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Paperback Anthem Book

ISBN: 1420952242

ISBN13: 9781420952247

Anthem

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Book Overview

Upon original submission of "Anthem" to Macmillan publishing the book was rejected on grounds that "the author does not understand socialism." For the harshest of Ayn Rand's critics this might as well be an analysis of all her work. However, for those who revere Rand's work and subscribe to her particular philosophy of objectivism this novel could be set in the present day instead of some unidentified future in which mankind has entered a dark age...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

We Are Lemmings Being Led By the Least of Us

I read this book for a graduate class in political philosophy. Ayn Rand (1905-1982), in this book written in 1937, expertly refutes collectivists schemes; such as, Communism and Fascism and shows the utter peril that collectivism poses to individual freedom. One of my favorite historians, Lord Acton, warned us in the 19th century "that socialism is slavery." This is a short novel about a man who escapes a society from which all individuality has been squeezed. Written a full decade before Orwell's "1984" Rand expertly shows how collectivism is destroying individuality and is being practiced throughout the world including the "New Deal" programs in the United States. During this time in world, history people are becoming serfs to the state as F. A. Hayek, the noted libertarian economist would put it. Rand's philosophy is really quite simple; planning is a synonym for "collectivism" and "collectivism" is a metaphor for Communism. Rand's literary style is easy to read and understand, I love how she uses the third person plural in the book until the hero finds his "ego" at which time she switches over to first person singular. This is a book that should be read by all who wonder what role the government should have in our lives. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in political philosophy.

Classic Individual versus the collective

At first glance, one might think of Huxley's 'Brave New World' but this book goes beyond just showing one course that the future of man might take. 'Anthem' shows the course our future will take if mankind loses the most important aspect of being man - the ability to recognize individuality, the sense of our uniqueness, and the 'I' in us all. Ms. Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is underlined in this one small story - a story that shows us an awful glimpse of the future and then gives us hope that we can avoid such a fate. I first read this book as a teenager, and have since read it (and all her books) dozens of times. It never loses its value.

Rand for "The Twilight Zone" fan!

So why wasn't this book made into an episode of the Twilight Zone? It is right up Sterling's alley-the individual against the state, and his right to revolt. Of course this book has elements of other dystopian literature: big government and small humans, retrograde technology, and state control of life, liberty, and sex. This seems like a rehash of the usual works ("The Iron Heel," "THX-1138," "Logan's Run, " "Harrison Bergeron"), but keep in mind it was written in 1937, five years AFTER "Brave New World," and eleven years BEFORE "1984." In fact, this book in many ways surpasses Orwell's classic. Being a novella, it is crisper, punchier, and more to the point. It has less deadwood (the sex scene are allusions), and focuses on the moral aspects of an omnipresent state that has eliminated the word "We." That is the key. Eleven years before Appleforth refused to eliminate the word "God," the World Council had eliminated the word "I." For day to day activity, that is like removing the letter "e." Throughout the narrative, which is written in first person, Equality 7-2521 keeps referring to himself as "we." This makes for awkward reading, since we do not know if he is along or with Liberty 5-3000, or anyone else. But that is point: the objective of the World Council is to eliminate the concept of individuality in order to cement control over society. You do not need a whole Newspeak dictionary if you can eliminate this one word for the vocabulary. This one small change makes all the difference. * The only drawback is that Peikoff included the galley prints of Rand's revision of the First Edition. This uselessly doubles the size of the book, but it is an important insight for fans of Rand and those who are aspiring writers. If you liked "Romantic Manifesto" and "The Art of Fiction," buy this book. You see Rand's mind in action.

An anthem to individualism

Although this book can be read in a matter of hours the impressions left will last a lifetime. Unfortunately the message is less important today than it may have been when socialism and communism were still thought as viable models of government. Ayn Rand loves the individual spirit and her writings show the passion and fears associated with a movement that would take this away. She had left Russia at an early age to come to America. Only a person that has lived in an oppressive society could write such moving books about the strength of individualism, competitive industry, the terror of collectivism. This short book is written as no other. The words and ideas are expressed so beautifully. If one needs a boost to their individual spirit, this work will definitely help
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