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Goddess Of The Market: Ayn Rand And The American Right (2009)

by Jennifer Burns(Favorite Author)
3.8 of 5 Votes: 1
0195324870 (ISBN13: 9780195324877)
Oxford University Press, USA
review 1: It can't be easy trying to write an objective biography of the 'founder' of objectivism, in part because it's like writing an objective biography of Marx: no matter how good it is, not matter how objective, at least half of its readers will hate it, because they take 'objective' to mean 'with no independent judgement, in either direction.' Damned if you damn, damned if you don't damn, damned if you deify. But Burns does a great job. The early chapters are a bit dull, but then I find the opening chapters of every biography dull: they inevitably go into too much detail (because the author spent a lot of time researching these microfacts that nobody cares about, and reasonably enough wants to put them to *some* use), but once Rand gets to Hollywood things really pick up. Burn... mores shows how Rand's ideas developed, debunks some of the myths, does a fantastic job showing how she was mixed up in the resurgence of 'American' conservatism in the post-war U.S., and deals sensitively with the idiocies of Rand's later, messianic phase. As a special pleasure, she regularly pulls out gems like this: an editor "advised Rand to prune all unnecessary adjectives, a change that would have gutted the novel. Rand did, however, find some of her suggestions useful." This is simple, objective reporting--the editor suggested the superfluous adjectives be removed, Rand thought that would gut the novel. But the irony is delicious. These moments are rare, and Burns mostly keeps a straight face, but she picks her spots well.
review 2: This is the interesting story of the rise and fall of an important American thinker. Although I ultimately disagree with Rand on many things, I was intrigued to learn about her ascent from political activist to critical (and important) thinker, and her descent into madness fueled by drugs and her toxic environment. While many of her ideas are unpalatable to most people, her fundamental messages about individualism and of course her novels will always live on as an important part of the American tradition, and her influence in American politics is astronomical. Because in the end, it's hard to not like or respect at least parts of her worldview. And this book does a wonderful job of accounting how that worldview was developed and how it shaped the political history of the US. less
Reviews (see all)
I really wanted to learn more about Ayn Rand but this book is way too long, disjointed and wordy.
A bit too political and economically axed, but a very good and accurate bio.
Very interesting read! Learned a lot!
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