In my prowlings around the internet, I go to a lot of places, The National Review being one of them. They have re-run a review of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand written in 1957 by Whitiker Chambers and invited comment. I read the book back in college along with The Fountainhead when budding feminist Ann Gail was raving about Ms. Rand. I read The Fountainhead first or I would never have finished Atlas Shrugged. Anyway, I still remember my feelings about Atlas Shrugged after reading it 19 years ago, so I dashed off my own commentary to be added - and amazingly enough they did. I guess the online version of The National Review has no standards. You can find the whole ball of wax right here.

Atlas Shrugged is a terrible book.

As a novel, it is awful, running on forever in a fantasy land of unbelievable plot and unbelievable characterization. Who is John Galt? Who cares after 250 pages of this mind numbing rot, let alone the 1000 plus you have to wade through to get to the end. Ms. Rand obviously had little idea of the geography or economy of the United States.

As a polemic, it is insulting, pounding every point in by tedious repetition until your head aches. You want to learn about a real hero - read a biography of Benjamin Franklin. There was a man who excelled at so many fields and who did so much for humanity it puts the ersatz heroes of Atlas Shrugged to shame. If you want to read a good polemic then read The Road to Serfdom by Hayek - at a quarter of the size and 100 times the content it provides 400 times more value, and your head won't ache when you're done.

The premise of Atlas Shrugged isn't liberty for all, but licence for the few ubermen who singlehandedly shower the rest of us with the benefits of their superiority. What a crock. The point of liberty, the rule of law, the free market is that we all have dreams, we all can contribute, and those comprise the system to allow us to do so. It isn't so that a few titans can be free to do as they will and provide for the teeming masses of us mere mortals.

She was wrong about Modern Architecture, too.

Kevin Murphy
St. Louis, MO.

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This page last updated 14 March 1999

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