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RAND, AYN

Atlas Shrugged

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Dutton (for Saxo Bank) 2003 Hardback in dust jacket Very nice copy. First thus. 35th anniversary edition with a new introduction by Leonard Peikoff. Special edition for Saxo Bank. No. 4317 of 10.000. The English editon of the book that has been translated into Danish under the title 'Og verden skælvede'. Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. Rand's fourth and last novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. The book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society leading to millionaires going on strike. The only clue to this strange circumstance is the enigmatic question "Who is John Galt?" which turns out to be a significant foreshadowing of the book's premises. The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry (including Taggart Transcontinental, the once mighty transcontinental railroad for which she serves as the Vice President of Operations), while society's most productive citizens, led by this mysterious John Galt, progressively disappear. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the "minds" that drive society's growth and productivity. In their efforts, these people "of the mind" hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where every person is a slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society. The novel's title is a reference to Atlas, a Titan of Greek mythology, who in the novel is described as "the giant who holds the weight of the world on his shoulders". The significance of this reference is seen in a conversation between the characters of Francisco d'Anconia and Hank Rearden in which d'Anconia asks of Rearden what sort of advice he would give to Atlas upon seeing that "the greater [the titan's] effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders". With Rearden unable to answer, Francisco gives his own response: "To shrug". Atlas Shrugged includes elements of mystery and science fiction,and it contains Rand's most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction via a lengthy monologue delivered by the strike's leader, John Galt.The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is "the role of man's mind in existence". The book explores a number of philosophical themes that Rand would subsequently develop into the philosophy of Objectivism. It advocates the core tenets of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her concept of human achievement. In doing so it expresses many facets of Rand's philosophy, such as the advocacy of reason, individualism, the market economy, and the failure of government coercion.

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