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Anthem

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  103,395 Ratings  ·  6,881 Reviews
The year 2005 marks Ayn Rand's Centennial Year. Ayn Rand's classic tale of a future dark age of the great We-a world that deprives individuals of name, independence, and values-anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
ebook, 130 pages
Published April 21st 2005 by Signet Book (first published May 1938)
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Jean-baptiste It's impossible to answer. We don't know (from the book) what kind of society the heroes will build. But if we judge from other books by the same…moreIt's impossible to answer. We don't know (from the book) what kind of society the heroes will build. But if we judge from other books by the same author, the answer is yes. The author favors an extremely individualistic, inhumane society, where the law of the strongest prevails without constraints. History tells us these societies quickly disintegrate into totalitarian nightmares and people rebel...(less)
Sean Ferguson This is a required book for sophomores in my district

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Irina
Oct 22, 2007 Irina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is about human identity and freedom, and how one can degrade under the chains of collectivism.

A lot of reviews on this book, which are posted on this site, use the word “futuristic” events. I intentionally put the quotes around this word as I tend to totally disagree with the choice of this word. I used to live under socialist regime, a collectivistic society. So I can relate and completely understand the events described in the book, where the word “I” doesn’t exist, when it is a shame
...more
mark monday
a long day at work with a lot of that work left unfinished
+ happy hour drinks with colleagues, no they're more than that, with friends
+ I have to get around to reviewing a book by mutterfookin' AYN RAND of all things
=

DRUNK ЯEVIEW #?

so I've been on a hiring spree lately, just hiring people left and right because yay my work is actually getting multiple contracts and that means we can actually hire people instead of everyone doing two jobs per usual nonprofit social services type staffing patterns
...more
Pete
Nov 08, 2007 Pete rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretentious Ron Paul fans
Congrats, Aynnie! You've received my first single star rating! I read this in high school when I was reading a lot of dystopian future literature and thought it was by far the worst of the lot. Granted, if I'd read it when I was younger I might have liked it more, but saying that the even younger, less mature, more pretentious version of my teenage self would have liked something is hardly a glowing endorsement.

As such I've steered /way/ clear of her door-stoppers. I don't think you really need
...more
Zora
May 21, 2007 Zora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: oblivious egotists
Shelves: gawdawful
The real tragedy of this book is that the billions of copies that have been printed could have been more appropriately used to build homes for people in third world countries. This book could not be more self indulgent if it came with a bottle of Absynthe and a membership to MENSA. Not only is it impossibly boring to read, the characters are so one dimensional that they put V.C. Andrews to shame. Do yourself a favor: set this on fire and use the fourteen hours that it burns to read Martin's Song ...more
Kamyar
Mar 25, 2007 Kamyar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neither a science-fiction masterpiece, nor a futuristic predicament, ANTHEM is a personal reaction to the collectivist system, dominant in Soviet Union and its modernized colonies for more than seven decades. Assumed too much reactionary by leftist intellectuals for rather a long time, it depicts the apocalyptic chaos in a world ruled by collectivist thoughts in the same way that Orwell’s 1984 builds it (for instance, you can think of a world after a nuclear crisis and then come to the meaning o ...more
Conrad
Apr 23, 2007 Conrad rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely the only book by Ayn Rand I will ever need to read, unless I happen to be reincarnated as an asshole. When people start modeling their book covers after Mussolini-era Italian architecture, worry.
Danny Salinger
Jul 25, 2008 Danny Salinger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: emotionally mature people interested in a good laugh.
Shelves: half-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel
Nov 02, 2009 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Erica
Mocking, Childish Review

The ending, with the Statue of Liberty emerging from the beach, was a nice twist. "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" As it turns out, it was Earth all along.

And, yes, for those keeping score at home, I do intend to use this exact same review for every dystopian novel I read. At least I amuse myself and, really, isn't that what matters most?

Slightly Less Childish Review

Look, I fully appreciate how Ayn Rand and her family suffered at
...more
Matthew
I cannot believe I just realized now I did not have this book marked as read! I read this back in high school and loved it!

For those thinking about trying Ayn Rand, this is a good intro book considering it is only a little over 100 pages and her other popular titles (mainly talking about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) are quite daunting in their length.

Now, in the past I have had trouble reviewing Ayn Rand because she is controversial. Usually this leads to people not being able to separat
...more
Heather
Dec 26, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
This book really helped me get my self esteem back together. This was my mantra going into college.... I think it got me through a lot of BS. It is not bad to remind yourself of the following things every once in a while.....

"I am. I think. I will.

My hands . . . My spirit . . . My sky . . . My forest . . . This earth of mine. . . . What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and
...more
Jonathan
Jul 05, 2007 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the dystopian novels I have read, this one felt like one of the least inspired. The characters are one-dimensional, the story lacks context altogether, and is entirely made to support Rand's liberal philosophies. Sure, it's really short--so is Animal Farm, but that is a story with depth. Ironically, they both claim to be about Soviet Russia--or at least the author's experience with such. I hope I can claim that my reasoning for disliking this book has more to do with its content, and less ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 17, 2011 Jeffrey Keeten rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The baby version of Ayn Rand philosophy, heavy handed, unimaginative, and unfortunately assigned to my son for high school reading. I struggle with Ayn Rand because I agree with some of her points and I vehemently disagree with others. The point is that bad things happen when the left or the right gain too much control because we always seem to end up in the same place with the government oppressing individual freedoms. It is really stunning to think of the millions of copies of this book that h ...more
Lyn
Nov 06, 2011 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compared to the voluminous Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Anthem is a chapter.

But Rand may have been better adapted to writing shorter fiction because this one packs a lean, economical and hungry punch. Dystopian but told like a fable, this is a serious work that works on multiple levels. Very good.

Of the three works, I liked them in this order:

The Fountainhead
Anthem
Atlas Shrugged

description
Jill
Jul 25, 2007 Jill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ayn Rand was the most overrated writer (I can't even call her a philosopher) of the 20th century, and a great gaping asshole to boot. This book is yet another to support those facts.
TK421
Jan 26, 2012 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
First off, let me say this: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON! You have prohibited a great cover of this novel from showing here on goodreads. The cover I speak of looks like this: five ghostly apparitions stand forlornly, one is reaching toward a light that looks as if it is an exploding star; they all have chains on their wrists; the far right figure, the only woman, is tenderly reaching for the hand of the man trying to grasp the light; a pitch black background acts as a backdrop. It is the perfect cover f ...more
Amy
Feb 07, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly interesting read, Ayn Rand's book holds a captivating narrative. But as I watched the character swerve from the absolute collective to an absolute, egocentric conclusion, I ended up pitying the hero and his hapless companion for stumbling upon the wrong conclusion upon which they would base the rest of their existence. And what happened to "The Golden One" (his much less assertive true love)? All I could see was that for all the hero's self realization, his mate was merely a follower and ...more
Matt
Nov 20, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read with a lasting impression. Released over a decade before George Orwell's '1984', this is Rand's objection to the idea of Socialist unity and embraces the idea of the human ego and individualism.

Rand herself described this story as a poem, allowing the story to flow. She is able to enforce her philosophy of 'objectivism' without the challenge of a long winded novel (Atlas Shrugged, anyone?)

Although her writing in 'Anthem' is more transparent then her norm, the book still captivates an
...more
Rowena
Nov 25, 2011 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, own, dystopia
“It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil.” - Ayn Rand, Anthem

Before my Goodreads days, before I knew anything about Ayn Rand, I kept spotting her name on booklists and decided to buy a few of her books. It took me a while to learn that Rand was persona non grata.I did read Atlas Shrugged and surprisingly found it quite fascinating despite not ascribing to her philosophy of objectivism in t
...more
Becky
I should say right up front that I'm not at all familiar with Ayn Rand. I own a couple of her books, but I never read any of them until now. I never studied her in school and I'm not familiar with her philosophies, though I know that they are somewhat controversial and polarizing. And I am not a philosophical type person... so take this review with a grain of salt.

This is my first experience reading any of her work, and... I'm not really all that impressed. I got the lack of individuality theme
...more
Phyllis
Sep 04, 2007 Phyllis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ridiculous
Paul Nash
Aug 15, 2014 Paul Nash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorites. I read this for the first time when I was a senior in high school. So short...but SO much within those short pages. It really had an impact on me.

I used to read this book, without fail, EVERY New Years day. After about 10 years I stopped the tradition. I just picked this up again for about the 12 time and it still grabbed me...this book is timeless. Do yourself a favor and read this book!!

UPDATE: For the people that gave this 1 star... I believe you missed the enti
...more
Mads
Jul 01, 2007 Mads rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never quite figured out why my highschool lit teacher made this required reading. It's something I've always wondered about. Anthem struck me as too much "anti-communist." Somewhat propaganda material for the anti-communist forces. I've always been skeptical of rabid anti-communism. In the novella, the characters have serial numbers instead of names, isn't that what's happening in the capitalist system as well, with our identity cards and employee numbers?
Kat
Feb 25, 2008 Kat rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: precocious 3rd graders
Futuristic society that doesn't recognize individuals -- everyone's name is "Equality" followed by a number. Cute, huh? One day, Equality-some-number-or-another stumbles across a cave with books in it and discovers the word "I" and immediately realizes what it means even though his cultural and linguistic backgrounds have in no way equipped him to understand but whatever, it's a novella and Rand doesn't have time. Anyway, now Equality-### has an "I" and so he lives in the cave forever and is fre ...more
Debbie Zapata
Feb 08, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
We are not allowed to have our own thoughts. We are not allowed to dream, we are not allowed to BE. At age 15 we are told what we will be doing every day until we are 40, when we will enter the Home of The Useless. We are not allowed to think about anything other than what we are told to think. We ourselves are not important, the great collective WE is all that matters.

But not all of us are content to be simply part of the herd. Some of us think for ourselves even though we know it is a sin whic
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Ayn Rand is I think deserving of the appellation "an odd duck". One of her dearest ideas (and I would suppose ideals) is the the right, willingness and ability to think for one's self. But she functioned in her life with the approach, "my way or the high-way".

This book is worth reading and I think there are valuable things to take away from this little novella. But you need to be able to think. Ms. Rand is a classic case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." I'd say, read and learn, b
...more
Edward Park
Mar 14, 2007 Edward Park rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one really
Witless, styleless, and self-righteous. "1984" and "A Brave New World" are far more effective books. Although I can't say I agree that individualism is more important than collectivism, especially when people come together as a whole to do things positive in this world.
Orient
My desire to choose such, hm..., strange books is frightening me. But let's leave my daemons aside. Reading "Anthem" alerted me with an unusual narrative: "we", "our", "they" were used to describe both the narrator and others. There were no such words as "Me", "Myself" or "I" in the biggest part of the book, as in the world of the main character they are forbidden to speak. It was intriguing and of course it left some confusion in me, because at first it was hard to sort singulars and plurals. T ...more
Olivier Delaye
Jun 09, 2012 Olivier Delaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Third time around for me to read this. Originally I rated it 4 stars but I decided to upgrade it to 5. More than a novella, it is, I believe, a beautiful and lyrical poem of deep meaning that goes way beyond communism against capitalism. It's just common sense. Besides, I'm not here to talk about Ayn Rand's philosophy; I’m here to review--albeit very briefly--this work of hers which speaks to me like no other. So here we go: I simply think Anthem is a masterpiece, period.
Stuart
Anthem: Inferior to Big Three Dystopias: We, Brave New World, and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
It’s incredible the number of thematic similarities between Ayn Rand’s Anthem (1938) and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924), as well as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). While there’s no direct evidence that Ayn Rand plagiarized those earlier works, it’s undeniable the debt owed to their dystopian future societies where the individual has been completely sublimated to the
...more
Alex
When dystopian novels - or any science fiction novels - are useful, it's not because they predict the future in any exact way. It's fun when they happen to get it right, but it's beside the point. They're not about the future; they're about now. So Zamyatin's We (1921) shows a future in which individuality has been willfully destroyed in order to point out the shortcomings of the post-revolution Soviet state. Huxley's Brave New World (1931) takes Henry Ford's philosophy to its logical extreme no ...more
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Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa ...more
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“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.” 650 likes
“The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.

I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word:

"I.”
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