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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unknown gem
Having read THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED many, many years ago, and having both those books completely change my life, I wanted to see what ANTHEM was all about. One often fears that a great writer has "used up" their energy and creativity in their major opus, and this was my hesitation in coming to this book. But my fears were unfounded, for ANTEHM is...
Published on July 12 2004

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this edition
Leonard Peikoff doesn't want you to know this, but the U.S. version of this novella has been in the public domain since 1974 - that's why he padded this edition with a marked-up version of the British text (so he could copyright it). You can read ANTHEM online for free if you know where to look.
Published on June 26 2000


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unknown gem, July 12 2004
By A Customer
Having read THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED many, many years ago, and having both those books completely change my life, I wanted to see what ANTHEM was all about. One often fears that a great writer has "used up" their energy and creativity in their major opus, and this was my hesitation in coming to this book. But my fears were unfounded, for ANTEHM is just as good as anything else Rand has written. The characters are as deep and complex as they are in her other works, and as usual, she has a powerful message. While I tend to stick with a good page-turner like THE DA VINCI CODE or THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD, I do occasionally go back to what I term "classical" writers. ANTHEM is one book that Rand fans must read. Shorter and less heavy than FOUNTAINHEAD or ATLAS, this makes for a great summer read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this edition, June 26 2000
By A Customer
Leonard Peikoff doesn't want you to know this, but the U.S. version of this novella has been in the public domain since 1974 - that's why he padded this edition with a marked-up version of the British text (so he could copyright it). You can read ANTHEM online for free if you know where to look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand made sense, May 2 2004
By 
Miss Gadget (Washington Court House, Ohio) - See all my reviews
Anthem by Ayn Rand is by far the best book by hers that I've read in a long time. I have several of her other books already and have gone so far as to underline the most meaningful parts (I've read each several times). She says things that others are afraid to say for fear of being (gasp) selfish. She, in her books, tells us that it's ok to be selfish, that it's our duty to look out for ourselves first. No one else will look out for you other than you. I realize that's an extreme way to look at things, but in this day and age of if you are more successful than your neighbor you get taxed more to help "others". Helping and the insidious guilt for not doing so is a terrible way to enforce this forced servitude as Ms. Rand calls it. Her books and her philosophy are eye openers indeed. It's a pity she isn't around anymore to keep writing what we all know is true but afraid to say most of the time. It's even worse to know that when we do speak up about the status quo, we get shut out like the characters Howard Roark and Dagny Taggart.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anthem review, April 13 2004
By 
savannah (Kodiak, AK USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Anthem: CD (Audio CD)
Anthem, by Ayn Rand, is a futuristic, political novel supposed to represent the outcome of a world overrun by communism; though quite brief, the book sends a very clear, to-the-point message about the importance of individualism and freedom. Rand, in this novel, drives home her point that communism would corrupt a country to the point of absolute government domination and complete disaster. The situation she presents in Anthem is a society that has spiraled backwards into a life devoid of almost all technology; in fact, candles had only just been invented somewhat prior to the time of the story.
The plot revolves around a man, named Equality 7-2521, who lives in this primitive world, and dares to question in his mind the precepts that his world is run by. Everything is run by the government; from birth; every aspect of an individual's life is predestined and the individual must comply without question. There is no freedom nor sense of individuality; for example, all of the characters in the book refer to themselves as "we" instead of "I," the forbidden word that is lost in history, never to be spoken lest the transgressor be burned at the stake as a martyr. Equality 7-2521 dares to go against all of this regulation, first in his mind and then through his actions. He dares to think, to prefer, to question, and to fall in love. Eventually and through much tribulation, he comes upon the truth and vows to change his world into one worth living.
Though extremely short, this novel is highly slanted against communism, and it doesn't take a highly skilled reader to figure that out. The book also presents a story line with a strong protagonist that the reader can relate to, and the story is presented in a somewhat believable fashion. Though through reading this novel one may not be convinced that communism is utterly evil, it causes questions to arise. Short and sweet, this novel is worth reading, if only for the fact that is short enough to present its profound message in few words. The reader does not necessarily need to agree with the message, but Anthem is a good book that helps present another possible side to the constant dispute between political sides. Finally, Anthem makes one sincerely appreciate freedom, a truth that many people often take for granted.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An indictment of the socialists who want to think for us., April 6 2004
By A Customer
I'm not an Objectivist by any means, mainly because I'm a Christian, which puts me completely at odds with one of Objectivism's six major tenets. However, I agree to some degree or another with all five of the other tenets. This is the perspective I come from.
Anthem is a beautiful little story, the single most important thing Rand ever wrote. Her political beliefs will come and go, but this story is timeless, part post-modern fairy tale and part cautionary warning of a very real-world danger.
Anthem accidentally entered the public domain some years ago, which may seem ironic given Rand's capitalist background, but somehow it's fitting. Yes, property is EXTREMELY important to freedom and individuality, but if any one story needed to belong to everybody, it's this one.
This book should be read in high school paired with Orwell's 1984. They offer similar visions, but Rand's story is one of enduring human optimism, as opposed to Orwell's pessimistic, fatalistic outcome. As cautionary tales, both work beautifully, but I'm a "glass half full" kind of guy, so I greatly prefer the empowering message of Anthem to the utter helplessness that 1984 evokes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Exercise in the Power of Man, March 26 2004
Firstly, let me preface this review by saying that I am wholly stricken with Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy. However, I do not believe -- like all authors -- that everything a particular writer, no matter how much I may like them, turns every piece of writing they have into a masterpiece. Anthem is a primary example of a brilliant thinker simply slipping below the impossibly high bar that they've already set for themselves.
Anthem can be taken in two ways. Firstly, it is the story of a man who - in a coloney - discovers that, rather than serving one specific purposes in the hive, that he has the power to be an individual. This is the literal translation of this text. However, it is incredibly important to look at Anthem as more than simply a story of self-recognition.
Rightly or wrongly, Anthem is one eight-eight page pithy story of the power of man as an individual. Is this symbolism evident? Yes - it's about as obvious as it can possibly be made. Of course, I found this frustrating, hoping that Rand would make her agenda slightly less blaringly obvious. However, this book is meant to spell out to the reader the theory of objectivism (such as most of Rand's books are). It seems to me that rather than leaving the reader with a chunk of literature to digest, Rand instead lays out a flowchart of what the reader should be internalizing. Good if you don't want to spend the energy to think, not so good if you enjoy the merits of more "gray" literature (re rather than black and white).
Overall, a strong showing of Rand's abilities as a writer, if not a little stiff. This is worth reading, most assuredly -- It's just not one of her best books. It is a good introduction to the objectivist philosphy, even if it is not "displayed" as such. A worthy effort, but does have fundamental flaws.
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3.0 out of 5 stars an innaccurate portrayal of socialism, Jan. 6 2004
This book is an attack against socialism or other collectivist ideologies. Rand claims to be inividualistic, yet she supports laissez faire capitalism, which in my opinion is incompatible with individualism. Capitalism transfers power into the hands of private companies. These businesses control resources, wages, ect. How can someone be an individual when their lifestyles are dependant on their wages that their boss dictates? Your wages deterrmine how you eat, dress, live, ect. The capitalistic wage system is anything but individualistic. She claims to advocate individual freedom, but how can one be free when they are compelled to spend 80 percent of their lives in authoritarian institutions called "work"? How is being a wage slave individualistic? Not to mention capitalism has created the most totalitarian institution witnessed in modern times; the corporation. This is a strict, top to bottom hierarchy. People (thanks to new technology) are monitored constantly. Some places put badges on people to monitor them daily, and if they leave for the bathroom they are fired. Some people have to urinate in jars because if they take off time to use the restroom they risk losing their jobs. Is this individual freedom? No, this is absolutism, the absolutism that thomas jefferson warned us about when he realised that "moneyed incorporations" were aquiring power. A capitalist would bring up the argument that "you aren't forced to work, its a free contract". You have to be some nazi or stalinist to believe this. I mean, this is the type of contract between a man robbing another with gun to his head. Its a free decision, either work, or starve to death. Wow thats real individual freedom. Dont fall victim to objectivist/capitalist propaganda. These are ideals that no one really takes seriously. Free market capitalism is a joke, and would fall apart immediately, and if it didnt, people would overthrow it because they wouldn't allow such a despotic system exist. Free market ideology is only a political weapon; a weapon against social spending, the poor, ect.
So what would a real free society look like? It would be a cooperative society, where people work with eachother instead of against eachother. Authoritarian institutions like the corporations, the state, and other institutions that limit human freedom would cease to exist. The pig capitalist system would be abolished. However, portrayed society presented in this book will become a reality if we continue to accept capitalism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A model of individuality, Dec 30 2003
By 
Brian M. Ayres (Valrico, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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I spent the two hours or so reading Ayn Rand's novella of individuality with a satisfactory smile. Through all my years of schooling, I had never been introduced to Rand's work or perspective. I am so glad I stumbled across a reference in a book I was reading recently.
Rand's story of breaking the chains of socialism and collectivism struck the soul of my inner belief system. In the self or ego lies the soul of a human. The inner drives and wants make up the man. We all strive to find and perfect ourselves and find answers in this world. That is what makes us human. By being held back by a society's preconceived notions and goals, we are denied our rights as humans. This is the purpose of "Anthem," which is thematic of the scores of times throughout history man has risen up to take on a powerful society.
Rand's style was smooth, concise and to the point. My favoriate line, one I read several times, was early in the work when Equality 7-2521 was struggling to find the answers of nature. Rand writes: "The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them."
For too long, different civilizations have stiffled the creativity of all man, leaving the search for knowledge left to a chosen sect of society. "There is noting to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men," Rand writes. "To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. This and nothing else." By saying this, Rand does not dimiss the brotherhood of society. She simply says a man cannot be free unless he alone searches for his true nature, his EGO.
It is for this EGO to which we truly live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Political & Philosophical Book on FREEDOM, Oct. 27 2003
By 
Michael Gordon "Michael Gordon" (Los Angeles, Ca) - See all my reviews
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Ayn Rand's book, Anthem, is an incredible book that highlights the benefits of a free, individualistic society, over the Collective (the type that is presented by liberals, the Democratic Party, professors, media types, and other elites who "care" for us).
Anthem is a story about an individual who lives in a Collectivist society--the same type that would appear in communist Soviet Union or today's communist Cuba. I can see that these types of societies are not to be desired. Instead of thinking in terms of "I," everyone thinks of themselves in terms of their membership in the larger society, and thus the use of the term "we" to describe their ideas. Notice that identity politics today is very similar: if you are a member of a certain racial or ethnic group, you are expected to think in 'we' terms; whatever the group thinks should be accepted, regardless of your own best interests. (That is one reason why, for instance, President Bush's conservative judicial nominees, who are minorities, are being rejected. It is because their group leaders insist that they think in the 'we' context as opposed to the 'I.' If you think like an individual, be damned).
We see the triumph of the individual at the end of the book. There is a lot of emotion involved in this book. For instance, the hero in this novel notes that there was a period of time when people were free, when the Collectivist voices were just starting to take root. Yet, people were ignoring the concerns the Individualists had, and thus the Collectivists took over. We see the same thing today: the Collectivists are on a rampage: they think anytime we pay less in taxes it is evil; they insist that the government pay for health care, retirements, loss of wages due to unemployment, loss of wages due to competitive global markets; universal schooling, etcetera. It is just a way for the Collectivists to get a greater hold on us, yet few are paying any attention.
We ignore this book at our peril. Just like many of the other books warning us of the dangers of Collectivism, we should never forget that what may appear theoretical may just be true.
Thankfully, in this book, people will fight to regain an individualistic society. People will rebel. Thomas Jefferson said rebellion is good every now and then. A free society can encourage people to leave the unfree societies--exactly what is happening right now in America. We attract people from all the unfree corners of the world. And when our own individual states become unfree -- California, for instance -- there is a rebellion, a move back to an individualistic society. Ayn Rand was very right, indeed.
-- Michael Gordon
Los Angeles
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1.0 out of 5 stars Over the Top, Aug. 29 2003
By 
Karen Miller (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
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Disguise philosophy as fiction all you want--I actually liked THE FOUNTAINHEAD--but this is out of this world. Not only is it a complete, total, and pitiful rip-off of Zamyatin's WE (down to sending the pregnant love-interest into the forbidden forest), it's outrageously pious. Listening to it on Audiobook was like being screamed at in church. I am not an Ayn Rand basher by trade, and have sympathy for many points that she makes about individuality. But come on... Man escapes to the world beyond to reinvent the electric fence so no one can mess with his stuff, and Woman escapes to get knocked up in the garden and gaze all day at her pretty little self in the mirror? (Can she even read? Otherwise, why won't she? The house is full of great literature and her sweetheart does nothing else but read it. At least at the collective she was growing food for people--not her first wsh, perhaps, but it was something. Now she just laughs in delight at the pretty clothes she found at the house. What kind of Brave New Humanity is this?) ANTHEM adds nothing to the anti-utopian genre. Don't bother with it. Skip to her other works if you must read her. Some of her short stories are quite entertaining and there was a play she wrote that I liked (The Night of January 29th? Can't quite remember)... look those up instead if you just want a quick read.
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Anthem
Anthem by Ayn Rand (Hardcover - July 1 2009)
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