Stephen's Reviews > Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
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Dec 04, 2013

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bookshelves: classics, audiobook, 1954-1969, science-fiction, literature, classics-americas, polly-sighs-and-pubic-policy, philosophy, world-in-the-shitter, epic
Read from January 31 to April 10, 2011

A review so ambitious, so controversial, so staggeringly over-hyped unique that it has to be seen in order to be read. A review many minutes in the writing (and several hours in the photo finding). A review so important that one Dr. Hyperbole had this to say upon seeing it.... Photobucket

This is the review most people didn’t even know they wanted to read. A review of one of the most talked about and polarizing classics of the 20th century…ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand.

This review will pull no punches as it discusses all aspects of the novel and includes opinions that run the gamut from 5 stars of love to seething cauldron's of 1 star rage...and everything in between. Here is just a sampling of some of the views you can expect to find in the review experts are already calling “longer and more repetitive than the novel itself”:

“This is a book that proudly celebrates both the individual and the potential for greatness inside all of us. It is a book of new and radical ideas being passionately expressed by someone who believes deeply in them. Whether you agree or disagree whole-heartedly or belong somewhere in the middle, it's right and proper to respect the passion and conviction that Ms. Rand feels for her subject.”
---Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, FMR Governor,
Imperial Outlands Region in a Galaxy Far, Far Away


“Regardless of how you feel personally about the ideas expressed in this book, it seems clear and not subject to serious debate that the philosophy of objectivism created by Rand added an entirely new voice to the landscape of philosophical, economic and political debate. Call it controversial, call it inflammatory, even call it wrong, but it is impossible to call it irrelevant. There is little question that as a book of ideas, Atlas Shrugged is a monumental book and deserves its place as one of the most important books of the 20th Century...Ain't I right there Normie.”
---Cliff Calvin, Postman, Boston, MA


At the far other end of the spectrum are those that thought Atlas Shrugged was 1200 pages of mind-numbing, bowel churning, elitist tripe. Among these detractors was one P. Griffin from Quohog, RI, who had this to say:

Unfortunately, when pressed for specifics or examples to support his opinion, Mr Griffin screamed and ran away to hide

Also not a fan was one Jules Winnfield, an independent contractor from, according to him, “The Valley of Death” who had real problems with Rand’s prose which he found clunky and very unpolished. He summed up his opinion about Rand's writing ability as follows: Photobucket

Back on the positive side, you will hear from more people who found Rand’s magnus opus to be powerful and something definitely worth reading......

“Ayn Rand was born in Russia and grew up witnessing first hand the failings of collectivism as well as many of its more brutal aspects enforced in the former U.S.S.R. Therefore, her passionate embrace of the “free market” and capitalism and the idea of rewarding the individual for excellence is certainly understandable in light of her origins. It is also true that Rand’s depiction of a dystopian future in which individual achievement and have been replaced by collectivism and distribution according to need has more than just passing relevance today. Whether or not you believe her vision is skewed or biased, there is still much that her book can add to the debate on the proper role of government in the life of the individual.”
---Gabe Kotter, School teacher, James Buchanan High School, Brooklyn, NY

“In my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT lesson that can be taken from Atlas Shrugged is the concept that Rich, successful people are not evil simply because they are wealthy and are certainly not the enemy of the poor or the disadvantaged. There are GOOD and BAD in every economic layer in society and this bias just seems extremely destructive.***I know that wealthy people are an easy target for humor but when people actually believe that being wealthy makes someone “less moral” or “less good” it starts to sound eerily similar to when people used to say about other groups “There just not like us, there different.” Sorry, I can’t buy into that. People are people and everyone is entitled to being judged for who they are.”
---Mr. Hankey (aka The Christmas Poo) Photobucket

“Every person that ever gave me a job, an opportunity or the means to feed myself and provide for my family was WEALTHY by most peoples standards. Walk around your house and pick up the products that you use every day and that make your life easier and ask yourself how many of them were made by people who made a lot of money off them (my guess is most of them). The world we be a lot worse off without the inventors, the builders and the risk takers and they deserve our thanks and not our animosity....Nanu Nanu”
---Mork, Ambassador from the Planet of Ork
Of course, the negative reviews don't stop with the 1 star commentators. There were additional negative reactions raised about Atlas Shrugged and this review promises to tackle them in depth. One very controversial subject deals with attacks on Ayn Rands views on sexuality which are certainly on display in the novel. Comments about the sexual relationships described in the story being “odd” or “freaky” are not uncommon and some go so far as to accuse Rand of having a “rape fantasy fetish.” A. Powers from Great Britain, who was unable to divulge his exact occupation actually attacked Rand personally with this very blunt reaction to Atlas Shrugged’s sexual content.

A second, less controversial view but one that is probably far more relevant to a true analysis of this work is Rand’s consistent use of blatant and obvious “straw men” to support her argument. Many people have argued that for someone so passionate about her beliefs who is absolutely convinced of the rightness of her convictions, she sure felt the need to stock the book with a lot of easily dispatched "straw man” characters.

As I Amin from Uganda put it: “This was probably my biggest problem with the book. If [Rand] is so sure that her arguments are valid and correct, then why doesn’t she have the Rand characters (i.e., those espousing her opinions) debate against the best arguments that the ‘other side’ has to offer. Instead she has peopled her expository novel with ‘over the top’ caricatures of the socialist system so that they can easily tear them down. This does nothing but preach to the converted and has all the persuasive power of a political attack ad.”

Or, put another way, “I think there is a compelling debate in there somewhere. Unfortunately, Rand, Dum Dum that she is, decided to load the other side’s quiver with nothing but wet noodles and so comes off looking scared of a true debate.”
--Gazoo, Intergalactic Talking Head
Another cause of very negative reactions stems from the incredible amount of repetition and redundancy used by Rand in the stating of her opinions. State your opinion once and that is laudable. If it is overly complex, maybe you repeat it a second, even a third time. However, in a 1200 page novel when you have to listen to the EXACT SAME POINT made 10, 20 or even 30 times, you can cause your audience to become very irate and disenchanted. One disgruntled reader stopped reading the novel halfway through and said simply........


Finally, you will here from those who found both positive and negative qualities in Rand’s novel. Many found the prose less than noteworthy but were very taken by the plot. Others liked the characters but had issues with the world-building (or lack thereof) in Rand’s tale. Still others liked the passion of Rand's convictions but found her message lost in a myriad of meandering speeches.
All of these issues and much more will be tackled in this comprehensive, detailed review of Rand’s controversial classic. While not to be released until mid-summer 2012, early buzz is already calling this review “A review of Atlas Shrugged.” We only hope we can live up to those expectations. Until then.........
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Comments <span class="mediumText">(showing 1-31)</span>

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message 31: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Brave, crazy man :)

Stephen You have no idea. I listened to the audiobook (all 53 hours of it). Finished it last week but it is going to take me a while to review as I am still trying to shove my brains back in my head. Definitely needed a light read after this one but couldn't find my copy of Garfield Takes the Cake.

message 29: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Stephen wrote: "You have no idea. I listened to the audiobook (all 53 hours of it). Finished it last week but it is going to take me a while to review as I am still trying to shove my brains back in my head. Defin..."

I believe Dorthy Parker (?) said of this book...This is not a book to be set aside lightly, it is to be thrown with great force.

Stephen Given how much the book weighs, throwing in with great force would be a tremendous feat.

message 27: by TK421 (new)

TK421 I just removed this from my reading list. Something about it just bugs me.

Stephen I am still working on my review (I finished this one a while ago). I will say that there are parts I really liked and parts I really didn't like and parts that just bothered me. I think my review will reflect this as I think I give the book everything from 1 star to 5 stars based on what aspect I am talking about.

message 25: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie I need to get rid of it too.....a lot about it bugs me.

Stephen You are certainly not alone there.

message 23: by Megha (new) - rated it 1 star

Megha I had never imagined I would be saying this someday, but..
I am with Cartman on this one.

Fun review, as always.

message 22: by Kwesi 章英狮 (new)

Kwesi 章英狮 Only 3 stars? Aw, never mind a friend of mine really liked this book. Haha. She said it was one of her all time favorites.

message 21: by Angel (new)

Angel Martinez This is hilarious! I read this book as a teenager. Probably not a good time for an impressionable mind to read it. Took me a few years to sort out the, er, propaganda from the story.

message 20: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim I think it was worth reading once & is better than The Fountainhead, but I'm partial to apocalyptic fiction. Everyone should probably read one or the other (maybe just part) to understand her philosophy. It's interesting, if extreme & a good way to get a vocabulary lesson. She never uses a $.10 word where a $5 one will do & her wording is very precise. She uses English technically better than almost any one else I've read.

You can also listen to some of her talks (radio interview & her address at West Point) for free on They're worth listening to, although, as Stephen points out, she's good at leaving out the better part of her opponent's arguments & can make the most extreme points seem like common sense.

message 19: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Nice!

message 18: by mark (new)

mark monday she gives me the creeps!

Fiver Well done, sir, well done. I tip my hat to you, and would offer you a good old American dollar bill as reward for your ingenuity and productivity, if you were standing in front of me.

Stephen Fiver wrote: "Well done, sir, well done. I tip my hat to you, and would offer you a good old American dollar bill as reward for your ingenuity and productivity, if you were standing in front of me."

Thanks, Fiver. I am glad you liked it. You can keep the dollar but I will happily take the tip of the hat. :)

message 15: by Trudi (new)

Trudi LOL!!! Love this! I have tried and shall never try again. Jules and Cartman? That's me :)

Stephen Trudi wrote: "LOL!!! Love this! I have tried and shall never try again. Jules and Cartman? That's me :)"

Thanks, Trudi. Jules and Cartman are pretty good company to be in. I certainly would never argue with Jules.

Richard Derus My rating of this Nietzsche pastiche is 0.125 stars. She did, after all, type it, and that deserves some credit.

Totally new philosophical position? Only someone who's never read any philosophy could say that. What a crock of shit this woman served, and how many blowflies are still buzzing around it.

Richard Derus Goodness Kat, I never though crocks of poo and blowflies could be considered lyrical, but thanks! My loathing for this woman and her pseudophilosophical maunderings is out of control. The best I can do, when confronted by one of her fans in the flesh, is smile and walk away, or else I start lecturing in a loud tone of voice. My daughter says screaming hysterically, but we all know our children are prone to exaggerate our foibles.

message 11: by Walid (new) - added it

Walid I've read countless reviews and I'm still uncertain whether this is relative to my interests. Perhaps listening to the audiobook in my car would do?

message 10: by Leo (new) - rated it 1 star

Leo Balboni HAHAHA thank you thank you thank you!!! I agree, the book was shit. Complete capitalist liberalists shite!

Yougo Nailed it pretty well.

message 8: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome She was pretty cute when Helen Mirren played her.

midnightfaerie I loved this book, and I love Ayn Rand. Yes, I'm a conservative Republican, but no, unlike some reviews I've read, I don't live with my parents. I think she gives validity to a lot of points, and the way our country is going, I don't think the ending was all that extreme. I think she presented a riveting story to express her political beliefs, even if the 40 page monologue at the end was a bit much. I've been picking up Rand paperback's here and there, and plan on diving into them next year, after finishing up Dickens and Shakespeare. I'd like to hear more "middle of the road" opinions.

message 6: by Chad (new)

Chad Sayban Epic!

message 5: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew Obrigewitsch Man your pictures are not showing up anymore, damn Amazon. And when it comes to Rand, she is a decent writer it's just some of the idea's she has I don't agree with, so it makes it hard to rate her work.

message 4: by Lawrence (new) - added it

Lawrence Thomas Jr. Witty and awesome. Thanks for the uplift ;)

Gheeta So what ever happened to your actual review? Did you just give up? Or have you since left GB?

message 2: by MomToKippy (new) - added it

MomToKippy waiting for the rest...

David You nailed it man. I've not even going to bother writing a review now.

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