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The Fountainhead Paperback – Jul 29 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 611 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada; Reprint edition (July 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452273331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452273337
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3.8 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 611 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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The Fountainhead has become an enduring piece of literature, more popular now than when published in 1943. On the surface, it is a story of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles as an architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating, and a newspaper columnist, Ellsworth Toohey. But the book addresses a number of universal themes: the strength of the individual, the tug between good and evil, the threat of fascism. The confrontation of those themes, along with the amazing stroke of Rand's writing, combine to give this book its enduring influence.


A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly. ("The New York Times") --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of The Fountainhead at a used bookstore. At the time I had never even heard of Ayn Rand. After reading The Fountainhead I began searching for information about her and was surprised to find how prolific she was. Most people either love her or hate her; no middle ground. Rand has been much criticized for events in her personal life. Let me just say that if all philosophers were discredited on such grounds, there would be few who could withstand such scrutiny. Human beings aren't perfect. Rand's mistakes in her personal life do not detract from her brilliance. Her support of logic over emotion is just plain good sense. She encourages everyone to be self-sufficient and to base their decisions on reason rather than blindly accepting what others would tell you is right based on their own agenda. However, don't take my opinion or that of anyone else. Simply read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Even if you don't agree with Rand's philosophy, the story is riveting. But I must say that the validity of her ideas is illustrated every night on the six o'clock news! Since reading this book I have viewed politics, philosophy, and human relations in an entirely new light.
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Format: Paperback
Of course, this is more than a novel. This is Ayn Rand's attempt to use the vehicle of fiction to present her philosophy of objectivism. In addition, she used another epic type novel, Atlas Shrugged.

In terms of literary value, there is a lot to be desired in this novel. It is long. It rambles in places. It could have used a great deal of editing and rewriting to make it tight and the characters at times seem shallow and are revealed for the literary vehicles they obviously are to make her point.

Why give it 4 stars then?

Because this book has succeeded in what it set out to do. It has stood the test of recent time and grown in popularity. It has had a profound impact in philosophy, politics and simple human values and as such it can be said to truly be a classic.

Lest you think that means that I'm a huge fan of the message of the book, I am not necessarily.

You have to put the book into context however.

Ayn Rand grew up in Soviet Russia and viewed the impact of collectivism and the impact that it had upon the individual when society's needs were elevated above opportunity for the individual to rise and shine. She chafed and wrestled against it.

Introduced to the US and capitalism, she swung in rebellion to her upbringing and sought to elevate selfishness to a virtue which was to be encouraged and allowed with minimal restraint and influence from "Big Brother."

The Fountainhead, in my opinion is better than Atlas Shrugged, because here Rand achieves a more personable protagonist in which there is a sense of idenitification and sympathy.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read this book in 1986. It was the first serious piece of literature I read outside of school and it had a dramatic affect on me. I was struck by Howard Roark's unfaltering adherence to his values when society in general portrayed him as "dangerous" and a "failure." While society happily jumped on the latest bandwagon without a second thought, Roark continued on his own journey even in the face of personal and economic tragedy.
A self-proclaimed "non-conformist" at the time, this novel forced me to re-evaluate many of my beliefs. Was I truly marking my own path, or was I just conforming to a smaller group of outsiders? This novel does not attempt to prove that the "good guys win in the end" - so how far was I willing to walk my own walk?
To this day, I am still asking those questions. I re-read The Fountainhead last month and found it no less profound than I first did in 1986. I can't help but picture Roark as the subject of Robert Frost's prose, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
In the end, whether or not one agrees with Ayn Rand's picture of man and his role in society, The Fountainhead will stimulate thought and discussion - and in that respect, this novel serves its social purpose.
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By A Customer on Jan. 3 2004
Format: Hardcover
While I was reading this book every paragraph seemed to give me a different feeling. Most parts were laughable on how blunt the woman could be to get her point across. Others stuck a nerve to a deep realization that what she says has truth. While reading this novel you can definitely tell she wasn't writing for the casual reader. Speeches drag on, characters disappoint you, but for some reason people have latched on to her like she is the goddess of objectivism and can't be question with. I did enjoy the novel to the point where I respect the thoughts it contains and what the novel has done for many peoples lives. For my own satisfaction I would not read the novel again. It did teach me many lessons but after reading the Fountainhead there seems to be no hope for mankind and leaves a deep depressing thought in ones mind after reading. Many people would just say I don't understand and comprehend, but you can't believe everything one woman says just because she was one of the first that questioned society this way.
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