Ayn Rand and her philosophical school, Objectivism, have had a considerable influence upon American popular culture, yet the true story of her life and work has yet to be told. In this book, Jeff Walker debunks the cult-like following that developed around the author of the classics Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead - a cult that persists even today.
“Walker's account is well researched and clearly written,.. A solid contribution to 20th-century intellectual history.” (Library Journal)
"Comprehensive... will infuriate those who admire Rand and hearten those who hate her.” (Liberty)
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Very Informative, But Far Too Much Editorial
Informative but Biased
Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, the man does his homework, and there is some excellent reporting on this fascinating book. But the man can’t leave well enough alone, and feels the need to add his editorial everywhere to make certain individuals look bad (which is unnecessary, since the bad people already look bad enough from their own misdeeds).
The irony is not lost of a cult around someone who preaches individuality and making personal rational choices. Rand, who expects only the highest level of morally integrity of others, is involved in a secret affair with a young protege, passive aggressively pressuring their respective spouses to agree and remain silent. The story is compelling and fascinating. Yet Walker spares no opportunity to unnecessarily mudsling, particularly in the chapters on the three Rand lieutenants (Branden, Piekoff & Greenspan). Only the worst interpretations of everyone’s actions is presumed. Barbara Branden’s “The Passion of Ayn Rand” (also despised by Rand followers) is a much balanced view of what happened. Having said that though, this book is filled with an enormous amount of quality information, and a true portrayal of the cult can be gleaned. Someone could go in, remove about a quarter of the editorial, and be left with a great book. In the end, I do recommend the book, understanding that the author is no friend of the individuals involved, and the reader will have to stomach through repeated personal invectives to get to the story.
- Jonathan Hoyle