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Anthem by Ayn Rand is not a book or governmental treatise. Rather, as Ayn Rand herself admitted, it has neither a real plot nor a real climax. Anthem is a poem. Its final two chapters are (according to Rand) the "anthem"--the celebration of the human ego. This is not done in logical terms, but in pure emotional exultation. Rand's writing throughout the book is skilled, passionate and evocative, but in the last two chapters she really shines. For presentations of Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, in logical form, read Atlas Shrugged. For a ruthless, beautiful evocation of the emotional aspect of Rand's philosophy of egoism, read Anthem. If you have socialist leanings, or simply have always assumed the many is more important that the one, the book may disturb you greatly. If you read Anthem with the knowledge that it is a poem, your understanding of it will be enhanced and, and the very minimum, it will challenge the way you think.
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He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world he dared to love the woman of his choice. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crime for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: he had stood forth from the mindless human herd. He was a man alone.
Ayn Rand's classic tale of a future dark age of the great "We" -- in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values -- anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.About the Author:
Ayn Rand (1905–1982), was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand emigrated to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. She first achieved fame in 1943 with her novel The Fountainhead, which in 1957 was followed by her best-known work, the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged. Rand's political views, reflected in both her fiction and her theoretical work, emphasize individual rights (including property rights) and laissez-faire capitalism, enforced by a constitutionally limited government. She was a fierce opponent of all forms of collectivism and statism, including fascism, communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and promoted ethical egoism while rejecting the ethic of altruism. She considered reason to be the only means of acquiring knowledge and the most important aspect of her philosophy, stating, "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."
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