fascinating portrait of Rand and her disciples." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Do you know my greatest reward for ′The Fountainhead?′ You." (Ayn Rand to Nathaniel Branden)
From the Inside Flap
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century-its popular impact ranked second only to the Bible in a major poll. Millions know Rand as one of this century's great thinkers, writers, and philosophers, yet much about the private Ayn Rand remains shrouded in mystery. Who was Ayn Rand? My Years with Ayn Rand charts the course of the clandestine, tempestuous relationship between the enigmatic author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and Nathaniel Branden-her young disciple and future pioneer of the self-esteem movement. In this book, discover the real Ayn Rand through the eyes of the man who became her soul mate and shared her passions and philosophical ideals. Their tragic and tumultuous love story began with a letter written by Branden as an admiring teenage fan and Anded, more than twenty years later, with accusations of betrayal and bitter recriminations. My Years with Ayn Rand paints an unforgettable portrait of Ayn Rand-whose ideas, even today, can generate a maelstrom of controversy. Previous Praise for Nathaniel Branden"Relentlessly revealing. . . the myth of Ayn Rand gives way to a full-sized portrait in contrasting colors, appealing and appalling, potent and paradoxical. . . . it takes a special kind of nerve to write such a book."--Norman Cousins, author of Head First and The Healing Heart"Non-stop theater. All the ingredients are there: conflict, colorful characters, suspense, and a Greek inevitability of tragedy born of hubris. There's a nexus of sex nearly dizzying in its permutations."--Dale Wasserman, playwright and screenwriter, Man of La Mancha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"Branden plots his relationship with Rand from a psychological vantage point, with devastatingly articulate results. . . . A fascinating portrait of Rand and her disciples."--Kirkus Reviews" What a story! It's heroic, romantic, deadly, horrifying, tender-and I couldn't put it down."--George Leonard, aSee all Product Description
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Primarily, the book is altered so that Branden's associates from the period covered by the book are shown in somewhat more positive light. Allan Blumenthal, for instance, is no longer a quite conventional mama's boy; Barbara Branden is less clingy and shows up as a more autonomous individual. Her numerous affairs reported in the first edition are trimmed to a much smaller number.
Surprisingly, Barbara Branden is reported to have developed the concept 'psycho-epistemology', perhaps the key to Rand's aesthetics. This single fact should end any notion that Objectivism is all the ideas that Ayn Rand came up with and nothing else.
Nathaniel Branden is less self-aggrandizing in this edition, and he takes more of the blame for his failed first marriage and the personal disaster for many Objectivists which he helped cause. The portrait of Ayn Rand herself is little changed, which would make us wonder why bother with the second edition until we remember that this is not a biography of Rand but a memoir by Branden.
All in all, the book tells a fascinating story, and tells it rather better and more fairly than the first edition. But the changes, while interesting, are generally not radical and readers of the first edition should bear this in mind before they buy the current version. Those who have not read the first edition should definitely find this book of interest; it tells the very self-conscious story of a man, three women, loves of people, ideas, and their interrelationships, and how a something like a cult is formed and destroyed.
Those familiar with the basic outlines of Nathaniel Branden's eventful life will also know: that he and Ayn Rand met and became friends when he was going on 20 and she was 45; that some years later they began an affair with the consent of their respective spouses; that the dramatic end of their personal and professional relationship in 1968 had explosive effects for the entire Objectivist community.
Branden has previously told the story of his life and relationship with Ayn Rand in the controversial memoir *Judgment Day* (1989). The present memoir is an extensively revised and updated version of the earlier book. Even readers who have read (and reread) *Judgment Day* will be fascinated by the new insights to be gleaned. *My Years with Ayn Rand* is as spellbindingly written as the previous work but it presents a richer, more complete account.
This is a not-to-be-missed by anyone interested in Objectivism -- or simply interested in the engrossing story of some remarkable people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Either the contents of this book are basically true, in which case Rand was not the model of 'objectivity' she pretended to be, or they are false, in which case the Brandens - two... Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 1999
I loved "Judgment Day" and I love "My Years with Ayn Rand" much more. The new book has such honesty, benevolence, and dignity. Read morePublished on 22 July 1999
Intellectual pleasure at its best. I had alot of fun reading this book. It has many twists and turns about the author's experiences with Ayn Rand. Read morePublished on 17 July 1999
After reading this interesting memoir regarding Ayn Rand, I am confirmed in my opinion that she simply didn't measure up to the standards of human decency. Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 1999
The theme that I found over and over again throughout the relationship between Rand and Branden is the almost dual roles Rand played in Branden's life before the split. Read morePublished on 26 April 1999
My impression prior to reading this book, from reading e.g. Barbara Branden's "Passion", was that Branden was vilified by many members of the Collective solely on Rand's... Read morePublished on 15 April 1999
Nathaniel Branden has reworked his memoir of his 20 years of romancing the mind of Ayn Rand -- before, during, and after he knew her on a daily and intimate basis -- into a more... Read morePublished on 9 April 1999
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