Monday, January 12, 2009

Atlas Still Shrugs

One of the greatest books ever, but one I hoped wouldn't come true.

Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.

Rand, who had come to America from Soviet Russia with striking insights into totalitarianism and the destructiveness of socialism, was already a celebrity. The left, naturally, hated her. But as recently as 1991, a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club found that readers rated "Atlas" as the second-most
influential book in their lives, behind only the Bible.


Lonnie Bruner said...

If most people think the Bible is the most influential book they've read, that's not saying much for #2.

James B. said...

Well with over 1 billion believers, regardless of what you think of the merits of Christianity you have to admit the Bible has been influential.

Zappa said...

Ayn Rand is a great philosopher but she was a terrible writer. Her prose is turgid and dense. Remove all the adverbs and adjectives and her books would be halved.

Lonnie Bruner said...

If the book is so influential to so many Americans, then why isn't Ron Paul president? He's the only candidate that espoused Rand's philosophies.

James B. said...

Well as you alluded in your first comment, second place may not be a whole lot of people. Most Americans are not influenced by any book, and they get to vote to. Also there is a big difference between a libertarian and a Libertarian. I consider myself the former, but most of the people who end up running for public office on the beliefs end up being complete kooks. I suppose in the same sense you can say that you found Das Kapital and the Jungle influential, but would not get within 50 feet of voting for a communist.