Ayn Rand is best known as the author of the perennially bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Altogether, more than 12 million copies of the two novels have been sold in the United States. The books have attracted three generations of readers, shaped the foundation of the Libertarian movement, and influenced White House economic policies throughout the Reagan years and beyond. A passionate advocate of laissez-faire capitalism and individual rights, Rand remains a powerful force in the political perceptions of Americans today. Yet twenty-five years after her death, her readers know little about her life.
In this seminal biography, Anne C. Heller traces the controversial author's life from her childhood in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution to her years as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the publication of her blockbuster novels, and the rise and fall of the cult that formed around her in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout, Heller reveals previously unknown facts about Rand's history and looks at Rand with new research and a fresh perspective.
Based on original research in Russia, dozens of interviews with Rand's acquaintances and former acolytes, and previously unexamined archives of tapes and letters, AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE is a comprehensive and eye-opening portrait of one of the most significant and improbable figures of the twentieth century.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum was born to Jewish parents in 1905 Russia. Ayn Rand left Russia in 1926 for America and founded her anticollectivist philosophy, Objectivism, a philosophy of free market capitalism and the pursuit of self-interest as a moral good. Depressive, pill-taking, chain-smoking and manipulative, Rand's life was defined by a longtime Sunset Boulevard-like affair with Nathaniel Branden, who went on to start the self-esteem movement. At the same time, the combustible Rand was married to a passive man with matinee-idol looks. Magazine editor and journalist Heller competently describes Rand's feuds with William F. Buckley and with her sister, who had remained in the U.S.S.R., and the more courtly relationship Rand had with publisher Bennett Cerf. This objective account of the Objectivist Rand will interest her still large and devoted readership. Photos. (Nov. 3)
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October 25, 2009
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