In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? And why does he fight his hardest battle not against his enemies but against the woman he loves?
Tremendous in scope and breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus, an electrifying moral defense of capitalism and free enterprise which launched an ideological movement and gained millions of loyal fans around the world.
©1985 Eugene Winick, Paul Gitlin and Leonard Peikoff; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This was very well written and narrated and the story is good. It is very long and there are many long philosophical speeches, one that is three hours long. I can't say for sure that it was the best use of my 63 hours but I am glad I listened to it.
This is my first experience with any Ayn Rand piece.
Setting aside her own political philosophy, which I find myself disagreeing with, the book is terrible. Characters are one-dimentional caricatures of what a person might actually be like. Every sentence if filled with this over-emphasized melodrama to rival the best daytime soap opera. Rand spends pages and pages saying nothing, and her passages of dialogue are just long soliloquies that she uses as an excuse to write another diatribe about the problems of socialism.
Rand should have saved her writing for op-ed pieces.
I would not recommend this book to anyone. Ever.
Great way to read great books on the go. Love Sci Fi especially Orson Scott Card and Star Wars.
No. This book was a pretentious, naive, and narrowminded look at the world.
I have not and based on this one will not in the future.
The narrator did an excellent job relating the material.
Perhaps, but I would not pay to see it.
Ayn Rand presents a view of the world that is not based in reality. While several of her assertions are interesting her presentation of a philospohy gives one paragaph meniotns during a monologue to the millitary and religion. No matter your personal opinion on these aspects of humantiy they are central to human realtions and cannot be dismissed just because you have a low opinion of them. An idealistic presentation, nothing more.
All of the characters seem to be descendants of either the tin woodsman, the scarecrow, or the cowardly lion. In this world where everyone suffers from a major personality flaw, it is no wonder that the heroes are those with brains and courage, and no heart. All of the characters suffer from verbal diarrhea. A homeless stowaway on board a train talks for an hour about the takeover of a motor plant by brain-dead descendants of the founder. He has them quoting Karl Marx (without attribution): "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." One of the main characters delivers a national radio address that would make Bill Clinton or Fidel Castro seem like models of brevity. I've enjoyed Scott Brick in many other books. In this case his characters either speak in a monotone or are constantly whining. Maybe this was just a faithful representation of Rand's characters. Before you buy this book, you should look up Ayn Rand's views on objectivism. If you have serious problems with this philosophy, you will have serious problems with this book. Personally, I find some elements of objectivism useful, but taken as a whole, the philosophy is woefully inadequate. One of the protagonists directly attacks St. Paul's treatise on love: ("The kind who never asked you for faith, hope, and charity, but offered you facts, proof, and profit."). I don't believe that my highest calling is personal pleasure. I also found Rand's foray into science fiction wanting (a motor that gets its energy from static electricity in the air?) I rated this book a 2 rather than 1 because I managed to finish all 63 hours of it. There is a narrative that has a reasonable conclusion.
This for me was a bottom three novel of all the classics I have read in my life. I barely managed to get through it by double-speeding through the interminable didactic speeches in the text. And I'm not someone who hates all long, dense novels. I'm a big fan of Henry James.
It is full of one-dimensional caricatures such as Jim Taggert and Hank Rearden. It contains a silly soap opera sex triangle (or is it a quadrangle). The book could have been twenty-five percent shorter if Ms. Rand had kept under control her main literary conceit of hyper-interpretation of her characters' facial expressions.
"Hank looked at Dagny with a smile that suggested deep cynicism. Dagny's gaze revealed only sincerity. Hank leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. As he looked up at Dagny again this time his smile indicated only great warmth. Now Dagny's eyes were narrowed in a show of mild surprise."
Etcetera, etcetera forever.
How could a serious novelist include those real-time speeches of over a half hour at the party and in the courtroom? Nobody at the party or trial ever interrupts them? And that two hour radio address near the end of the novel? Are we to believe that Mr. and Mrs. America would sit immovable at their radios listening attentively to a speech that would have been far over the head of many scholars? Did anyone who so praised this novel actually read through that entire speech attentively?
That leaves the politics. In the fifties the socialism vs. capitalism debate was very relevant and the author did an excellent job, albeit at ridiculous length, of presenting the argument for capitalism. At some future time the argument may again be relevent. This novel may even have contributed to the victory of capitalism. But capitalism has completely defeated socialism at present. Even in CHINA! Who is willing to spend sixty hours listening to an argument that they learned and mostly all accepted years ago in school?
I must, however compliment Ms. Rand on at least one element of the novel. The character of Dagny Taggert is well drawn, multi-dimensional and always interesting. If Ms. Rand had not been saddled with the task of getting her ideology across then she might have written a very decent novel.
So why is Atlas Shrugged so highly praised by so many readers and listeners? I think that it is because the readership has been conditioned to believe that this is a great novel. More than one organization of scholars has named the even more unreadable and unread "Ulysses" as the greatest English novel of the 20th century. Six days a week the Eugene O'Neill theater is standing room only, at an average ticket price of $150, to see the silly and bigoted new musical Book of Mormon. It receives its first audience ovation upon the mere opening of the curtain.
Much like the clothes in the fable "The Emperor's New Clothes," when everyone is told by other self-designated "experts" in the field that a novel or play is great then all those people do not want to appear stupid by disagreeing with their betters.
Rational Egotism, although this may be an interesting book kind of. Freedom for women through submission? "The only evil is the refusal to think." Wow philosophic drivel each conversation is a diatribe to her personal thoughts and feelings, not even subtle to be open for interruption or consideration. Soap box after soap box, leaves me lathered in boredom. What is the difference between this and fountain head? Nothing!! Except the brevity of Fountainhead? ha ha. Boo, is too strong how about MOO!!!
Good: Excellent observations and writing skill is amazing. The name of this and the other are unique.
Scott Brick did just fine with this reading but I couldn't find a single protagonist in this book with which I could readily identify or sympathize. Likewise, the "looters", etc., are treated with a very broad brush. I quit before even getting through the first 8-hour segment. You might like this book but it just didn't hook me.
If you enjoy droning, monotonous, preachy political diatribes, this is the book for you.
Where was the editor and where was the red pen?
I painfully made it through the 60 hours of this book because I always finish what I start. Some books you hope never end. I could not wait until this book was over. I just cannot believe that this book is considered a classic in American Literature. I am an avid reader and book listener, and rarely do I find a book that I feel is a waste of my time. This book was a total waste of 60 hours. The long winded, repeating themes, were tedious. The characters were unrealistic. I could not relate to any of the characters in the book because they were not like any real person that I ever met. It is ironic that the same debates that are going on at present were being discussed in the 50s as well. I do not think there is a simple solution as this book infers. Moderation of capitalism and socialism have proven to be the most prosperous for our country. Extremes on either end, do not take our country forward. People must be able to think, and prosper and get paid for their efforts, but there are certain social programs that can only be managed by government. A moderate amount of regulations are required, or we have capitalism gone wild as we just experienced. I totally do not agree with the philosophy that was presented in this book and therefore had difficulty relating to the content. I believe that to see the world as black or white is one of the main problems facing this country today. Grey is the color that all of us should be looking at because major issues require true understanding and thinking which means evaluating both sides of the story. This book is totally one sided.
All the style of William Shatner's acting. I just can't get into it, so distracting..
"John Galt would have liked it"
A minor criticism first. The first track in this audio book is an introduction with spoilers, so you should skip it if you don't want the surprise to be spoiled. The narration is clear and well acted and the sound is good.
Atlas Shrugged is two books in one: a novel and a book of philosophy. As a novel, AS is very good. It has interesting characters that change over the course of the book in ways that seem reasonable given their worldview and the world they live in. The plot also makes sense and is very effective at presenting Rand's worldview.
Many people complain about AS. I think these complaints are largely due to them disagreeing with the philosophy without having any good arguments against it. Do characters speak more eloquently than most people do in real life? There isn't a novel worth reading where that isn't true. The characters sometimes give speeches when they have something to say that requires a speech. People disapprove of this stuff because they dislike the content of the speech, not because there is a speech. My suggestion about how to approach the book is this: every time you feel outraged ask yourself whether you have a logical argument against what Rand is saying. If you don't then you should be willing to admit that you might be wrong and keep going.
So, to conclude, this audiobook is a well-narrated presentation of a challenging and dramatic novel.
"Has challenged me to rethink ideas"
For a long time I was reluctant to start reading this book, as it is a very long book, but it has been a great "read" for many hours of driving. Yes, it is long, but it has kept me interested and curious for the next turn of events.
I knew it was a political/philosophical book and it has certainly provoked my thinking - more than I really like, as I normally do not see myself as such a radical liberal as promoted here. The "looters" seem so obvious wrong in this book, that it is scary how often we see and hear their ideas promoted in real life also now in 2013. Having travelled around the world, I see countries almost purely based on the model promoted by the "looters" here - and not surprisingly these countries seem on the brink of catastrophe.
Probably the most thought provoking book I have "read" in years.
"A work of fiction, a work of philosophy."
I really can not describe how much this novel has affected me. The value this book presents is just unmatched by any other work of its kind. For me Atlas Shrugged feels like a classic that is actually a classic. Themes of the book weave together like nothing I have ever read. If you enjoy a good thought provoking book, Atlas Shrugged will change your life.
This book is l-o-o-ng – two long books riveted together. One is an ok drama, set (unusually) in industry. The other is pure Mills & Boon, its Dallas-like cast led by cool, elegant Dagny Taggart, who’s fought over by a string of brilliant, powerful men. You can’t help feeling the second was added to make the first more palatable to the masses.
Despite all that, Atlas Shrugged is really just an unremitting political sermon. Let’s face it, you’ll love this book if you’re a US Republican, hate it if you’re a US Democrat, and be bemused if you’re anyone else. For all her objectivist rhetoric, you sense that it’s Rand’s cri de coeur: “After all that trouble getting away from Stalin, I’m darned if we’re gonna have socialism over here”. Obama is the proof that it was wasted effort. Still, this is a millenarian work, so many can still take comfort in a world that never was.
Unfortunately, Rand leaves you feeling like you’ve been scolded by a Victorian aunt. But the mirthless hectoring isn’t the worst part. That’s the endless repetition. If an ad lib is worth uttering once, it’s worth repeating ad nauseam. Much of the book is taken up with speeches that sound like she’s cut-and-pasted them from essays she got good marks for at college. Her favourite rhetorical device – “I say this, you say that. I do this, you do that...” – is fine, except when you realise that all her heroic characters speak the same way, at which point you want to slap them.
Narrator Scott Brick maintains his energy levels to the bitter end, especially in distinguishing the voices of the lead characters (of both sexes). But his performance is offset by solecisms, e.g. annoying mispronunciations and the fact that he intones literally every three-part list wrongly – and Rand is inordinately fond of lists. And his desperately languid style does make him an accessory to Rand’s prolixity. But Audible proves its worth with this one: I’d nearly given up when I discovered the 2X button on my i-Phone. Oh, joy!
"Well Worth the Effort"
I was so pleased when I saw the unabridged version of Atlas Shrugged had been released on Audible. I tried to fight my way through the tiny font 1168 page paperback I bought a few years ago but I only have so much determination. This is what audiobooks were meant to be.
As many know this set in an America where socialism has gone bad. At times you do feel as though Rand is hitting you over the head with her message, but I suspected it was always going to be that way.
After a slow start Rand manages to keep my interest in the plot, although I have to admit that it's lovers of philosophy who will get the most out of this book.
Well read by Scott Brick; next up for me in the unabridged Fountainhead.
The longest book I have ever bought and definitely value for money.
This is a fantastic eye opening read. It gives the reader a whole new view of the economy today even though it was written in the late 50s. I would recommend this audio especially for those who find reading a book of this size difficult. Definitely a must have!
"Naive (and badly written) but with originality"
If the book was 500 pages instead of 1000, I would have given it five stars, because I think it would then be well worth reading. At 63 hours, it is hard to justify the time spent. In fact, you can save 62 hours of your valuable time by directing yourself to Ayn Rand's interview with US TV host Mike Wallace in 1959 (on Youtube) as she gives a much condensed account of her philosophy there. She has this one idea, which I think is original to her and a complete rejection of the moral position of the Christian church. This is that clever and hard-working people can be exploited and made to feel guilty by lazy, less endowed people. That a human's primary responsibility is to pursue one's own happiness and one should not try to 'love one's neighbour as oneself.' If you are really taken with that you can read the book. Unfortunately, in the book her solutions and working through of this philosophy are hopelessly naive and really get nowhere.
The book is a joke as a novel - terrible writing style, and painfully repetitive. There is no dialogue, just speeches - everyone (including the odd tramp) talks philosophy and politics. The characters are wooden. Superheroes and wimps. The plots contradicts itself - for example, she spends the (future) profits of the John Galt railway line three times - once mortgaging them to her brother (the owner of the parent company), once to her investors (including Hank Reardon who goes in with $1m) and then for herself as she expects to become stinking rich through her enterprise. She doesn't understand business, but she also doesn't understand politics. There is a strange lack of violence. A prosperous industrialised country (the US) is being destroyed by a wimpy group of socialists. The only 'model' I can think of is the Nazi take over of Germany. This is partly a battle of ideas, but it has to sink into brutality as sensible, rich people never give up without a fight and genuine terror. Rand sort of knows this and does have one torture scene - where the hero John Galt is VERY BRAVE and breaks into a light sweat.
Rand also has a particular idea of female sexuality which involves super-hero dominant males, and she plays this out ad nauseum throughout the book - her character being the only complete female in the book, she gets to sleep systematically with all the superhero industrialists her pigmy imagination can invent (they are all so alike, why bother?) As a woman, I could neither identify with the main character nor like her. I was ashamed of her.
"An Explanation of Our Current Folly."
Prophetic vision of our future written Sixty years ago. This is a gripping read that seems to explain today's headlines. Well read in the audible format. An excellent explanation of why ,"There is no free lunch."
I first read this book many years ago, and have been checking Audible for the last three years, waiting for it to come out on audio. I forgot a lot of the plot of this book, but I absolutely love it. Ayn Rand was a genius!
"Atlas Shrugged - 30th Edition complete with extras"
A titan of a book, by any standards, would need to give it a while before revisiting, will be trying The Fountainhead though.
Narration perfectly executed by Scott Brick.
Brick's take on all the characters is excellent, but his Hank Rearden was the best.
Such a great book, narrated so well, with notes from the author etc thrown in for good measure.
One of the best purchases I've made on Audible.
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