Ayn Rand is best known as the author of the perennially bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Altogether, more than 12 million copies of the two novels have been sold in the United States. The books have attracted three generations of readers, shaped the foundation of the Libertarian movement, and influenced White House economic policies throughout the Reagan years and beyond. A passionate advocate of laissez-faire capitalism and individual rights, Rand remains a powerful force in the political perceptions of Americans today. Yet twenty-five years after her death, her readers know little about her life.
In this seminal biography, Anne C. Heller traces the controversial author’s life from her childhood in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution to her years as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the publication of her blockbuster novels, and the rise and fall of the cult that formed around her in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout, Heller reveals previously unknown facts about Rand’s history and looks at Rand with new research and a fresh perspective.
Based on original research in Russia, dozens of interviews with Rand’s acquaintances and former acolytes, and previously unexamined archives of tapes and letters, AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE is a comprehensive and eye-opening portrait of one of the most significant and improbable figures of the twentieth century.
From the Hardcover edition.
In a 1991 poll Americans listed the Bible as the most influential book in their lives and Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED as the second. Her novels continue to be massive bestsellers and her philosophy of Objectivism continues to be a driving force for many conservative advocates of the free-market. Her books and ideas are frequently revered or vilified, yet despite her enormous influence, AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE is the first objective clear-sighted portrait of the remarkable women, neither a hagiography nor a condemnation. Using a wealth of new information (including interviews with Rand's long-time lover, members of her inner circle of disciples, and recently released archive material from Russia) Anne C. Heller vividly depicts a fierce intelligent and driven woman whose unrelenting ideology left a wake of both damaged and reverent individuals. Of particular interest is Heller's insights into how Rand's philosophy grew out of her and her family's hardships during the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism. Born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, Rand was a brilliant but ungainly girl who arrived in the United States at the age of 21, convinced of her future greatness. One cannot help but be impressed by the force of Rand's willpower and drive--reminiscent of her great individualistic heroes--while also witnessing the damage done by her unbendable beliefs. A much need contribution to our understanding of Rand as a person and author, AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE helps readers see the long-lasting influence of her personality and writing. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.
- Biography + Autobiography
- October 19, 2010
- October 19, 2010
- Anne C. Heller