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We the Living | [Ayn Rand]

We the Living

We the Living portrays the impact of the Russian Revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives. At its center is a girl whose passionate love is her fortress against the cruelty and oppression of a totalitarian state. Rand said of this book: "It is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write."
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Publisher's Summary

We the Living portrays the impact of the Russian Revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives. At its center is a girl whose passionate love is her fortress against the cruelty and oppression of a totalitarian state. Rand said of this book: "It is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write."

©1936 Ayn Rand; (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (398 )
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4.1 (193 )
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  •  
    Geoffrey Rockford, TN, United States 08-14-08
    Geoffrey Rockford, TN, United States 08-14-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Emotionally intense, historically authentic"

    Just days before twenty-one year old Alisa Rosenbaum escaped Leninist Russia to sail for the United States, she was enjoined by a friend to tell the world that "Russia is a huge cemetery and we are all dying." We The Living, by that same young emigre, writing now in English and calling herself Ayn Rand, was the result. It is the most accurate portrayal of life in the late workers' paradise ever committed to words. It is also a compelling work of art, and harbinger of the greatness to come.

    Though the least explicitly philosophic of Ayn Rand's novels, We The Living was for me, because of its emotional intensity, the most difficult to read. Kira's relationships with Leo and Andre, her perseverance vis-a-vis the hopelessness of her situation--her struggle to breathe in a wretchedly airless environment--were nearly more than I could bear.

    Listen, cry, learn, and rejoice. If you are not already familiar with the works of Ayn Rand, this is a marvelous place to begin.

    30 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy A Lemley Thomson, GA USA 02-11-10
    Amy A Lemley Thomson, GA USA 02-11-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Intense"

    I have sort of a love/hate relationship with this book. It is so intense and maddening, although I believe it is an accurate portrayal of Russia during the post Bolshevik Revolution times. Ayn Rand was such a powerful writer. After finishing this book I had to get a lighter one.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin New York, New York 06-17-14
    Martin New York, New York 06-17-14 Member Since 2006

    Mr Humph

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    "Great story but the audio quality is patchy.."

    I love Ayn Rand's writing. This book (like many of her others) is classic.

    This audiobook lay dormant in my library for quite a while as the sound quality was not great. It sounds like it was recorded on magnetic tape which became damaged or has aged prematurely. They should really re-record it the way they did Atlas Shrugged. It would be fantastic if Scott Brick narrated it like he did for that book.

    If you are sensitive to sound quality you might find this harder to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Lebanon, IN, United States 11-17-11
    Larry Lebanon, IN, United States 11-17-11
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    "The first book was her best literary work"

    Ayn Rand stands head and shoulders above most authors in her ideology. She understood what makes the world work-best. As to literature We The Living was her best effort. I feel that because she lived most of it, the story was easy to write because it was her story.
    Mary Woods reading of Ayn Rand's novel/bio was marvelous with her accent just where it should be and still be easy listening, Great job all around on this one.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Firestone, CO, United States 05-23-11
    Jennifer Firestone, CO, United States 05-23-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Great novel, bad production"

    This novel is one of my favorites. Rand was able to depict the despair of living under a totalitarian regime very well. Coming from Soviet Russia myself, I can say that not many things have changed from birth to collapse of the Communist State.

    The only thing I didn't like was the production. The narrator reads without any emphasis, and at times way too fast. One will probably get more out of reading it, rather than listening to this production.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W G Lynwood, WA, Australia 05-04-09
    W G Lynwood, WA, Australia 05-04-09
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    "Great Book"

    Ayn Rand's first novel, and definitely not a disappointment. A great person versus state story that kept me interested.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 05-24-14
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 05-24-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Early Rand"
    Where does We the Living rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I liked it, not in my top 10 or anything but I enjoyed it mostly out of being a fan of Ayn Rand.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kira


    What about Mary Woods’s performance did you like?

    She had a nice voice and did a good job differentiating voices enough without sounding silly.


    Who was the most memorable character of We the Living and why?

    Probably Leo or Comrade Taganov, just rich characters who have a lot of action in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    As much as I love Ayn Rand and the works of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, We the Living is considerably less impressive. While its good enough and having read her other works understanding her philosophy, the budding notions presented in this book are less developed but still stand out. I wont give too much of a spoiler here despite it involving the end of the book. I found particular substance in the books closing scenes- to think about what the characters stood for and what the consequential actions each say are extremely meaningful and beautifully punctuate the books theme and message. Very well done indeed. If you love Rand, consider this. If you don't know Rand, start somewhere else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Beal California 03-29-14
    David Beal California 03-29-14 Member Since 2013

    Davey B

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    "Not like anything I've read"
    Which character – as performed by Mary Woods – was your favorite?

    The voice matched exactly what I would expect Kira to sound like. But all the voices were well done.


    Who was the most memorable character of We the Living and why?

    I found Andre to be the most memorable in that he developed and grew more through out the book than anyone else.


    Any additional comments?

    A strong recommendation the all listen to the forward as written by Ayn in 1958. It does much to give you understanding about her, as well as her reasons and desires in writing this book. The characters in the book are very real and very believable and I believe you'll find it hard to not both love and hate many of the prime characters. Often loving and hating them at the same time, you can experience their feelings at an exceptional depth.

    (a little bit of a spoiler here so read at your own risk)

    I think most westerners, myself included, will find the resolutions within the book a little hard to take and a bit unsettling, but I understand the necessity and the value of the reality expressed. Written any other way it would not be exceptional book it is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marina Seal Beach, CA, United States 03-25-14
    Marina Seal Beach, CA, United States 03-25-14

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A good listen...An important listen."
    What made the experience of listening to We the Living the most enjoyable?

    All the character voices she does - Impressive! Also, the realism of the story...understanding what life was really like in St. Petersburg/Petrograd, Russia. How would some of us Americans live and cope under the circumstances? Imagining America under a communist government with such oppression is scary.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dan lower burrell, PA, United States 03-05-14
    dan lower burrell, PA, United States 03-05-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Didn't connect like I did with her other books"
    What did you like best about We the Living? What did you like least?

    Classic Ayn Rand themes. The look into Russian past was fascinating. The story moved a lot slower than with Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged for me. I found it much easier to connect with Howard Roark and Hank Rearden and Dagney Taggart. But the story was solid and eye opening. I can see the progression of her beliefs through her writings. Calling this the 'closet thing to a biography I have ever written', you can definitely see where her believe in the Individual above all else came from!
    Still a huge fan. But if you're new to Rand, start with Fountain Head or Atlas Shrugged.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • John
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    6/22/11
    Overall
    "Petrograd smelt of carbolic acid"

    You don’t have to buy into Rand’s philosophy to enjoy this book. An engaging story and interesting portrait of the decay of Bolshevism in the 1920s. Excellent narration – although I can imagine that some may not take to the voice (so listen to the audio sample).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom
    6/28/08
    Overall
    "Objectivism - the fountainhead of folly"

    Ayn Rand is a made up name - Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, Objectivism is a made up philosophy - Subjectivism of the highest order, actually. Lingering descriptions of what a pretty girl Kira Argounova is and endless details as to what she and the other female characters are wearing at any given point in the 'action,' seem to be the basis for this paeān to early twentieth century American capitalism. How ironic that the wild west unfettered capitalism that was unleashed on the post-Mikhail Gorbachev Soviet bloc by Reagan's proto-neo-con zealots is now blowing a wintery chill back through the pipelines of Gazprom. Rand's anti-totalitarian dream extends no further than a pair of silk stockings and the ability to manipulate one-dimensional males. Compare and contrast this one with Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' - worthy in aims but lacking in literary quality. Great to read around and nice to have the authentic voice but really, Miss Rand, there's more to life than French lingerie.

    2 of 9 people found this review helpful
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