The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Atlas Shrugged wasn't fiction
Tom Smith

As I've said before I thought it was so bad as a novel I couldn't read it.  It's looking better all the time as prophecy unfortunately.

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Tom Smith


I'm sorry, Tom, that you found Atlas Shrugged to be a bad novel, because it's one of my favorites in terms of both content and literary style. I think Rand writes very much along the lines of the 19th-century romanticist tradition, such as Hugo and Dumas. Even if you dislike her literary style, though, I hope you still agree that it's better than the turgid nonsense of the stuff that passes as "literature" today, such as James Joyce.

Posted by: Adam | Jan 23, 2009 10:13:11 AM


I've read Hugo and Dumas and Raynd is no Hugo or Dumas. I read The Fountainhead and set Atlas Shrugged down when I realized that getting the time I was wasting with it back was simply impossible. I never had that feeling with Hugo or Dumas.

Posted by: unhhyphenatedconservative | Jan 23, 2009 10:43:55 AM

Atlas Shrugged would have been fine if it didn't take forever to read. Listen, we got the point Rand, how about getting to the climax already. Rand tends to repeat her point so much that it becomes less and less stimulating as the book continues.

Posted by: Dwils | Jan 23, 2009 11:29:30 AM

'Atlas Shrugged' was prophecy.
'The Fountainhead' was boring.

'We, the Living' was powerful.

Posted by: Glenmore | Jan 23, 2009 2:03:02 PM

It's not so bad if you skip a bunch of the speeches. National Review’s review of the book as literature was spot on. It does today read more and more like prophecy. I almost asked “Who is John Galt”, when CNN was playing at the sandwich shop.

Posted by: Heather | Jan 23, 2009 2:03:39 PM

I greatly enjoyed Rand's novels, though they are almost a genre to themselves. There aren't many novels that so explicitly and exhaustively make a theme of philosophy. More readable than Melville, anyway.

Ugh. I'd prefer that Atlas Shrugged were less relevant to Bailout World.

The good news is that the public (so far) isn't thrilled with this process, and will realize how much of the 'stimulus' is simply derived from the pork barrel wish lists that have been sitting around in Congressional desk drawers for many a year.

Posted by: Silvering | Jan 23, 2009 2:05:04 PM

Atlas Shrugs feels didactic is becasue its main plotline, the one one which the entire action is built is given away in blurb or the ads. If you do not know that and are simply reading, it's one of the most suspenseful and thrilling reads there ever was.

Posted by: alar | Jan 23, 2009 2:12:11 PM

I have a pen pal in Germany who I just advised to read Atlas Shrugged (called "Wer ist John Galt"). I hope she does, being the good little Socialist she is.

Posted by: swift boater | Jan 23, 2009 2:21:10 PM

I'm afraid Rand underestimated the problem. Where are the rational men today with whom one could gladly resort to a Galt's Gulch? Whom can you trust when a totally inexperienced communist racist has just been elected President and has an 80% approval rating? Where is our John Galt?

Posted by: Robert Speirs | Jan 23, 2009 2:32:42 PM

Have you been following current events? Alan Greenspan, one of Rand's closest disciples and one of the main guys responsible for the financial crisis, just went in front of Congress and basically said his underlying philosophy-- i.e., the one in *Atlas Shrugged*-- was wrong. You got your thesis exactly backwards, Greenspan tried to follow John Galt's advice and that got us... nationalized banks.

Posted by: SLHamlet | Jan 23, 2009 2:34:41 PM