The Power of Ayn Rand: “Goddess of the Market” by Jennifer Burns

(Originally published in my personal blog, The Kids Got Moxie, on November 16, 2009)

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I’m not an Ayn Rand fan.

I carried “Atlas Shrugged” (all 1000+ pages of it) around in my purse for probably 2 months trying to wade through it, but finally (right about the point John Galt started his big ol’ preachy speech) gave up.

BUT – When I started reading that two new biographies of Ms. Rand had hit the market, and started hearing some of the stories contained within, I knew I was going to have to check one out.

I selected Jennifer Burns’ “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right,” and it was a really good choice.

Burns herself acknowledges that in writing about Ayn Rand, she was almost overloaded with information and sources, but she’s managed to lay everything out in a book that is completely engrossing and easy to read.  Instead of exerpting long passages from Rands books, she uses her personal letters and speeches to both tell the story of this fascinating woman, as well as to explore why Rand’s theory of Objectivism appeals so much to conservatives, particularly young conservatives.

BUT – If political theory isn’t your bag, don’t count this book out.

Did you know Rand, though married, had a relationship with Nathan Brandon, a young follower of hers?  It’s complicated, but let me say the story of their.. intermingling.. is worth the read alone. For someone people hold up as an example of high moral value, it’s salacious.  Rand basically had a cult around her (it reminded me of the tales one hears of Scientology, with a compound and rules and leaders..) and her followers were rabid for everything she said and did.

Though the book certainly didn’t make me want to go out and read everything Rand ever wrote, it did shed light on a really interesting woman and the world she created.

I enjoyed it.

Writers are nuts.

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About JamieP

Books. Adventures. Chicago. Married. Mommy. Cat.

Posted on September 2, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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