Thursday, October 11, 2007

50th Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged Tomorrow

Have you heard of the book Atlas Shrugged, written by Ayn Rand?

Did you know that it's been around for 50 years? It was originally published October 12, 1957, during a time when politics and the economy were turbulent, poverty was spreading, and there were people starting to turn towards socialism as they looked for a solution.

If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. Now, it is a LONG book, over 1,000 pages, if I remember correctly, so it will take some time. But, much of the story is as important today as it was 50 years ago.

If you just can't read a 1,000 page novel, then you can hold out for the movie, set to release sometime in 2008. I'm not sure if I should be excited about it or not, as I really enjoyed the novel and can see Hollywood completely corrupting the story and the points made in it.

Or, you could read the internet Cliffs Notes on it here.

It is the story of an intelligent business woman named Dagny Taggart. She runs a transcontinental rail road in the United States, and faces difficulties when the government, because of economic problems, begins sanctions on various business, including the rail roads. In addition, her brother, the President of Taggart Rail, starts to block her efforts to improve the business. Then other highly successful and innovative business people begin to disappear. The economy continues to crumble, as does the spirit of the country. In fear of the continuing decline of the economy, the government tightens it's grip, only to see the economy spiral even further downward with it's collapse looking eminent. Then the government tries to hire the mysterious, even mythical "John Galt" to run the government. He won't, of course. Eventually he and Dagny meet up and they go into hiding with the other business minds of the U.S. After time and tribulation the government gives up its grip as it falters, and the business people in hiding are free to return.

There is a lot more to the story, of course, but this is my super quick summary of this lengthly novel.

You can read more here and here, or do a search for Atlas Shrugged.


Michael Rawdon said...

On the one hand, I sometimes feel like I should read one of Rand's novels to have some direct experience with her major works. (I've attempted a little of her nonfiction and boy howdy, it ain't good.)

On the other hand, her political philosophy (libertarianism/objectivism) is in my opinion fundamentally untenable (which you can read as "at extreme odds with my own" if you prefer), and I understand her novels are rife with it, so I suspect I'd feel like throwing it against the wall after a hundred pages or so.

All things considered, I'd rather keep reading science fiction novels. Charles Stross' new one is getting good reviews...

Doug said...

Start with hee earlier novel FOUNTAINHEAD.