- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Canada; Reprint edition (July 29 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452273331
- ISBN-13: 978-0452273337
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 3.8 x 22.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 771 g
- Average Customer Review: 614 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Fountainhead Paperback – Jul 29 2008
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
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.
Ayn Rand is a writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly. -- The New York Times Book Review, Lorine PruetteSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. In that context, her philosophy takes on a rosier glow and seems more inviting and palatable
Of course, ultimately, for me as well as many others, this philosophy breaks down. As others note, the presentation breaks down in many areas. There are no children, no dirty diapers, human emotions are kept in check to logic. This is what I have found with objectivism as well when I flirted with it. The constraints against abuse are artificial and rest too deeply in an idealism that itself doesn't pass the reality test for me.
It does a wonderful job though of demonstrating the folly of the opposite extreme, that Rand saw in Russia and her evaluation of that system and its viability in the long term has been borne out by history.
That's why I like and recommend the book. You don't have to agree with it to benefit from reading it. It has driven me more to the middle rejecting either extreme. That wasn't Rand's goal. But she did a good job presenting her case and I felt able to make some choices and evaluations. I was affected and that is the measure of a good book.
The success of a book isn't necessarily in garnering your support and agreement. If it presents its case well enough that you can form an independent opinion and grow for the experience of reading it, then it is valuable whether you adopt objectivism or not.
Read it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Interact with it.
It's a gripping read in the realm of thought, even if literarily it falls a little flat.
Things get even more perverse on the love front. Not to give too much of the plot away, but a sensous, emotionally distant woman who is just Roark's type takes up with exactly the kind of men who hurt Roark the most. It's utterly appalling and yet, in Rand's equation, somehow convincingly human, which makes it all the more appalling. The path to heroism in an Ayn Rand novel is never easy.
There's a lot more going on, including a sleazy gazillionaire publisher with the seeds of greatness, an urbane man of letters who should have been murdered in the crib, and a public housing project that didn't survive to see the light of day. But probably the most salient feature of THE FOUNTAINHEAD is that it is a philosophical novel about the nature of human progress, how it is achieved, by whom and at what cost. (Lucky for us, the speechifying is relayed mostly through dialog and doesn't clutter the plot.)
So is THE FOUNTAINHEAD a good book? I'm not sure that Miss Rand would agree with the tenets of "vox populi, vox dei," but suffice it to say that the book hasn't been out of print since it was first published in 1943 and the New American Library still derives a significant amount of its income from Rand's writings. Read this book, and if you like it go on to the more challenging ATLAS SHRUGGED. You don't have to adopt any kind of political agenda to enjoy THE FOUNTAINHEAD.
The main character, Howard Roark, is based off Rand's perception of the "ideal man". Roark lives out Rand's philosophy of objectivism, as the main characters in other Rand pieces similarly do. Rand's integration of philosophy and exciting fiction makes for a good read whether you agree with objectivism or not.
I gave this book 5 stars because it holds your attention, makes you think, and helps you develop your own views on life. While the book doesn't necessarily contain "action" the whole time, the characters and their personalities keep you turning pages. The book is written in a way that it doesn't force any ideas on you, but it lets you form your own opinions. It all depends on what level you read the book. If you read it as just another fiction novel, you'll come away with the same beliefs as you did before, and that's great. But if you really dig into it and try to understand the ideas behind it, you'll probably get more out of it.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Nowadays many miss-interpret Ayn Rands' "view" of the world.......Read more