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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.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Geoffrey
  • Rockford, TN, United States
  • 08-14-08

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.

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Larry
  • Lebanon, IN, United States
  • 11-17-11

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 01-06-16

A remarkable semi-biographical novel!

Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, who wrote using the pen name Ayn Rand, arrived in the US from Russia at age 26 in 1931 unable to speak English. A mere five years later she wrote her first novel in English titled We the Living. The story is of a young woman's life under communism and ultimately he escape from the USSR to freedom. The most important aspects of the book are about the deterioration of the lives of middle class Russians after the communists took control in 1917. Alisa Rosenbaum not only wrote using the pen name Ayn Rand but lived using that name.

We the Living is a good and well written book, but it does not measure up to the quality of her later works of fiction. It is still well worth an audible credit.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Buy a different narration.

Many sections were so rushed it was difficult to picture the scene. These portions were fairly short though. The performance as a whole wasn't bad.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Firestone, CO, United States
  • 05-23-11

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

  • Overall

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • W G
  • Lynwood, WA, Australia
  • 05-04-09

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

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  • dan
  • lower burrell, PA, United States
  • 03-05-14

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!<br/>Still a huge fan. But if you're new to Rand, start with Fountain Head or Atlas Shrugged.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Just as good as Rand's other books

I have read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead before I found this book and the three of them fit together perfectly. Anyone that has enjoyed any of Rand's book should read this one too.
The narrator does a good job and does not distract from the story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 06-22-11

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).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Graziano B.
  • 08-17-17

Rand's best novel

Nothing can demonstrate the grandeur of life so much as it's struggle against servitude. We the living tells the story of Kira, a shining light that refuses to be put out by the suffocating invasions of every aspects of one's life perpetrated by communism. More so than in Rand's other novels, we the living managed to tell this story in a complex, human, and subtle way. Long and overly repetitive lip service to her philosophy is substituted by a gripping narrative punctuated by terse insights into the Soviet union. Put down 1984, whose villains are too obviously evil, and pick up We The Living, which will show you how evil never presents itself as such.

  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 06-28-08

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful