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Who is Ayn Rand?

Posted on June 1 2010 12:57 pm
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By PowerLine Blog

This morning we conclude our preview of the Spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books with Charles Murray’sintensely interesting review of the two new biographies of Rand published within weeks of each other last year: Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, by Jennifer Burns, and Ayn Rand and the World She Made, by Ann Heller.

Rand is a fascinating figure whose books retain an enduring interest. Murray begins his review with this startling observation:

In 1991, the book-of-the-month club conducted a survey asking people what book had most influenced their lives. The Bible ranked number one and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was number two. In 1998, the Modern Library released two lists of the top 100 books of the 20th century. One was compiled from the votes of the Modern Library’s Board, consisting of luminaries such as Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, Edmund Morris, and Salman Rushdie. The two top-ranked books on the Board’s list were Ulysses and The Great Gatsby. The other list was based on more than 200,000 votes cast online by anyone who wanted to vote. The top two on that list were Atlas Shrugged (1957) and The Fountainhead (1943).

Even though interest in Rand’s books never flagged, her moment arrived again in response to the advent of the Age of Obama. Interest in her books has never been stronger. And Rand is a striking figure in her own right, a Russian Jewish immigrant to America every bit as self-invented as Fitzgerald’s fictional Jay Gatsby.

Read the rest here.

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