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Publisher's Summary

"Who is John Galt?" is the immortal question posed at the beginning of Ayn Rand's masterpiece. The answer is the astonishing story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world and did.

As passionate as it is profound, Atlas Shrugged is one of the most influential novels of our time. In it, Rand dramatizes the main tenets of objectivism, her philosophy of rational selfishness. She explores the ramifications of her radical thinking in a world that penalizes human intelligence and integrity.

Part mystery, part thriller, part philosphical inquiry, part volatile love affair, Atlas Shrugged is the book that confirmed Ayn Rand as one of the most popular novelists and most respected thinkers of the 20th century.

©1957 Ayn Rand, renewed 1985 Estate of Ayn Rand (P)2000 HighBridge Company

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  • Overall

Edward Hermann's masterful performance.

Other reviews have focused in on the book itself. This review is about this specific recording.

Normally I don't listen to abridgments, but years ago the only unabridged version of Atlash Shrugged was read by a dreadfully dull speaker who made Al Gore look like Robin Williams. (There is now a new unabridged recording available here, that is most definitely NOT the older one I just described) So when this recording first came out on tape, I picked it up.

I knew Mr. Hermann as one of those actors you always see in supporting roles but never knew who he was. He was, "That Guy". Though I did remember his anti-IRS movie Harry's War as a favorite of mine.

At any rate, I picked up this abridgement (though at nearly 12 hours, it's not exactly a quick listen), and loved how Edward fleshed out the characters of Atlas Shrugged with his acting. Forever will his portrayal of the characters be the voices I hear in my head when I read the text. He shifts between differing characters, attitudes, accents, and genders beautifully.

If the forever rumored film ever comes out virtually every actor will have to measure all the actors against Hermann's performance here.

I only wish that he had made an unabridged recording.

For quite a while I'd hoped to find this version on Audible to get a digital version of the recording to replace my cassette tapes. Finally it's here and have bought it for the second time. That alone should let you know how strongly I feel about this version.

If you normally don't listen to abridged versions, thinking the guts and heart of the book get ripped out in the abridgement. That is not the case here.

If you find the sheer size of the book daunting, or the length of the unabridged reading too much, this is a great starting point from which you can then decide to read the full text yourself or listen to the unabridged version.

71 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brian
  • Bronx, NY, USA
  • 06-25-09

Great listen

I read and enjoyed The Fountainhead some years ago but I've never read Atlas Shrugged. I expected that even the abridged version of a 1,200 page book might be a little dry in parts, but that was not the case - I was captivated all the way through. Even if you don't agree with Ms. Rand's ideology you can't help but laugh at some of the scenarios presented.

The narration was also excellent - the voices of the various characters were consistent and underscored the surreal nature of some of the characters and situations.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan
  • Doral, FL, USA
  • 12-02-08

Good abridgement

I rarely listen to abridged books, but took a chance on this one. Our book club was reading it and I didn't have time to listen to the whole book. I found that I enjoyed it more than many who had read the whole book and complained of its length. I am sure that die hard Atlas Shrugged fans would cringe at the thought of cutting out any of the long commentaries, but I found this version to be a very accessible way to hear the Ayn Rand philosophy.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Powerful philosophy and writing. A must read.

This was my first exposure to Ayn Rand. I was originally going to get the unabridge version read by Christopher Hurt (52 hours) but ultimately chose this version because of time commitment, recording quality concerns and sound of Hurt's voice vs this narrator in the sound sample. I found this narrator to be spectacular. This story and the philosphy of Ayn Rand is something everyone should be exposed to even if its simply to help form your own opinion whether you agree with her or not. I think I was able to tell where some of the abridgements were made but it by no means detracts from getting the story's outline and author's philosphy across. In the future when I read it again, I will prob do the unabridged version just so I can say I have read it in full. Just an awesome, powerful book. Fransisco d'Anconia's money speech is so powerful, I rewound and listen to it 4 times before moving on. Better than reading the text which I looked up and saved when I got to the office. I can't shut up about it actually. Will certainly make you reflect on life, society and government.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Summerville, SC, USA
  • 06-27-10


This book should be required reading, or in most of our cases, rereading.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


A true American Classic, ATLAS SHRUGGED, should be required reading for all Americans. The narration was excellent and the writing was thought provoking. It is a book that will stretch your thinking and will stay with you forever.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A very good listen, although hardly life-changing

Would you consider the audio edition of Atlas Shrugged to be better than the print version?

This abridgement is a very good listen, and holds your interest throughout. I have not read or listened to the full version ??? 55+ hours is more than I can usually devote to one book. Ayn Rand makes many valid points, but unfortunately has a love for the straw man and painting people with extreme caricature who do not live up to her ideal. While I heartily recommend this to anyone, if for no other reason than to gain familiarity with what is a very popular book, I would certainly not call it life-changing, nor would I ever want to see a society built exclusively on Randian principles.

What did you like best about this story?

There are many times when it was hard to turn off the car and leave the book for a while

Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

yes - he was just as excellent reading John Adams as he was here

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alexis
  • boerne, TT, USA
  • 07-06-06

Wonderful way to finish

I could not put the book down until I was 1/2 way done with the book. It's similar to a Don Quiote read with regards to the length of the book. 1200pgs This was a great way for me to "hurry" and finish. Wonderful book and nice narration.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James
  • Independence, VA, United States
  • 01-01-10

A must read (or listen) book

This is the second time listening to this book. My first time was with the unabridged version and this time was the abridged version. There were some elements lost in the abridged version but the jest of the book was still there. The author was easy listening and I would recommend this one.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marie
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 09-01-12

Just long enough

This was my first Ayn Rand book or anything. I couldn't put this down but knowing there is a 35-55 hour unabridged version out there I was okay when it was done. The romantic parts and the long philosophical sermons had me either rolling my eyes or snickering, but other than that I really enjoyed listening to this book and I might even consider other Rand audiobooks that can be done in a days time.
The characters do get a little unbelievable as the story goes on, but the story is interesting enough to suspend that reality about what we know about human beings and the diversity of humanity, regardless of each person's personal philosophy. Also around the second half it reminded me of survivalist ITEOTWAWKI lit, minus the stockpiling.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful