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Anthem is Ayn Rand's classic tale of a dystopian future of the great "We"—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence—that anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

They existed only to serve the state. They were conceived in controlled Palaces of Mating. They died in the Home of the Useless. From cradle to grave, the crowd was one—the great WE.

In all that was left of humanity, there was only one man who dared to think, seek, and love. He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to love the woman of his choice. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization, he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crimes for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: He had stood forth from the mindless human herd. He was a man alone. He had rediscovered the lost and holy word—I.

"I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals, and I loathe humanity, for its failure to live up to these possibilities."
 —Ayn Rand

105 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1938

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About the author

Ayn Rand

469 books9,038 followers
Polemical novels, such as The Fountainhead (1943), of primarily known Russian-born American writer Ayn Rand, originally Alisa Rosenbaum, espouse the doctrines of objectivism and political libertarianism.

Alisa Rosenbaum entered into a prosperous Jewish family before Russian revolution. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy that Fronz Rosenbaum, her father, owned, the family fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city, renamed Leningrad, to attend the university, but relatives already settled in America and in 1926 offered her the chance of joining them. With money from the sale of jewelry of her mother, Alisa bought a ticket to New York. On arrival at Ellis Island, she changed into Ayn (after a name of some Finnish author, probably "Aino") Rand (a supposed abbreviation of her Russian surname). She moved swiftly to Hollywood, where she learned English, worked in the RKO wardrobe department and as an extra, and wrote through the night on screenplays and novels. Because her original visa as a visitor expired, she also married a "beautiful" bit-part actor, called Frank O'Connor.

Rand sold her first screenplay in 1932, but nobody bought We the Living (1936), her first novel and a melodrama, set in Russia. Her first real success was The Fountainhead (rejected by more than ten publishers before publication in 1943).

She started a new philosophy, known as objectivism, opposed to state interference of all kinds, and her follow-up novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) describes a group who attempt to escape conspiracy of mediocrity of America. Objectivism has been an influence on various other movements such as Libertarianism, and Rand's vocal support for Laissez-faire Capitalism and the free market has earned her a distinct spot among American philosophers, and philosophers in general.

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5 stars
38,944 (26%)
4 stars
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3 stars
38,758 (25%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,791 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,823 followers
October 21, 2017
I cannot believe I just realized now I did not have this book marked as read! I read this back in high school and loved it!

For those thinking about trying Ayn Rand, this is a good intro book considering it is only a little over 100 pages and her other popular titles (mainly talking about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) are quite daunting in their length.

Now, in the past I have had trouble reviewing Ayn Rand because she is controversial. Usually this leads to people not being able to separate a review of a book from a political statement. Since I don't like arguing politics and figure everyone is entitled to their opinion, I will again attempt to avoid putting any sort of political spin on this one - but it may not be completely avoidable.

For me, this book is in the same category as 1984 and Brave New World. It is a commentary on where we might be going if we are not careful. In this book, the main issue is loss of self in forced servitude to the larger governmental machine. The writing is creative and riveting enough that it is very easy to finish this in one sitting.

Check out Anthem and read it with an open mind (even if it doesn't match your politics) and I think you will find an interesting, enjoyable, and thought provoking classic.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,644 reviews5,094 followers
March 9, 2019
a long day at work with a lot of that work left unfinished
+ happy hour drinks with colleagues, no they're more than that, with friends
+ I have to get around to reviewing a book by mutterfookin' AYN RAND of all things


so I've been on a hiring spree lately, just hiring people left and right because yay my work is actually getting multiple contracts and that means we can actually hire people instead of everyone doing two jobs per usual nonprofit social services type staffing patterns, so anyway I hired this one young lady who is clearly super smart and super organized and super perfect for the job I hired her for, good job mark, yet again, but she is 21 and so I wonder sometimes if her big brain is the tail wagging the 21 year old, who is very, very much 21 years of age, or at least what I remember of myself when I was 21. namely, emotional. and critical. and all about RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. still, I'm pleased with the hire, she's great, I love her. and what does everything I just wrote even mean? in the context of this book? i dunno but it sorta made sense to me as I wrote it.

anyway, she somehow found out that I am a quote unquote Reader, and so she loaned me one of her favorite books. namely, this book. Anthem. my reaction was decidedly undecided when she mentioned this was one of her favorites. I hate everything I know about Ayn Rand. I am the sort of ass who, way back when i was 21 and in college, actually broke up with a lady I was dating because it was clear that all of the Ayn Rand she was reading was influencing her, she was quoting Ayn Rand for crissakes, anyway it was too much because Ayn Rand's ME ME ME style of libertarian philosofuckery just drives me up the wall and I can't have that in someone I'm dating. so she turned around and started dating my roommate, so someone got that last laugh there and it wasn't mark monday.

so my new staffer loaned me this book and i was all UH UH BUT AYN RAND SUCKS ARE YOU SERIOUS?? and she was all OH MY GOD JUST FUCKING TRY IT. so i did!

if you are one of the unwashed masses who doesn't know what Ayn Rand is all about, and God bless you if you are, here are some things about her (that I despise):

- totally against all forms of socialism because to Rand, socialism = the death of the individual

- the most important thing about this curious concept called "Self" is "Ego". Rand worships at the altar of EGO. per Rand, if you aren't your own #1, you may as well be dead. there are aspects of that mentality that I totally get and support, but Rand carries this to the point where concepts like "altruism" are inherently corrupt to her. an altruistic person per Rand is pretty much the definition of a total loser

- you are the captain of your own ship; if your ship carries important supplies that could help other people, who gives a fuck, fuck them; your ship needs to sail alone unless people are happy to sail under your personal captaincy. e.g. if you are a brilliant architect who designs a brilliant housing complex and then finds out that that your design is being used for public housing, God forbid, then you are fully entitled to blow up said brilliant housing complex because it is being used for the public good rather than for what you intended. YOUR PERSONAL DREAMS ÜBER ALLES!

which reminds me: one of my favorite films is King Vidor's insane adaptation of Rand's novel The Fountainhead, where what I just mentioned is the central struggle of the film (and I assume the novel). this over the top thing of beauty features a berserk plotline, berserk characters, a brilliant housing complex being blown up because God fucking forbid it may be used for public housing, and an incredible scene where architect Gary Cooper is drilling something and neurotic Patricia Neal is watching him drill and gets so worked up she uncontrollably starts beating the literal horse she rode in on, and then rides off, in a Randian heat over the studly I Am My Own Man-ishness of the Gary Cooper character. she gets so hot & bothered she actually delivers a smart slash of her riding crop before riding off. hot stuff!

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but back to this book, finally

actual review:

I was surprised at how much I liked it, at first. it is one of those dystopic post-apocalyptic books where we are experiencing the day-to-day life of some poor zombie sap who is slowly realizing that he is living in a world of sad automatons and he is one of the few who gets how pathetic his life is. because everyone is supposed to be like everyone else, and he is an actual someone. as always, this is an automatically enjoyable narrative to live in because who doesn't think that way, at certain points in their lives (or at certain points in their day, cough)

the style and the prose itself impressed me. Rand is one of those surprising writers whose prose is stripped-down, clean, and neat while also being oddly poetic: phrases and sentences that are child-like, eager, but also full of longing and melancholy. she's a fully-formed writer as of Anthem, surprisingly only her second novel. even more impressive was her replacement of the word "I" with the word "We" which functioned as an implicit criticism of the communist mindset while giving the storytelling itself an excitingly declamatory feel. on a stylistic level, Anthem is a genuine pleasure to read.

oh I just got a text from a friend that was a link saying "typhoon pork bun woman" and I think I'm just not going to check that out right now. whatever could that mean??

anyway, this was turning out to be a from-leftfield 4 star book for me but then the last two chapters happened. there were hints before that, here and there, but I chose to ignore them. but Ayn Rand is gonna do Ayn Rand, and that's only bad news where women are concerned. per Rand, a person with a dick is a person who needs to make himself into his own man; a person without a dick should probably just follow and promise obedience to said dick.

THAT IS FUCKING DISAPPOINTING. but I suppose not surprising. and yet I am surprised! I'm always surprised when a woman is all about freedom and rugged individuality and notgivingaflyingfuckeroo about what society says... but for men only! not for the womenfolk! apparently women should just support their man, they are incapable of forging their own hard-won individuality because EMOTIONS. I wish this was a unique perspective but God knows I have come across it many times, in literature and ugh in real life too. my own experience of my own uh experiences but also of my male friends is that I, and they, are all super fucking emotional. this is not just a female trait! argh. but more to the point: the sole female in Anthem shows her worth by declaring her obedience to her ruggedly individualistic, freedom-living man. that's just fucking gross and I don't get it. self-hate much?

so anyway, looks like Survivor is on so time for me to end this review. also feels like I am going to have an interesting time reporting my findings to the person who loaned me this book. wish me luck!
Profile Image for Irina.
21 reviews95 followers
December 5, 2007
The book is about human identity and freedom, and how one can degrade under the chains of collectivism.

A lot of reviews on this book, which are posted on this site, use the word “futuristic” events. I intentionally put the quotes around this word as I tend to totally disagree with the choice of this word. I used to live under socialist regime, a collectivistic society. So I can relate and completely understand the events described in the book, where the word “I” doesn’t exist, when it is a shame to stand out and be different from the rest.
However, you don’t need to come from the socialist country to understand that this is about NOW, and not the future. We face this “phenomenon” (again I am using the quotes to underline that this actually is a normal event that we face every day), when we need to struggle to form our own opinions to think this is white, when everyone else thinks this is black. We struggle to stand up and not to get under the influence of the media propaganda and continue to act with the high integrity and high morals no matter what.

This book is about the man, who stands out on his own and is not afraid to position himself against everyone else just to rediscover his “I”.

My favorite quotes:

"My hands...My spirit...My sky...My forest".

"I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning"
Many words have been granted me,...but only three are holy: "I will it!"

"I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before."

“ I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned."

And now I see the face of god... . This god, this one word: 'I'

"...man will go on. Man, not men."

"I am. I think. I will."
Profile Image for Pete.
13 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2007
Congrats, Aynnie! You've received my first single star rating! I read this in high school when I was reading a lot of dystopian future literature and thought it was by far the worst of the lot. Granted, if I'd read it when I was younger I might have liked it more, but saying that the even younger, less mature, more pretentious version of my teenage self would have liked something is hardly a glowing endorsement.

As such I've steered /way/ clear of her door-stoppers. I don't think you really need to come up with some faux cerebral excuse to justify selfishness; if you're going to be self-centered your actions are ultimately justified by your own selfish inner drives, not your intellect. At best Rand was a shrewd self-marketed Cold War personality. At worst she's cynical, petty, pedantic, and most unforgivable of all, _boring_.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
April 17, 2011
The baby version of Ayn Rand philosophy, heavy handed, unimaginative, and unfortunately assigned to my son for high school reading. I struggle with Ayn Rand because I agree with some of her points and I vehemently disagree with others. The point is that bad things happen when the left or the right gain too much control because we always seem to end up in the same place with the government oppressing individual freedoms. It is really stunning to think of the millions of copies of this book that have been sold. I would say skip it, but if your child is assigned to read it please do read it. I'm a firm believer that parents should read any book their child is assigned in school to read.
Profile Image for Zora.
11 reviews19 followers
May 21, 2007
The real tragedy of this book is that the billions of copies that have been printed could have been more appropriately used to build homes for people in third world countries. This book could not be more self indulgent if it came with a bottle of Absynthe and a membership to MENSA. Not only is it impossibly boring to read, the characters are so one dimensional that they put V.C. Andrews to shame. Do yourself a favor: set this on fire and use the fourteen hours that it burns to read Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series instead. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Conrad.
200 reviews296 followers
April 23, 2007
Definitely the only book by Ayn Rand I will ever need to read, unless I happen to be reincarnated as an asshole. When people start modeling their book covers after Mussolini-era Italian architecture, worry.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
May 4, 2022
Anthem, Ayn Rand

Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella, by: Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in the United Kingdom. The story takes place at an unspecified future date, when mankind has entered another Dark Age. Technological advancement is now carefully planned and the concept of individuality has been eliminated. A young man known as Equality 7-2521 rebels by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is discovered, he flees into the wilderness with the girl he loves. Together they plan to establish a new society based on rediscovered individualism.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه آگوست سال2011میلادی

عنوان: جمع خوانی، نویسنده: آین رند؛ برگردان نغمه رضایی؛ نشر تهران، نغمه زندگی، سال‏1389، در‏‫‏104ص، شابک9789642882656؛ موضوع: داستان‌های نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

معمار جوانی، که برای اندیشیدن می‌جنگد، فردیت خویش را نمی‌بازد؛ سرزمین داستان نقطه‌ ای کور، و گمشده در تاریخ و جغرافیاست؛ این داستان در آینده ی تاریخ، زمانیکه انسان وارد عصر تاریکی دیگری میشود، رخ میدهد؛ آنچه از بشریت باقیمانده، تنها یک مرد بود، که توان اندیشیدن، جستجو و عشق را داشت؛ او در دوران تاریک آینده زندگی میکرد؛ در دنیایی بی عشق، او جرأت کرد زن دلخواه خود را دوست داشته باشد؛ در عصری که اثری از علم و تمدن نبود، او شهامت جستجو و راه یافتن دانش ده مغزش را داشت؛ اما اینها جنایاتی نبودند که او برای آنها شکار شود؛ او برای مرگ مشخص شد، زیرا او مرتکب گناه نابخشودنی شده بود: او از گله ی انسانهای بی فکر بیرون آمده بود؛ او مردی تنها بود

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kamyar.
20 reviews
March 25, 2007
Neither a science-fiction masterpiece, nor a futuristic predicament, ANTHEM is a personal reaction to the collectivist system, dominant in Soviet Union and its modernized colonies for more than seven decades. Assumed too much reactionary by leftist intellectuals for rather a long time, it depicts the apocalyptic chaos in a world ruled by collectivist thoughts in the same way that Orwell’s 1984 builds it (for instance, you can think of a world after a nuclear crisis and then come to the meaning of nothingness). But forgetting all about suspense and action, it defines what it means to forget individuals for the sake of a system. Discovering the word “I”, when every ruler in any part of the world assumes all the individuals his own nation and labels them with the word “we”, appears to be a necessity – a necessity for preventing a disaster like a great world war.
Needless to say that Rand is haunted by the symbols in a simple narrative in ANTHEM; but reading it as an enlightening manifestation – obviously written with hostility, contempt and anger – paves the way to get more familiar with her invaluable reflections on the modern world.
Profile Image for Adina.
827 reviews3,229 followers
April 2, 2021
Read 2016

I've been thinking for a while if I would ever like to read an Ayn Rand book. As both her main literary achievements are a bit intimidating in size and controversy I was undecided and confused whether I would enjoy her work. An article came to my help where I was recommended to start with Anthem in order to get a basic understanding of her ideology. At 100 pages or so, Anthem seemed the perfect place to start and I thought after reading it I will have a better idea if I want to more of Rand.

Well, tough luck because I still do not know if I want to read anything else by the author. I liked some of the ideas in the book, I can understand where she's coming from, taking in consideration her background but I also believe her individualism is a bit extreme. Although the 'I' is very important in a person's life, I do not think it is everything. Thinking only about oneself will not necessary make a person happy and fulfilled. Sometimes happiness comes from seeing that the people you love are also happy, which does not seem to matter in Rand's philosophy.

I though that in the end the main male character changed into a selfish prick especially in the way he treated the Golden One, his "true love". He proved bossy when he chose the new name for her. He talks about the power of the "I" and making individual choices but does not allow her the option to chose her own name. Hmmm.

I thought it was a bit like the Reader but maybe for a more grown-up audience.
Profile Image for Danny Salinger.
16 reviews9 followers
August 16, 2008
Alright. If, for some reason, the values of individuality or independence are completely alien to you, you should read this book. Everyone else is better off skipping it. It has nothing else to offer and it's got a good chance of convincing that you're smarter or more enlightened than you actually are.

Granted, I was a bit biased against Ayn Rand while reading this. But before reading this I had that sort of play-aversion that you carry around because it's fun to make fun of famous dead people. After reading this my contempt for her has become deep and far-reaching.

The setting is simplistic and nonsensical. Unlike other dystopias such as 1984 or Brave New World, it's not portrait of a functioning oppressive society or a sad commentary on human nature as much as it is a vague, untenable strawman. Other dystopias are written with an awareness or sensitivity towards the human condition. 1984 dealt with our willingness to circumvent logic for a comfortable, patriotic lie. Brave New World dealt with our willingness to completely ignore issues and problems as long as we're entertained. Anthem on the other hand, deals with our willingness to sacrifice logic, comfort, entertainment, and freedom for the good of our neighbors.

Oh wait... that doesn't make sense. In fact it flies in the face of the oldest, and most confounding problem in the social sciences, The Tragedy of the Commons. Biology and psychology have also found that self-sacrifice without compensation is an exceedingly rare phenomenon, and that animals (including humans) are ,as a general rule, selfish. Even the Soviet Union, a major influence behind this book, was only maintained by the general acceptance of the communist ideal for a short time before it was replaced with the KGB and the threat of the gulags. Considering how easy it was for Equality to escape from confinement, I'm comfortable saying that critical element was absent. This might be more excusable if it was meant to be a highly stylized hyperbole like The Giver, but Rand says herself in the introduction that this is not only the inevitable sum of collectivism, but what all socialists and collectivists secretly WANT.

All this leads me to believe that a person who could seriously believe, much less write, this would have to be someone who saw their self-interest as unique, and imagined the majority of humanity a swathe of ambitionless drones. That, or a reader who's mouth salivates at the word "individuality" and who, when it comes to the affairs of the world, automatically equates cynicism to realism because it makes them look clever and critical.

The writing's painfully overwrought as well. You have to understand this book is listed as half-read because despite my several attempts I can't finish it. I either get tired of self-indulgent prose and put it down or I start reading it out loud and I can't take it seriously (a friend and I did this to pass the time while waiting for a bus once.) The character thinks in short, declarative sentences that seem to rely on the reader seeing his struggle as novel and impactful. If you don't do this automatically there's nothing really there to MAKE you. The struggle in question, is a one-dimensional tug of war between We and I without the complexity or variability seen in actual human thought.

Even the treatment of individuality once it's "achieved" is trite. After you figure out the "I" and the "ego" you're pretty much scott-free. You don't have any uncertainty about what you want to do or who you want to be, and you don't have to worry about things like self-deception, insecurity or over-confidence to mess with you. Congratulations, you are one of an elite few! Rand's portrayal of selfishness and independence as some miracle cure is sophomoric and overly simplistic, and it gets hammered into you from the beginning. It's not even as if calls to challenge, question, and break social oppression or embrace your individuality are hard to find, even in Rand's time, and a lot of these calls don't have to resort to strawmen or heady promises of perfection. Read Ender's Game, The Giver, My Side of the Mountain or any other young adult novel. Even song lyrics (Tilly and the Wall, Say Anything, Incubus) treat the topic of self-definition and social constraints with more intelligence. This book might have been revolutionary for its time, but we've moved on as a culture. We've gotten over the novelty of selfishness being a virtue and social control being a bad thing, and we've managed to produce far more intelligent treatments of the subject.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,376 reviews2,249 followers
November 12, 2021

I generally don't read much dystopian, but just thought, 'what the hell, let's give it a go'. Although the concept for Anthem sounded promising, on the whole I felt it was poorly executed. Being relatively short I had nothing to lose, unfortunately by the time I reached the last page, put the book down on the table, went to make a coffee, before gazing out the window, Anthem had already started it's super quick journey of escaping my thoughts, scampering off to the nearest forest.

So then, this is some sort of stupid future, where all sense of the individual is annihilated in deference to the collective state and each man’s role in that society is assigned to him. Even some words have been completely obliterated from the language, and all citizens carry a designation such as 'Equality 7-2521', in this case, the name of our protagonist, who we learn right away was probably unfairly assigned to the duty of street sweeper for the great collective. In this setting, mankind’s reverence for a collective yet compartmentalized society has plunged him back to the dark ages, as all knowledge of the age before was destroyed and society’s new structure continues to keep men floundering in ignorance. 7-2521 is a bit of a rebel, a dystopian luke skywalker, who goes against the values of his society when he finds a secret lair belonging to people from the time before, and resolves to learn its forbidden secrets. Also in this time his newfound wisdom and courage causes him to flirt like Casanova with an attractive girl he calls 'The Golden One'. He starts developing some much forbidden feelings for her. In other words, he wants to jump in her pants.
Our hero flees to the dangerous wilderness, quickly followed by his beloved, and they start their new lives together.

Though Anthem contains some interesting moments, it falls flat on it's face for several reasons, not least because Rand's writing style seems incredibly tedious and pretentiously boring. Also the story just isn't convincing at all, we're expected to believe that the main character is familiar with such complicated terms and expressions which should be unknowable to someone with that kind of background. It's absurd that he's able to pick up books, read them, and understand with little to no problem. Maybe he was a book junky in a previous life, who knows.

As for Rand, she preaches with a sense of disregard, her efforts have been rewarded calling her a visionary, when she is clearly doing nothing more than following a trend to bash communism, socialism, and any political theory that does not promote capitalism and competition. Obviously Rand's own position in Soviet Russia comes into play, fair enough, why wouldn't it.
A Utopian society as fundamentally evil as this because it suppresses technology?. What Rand forgets is that a society's worth should not be judged solely on technological advances and science.
The world is a little more complicated than that to just go lumping things into different categories.

Weak philosophically and written with mediocre literary finesse, I really don't know what all the fuss is about. I regret having wasted my money on it.....Hang on?.....I didn't. It was borrowed. That's the only positive.
Profile Image for Daniel.
203 reviews
December 4, 2013
Mocking, Childish Review

The ending, with the Statue of Liberty emerging from the beach, was a nice twist. "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" As it turns out, it was Earth all along.

And, yes, for those keeping score at home, I do intend to use this exact same review for every dystopian novel I read. At least I amuse myself and, really, isn't that what matters most?

Slightly Less Childish Review

Look, I fully appreciate how Ayn Rand and her family suffered at the hands of the Soviets before she fled for America in the 1920s, and I understand how that would lead her to develop her virulently anti-socialist philosophy and write novels decrying the most dehumanizing aspects of communism. But, as with most propaganda -- and I don't use that word pejoratively, but simply to mean literature used to promote a cause -- it's got an expiration date. It's been two decades since the Berlin Wall fell, and for the vast majority of the world, communism isn't much of a threat anymore. So, aside from studying the history of communism, is there much reason to read such propaganda at this point, especially propaganda as lacking in literary value as "Anthem" and Rand's other books?
I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.

I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.

Aside from plus-sized, pain-killer-addicted Republican talk-radio hosts and octogenarian former Federal Reserve chairmen, who takes this horseshit seriously at this late date?

OK, in addition to the aforementioned, I guess there's one other group of readers for Rand's novels even in the 21st century: self-centered, bookish teenagers seeking affirmation for their assumptions that they alone are individuals, they alone have it all figured out, they alone understand how the world really works, and everyone else is a mindless conformist. Stupid sheep! Then, at some point, Lord willing, those readers grow the hell up, realize that no man is an island after all, and switch to reading real literature. (If not, they become the voice of the GOP, I guess.)

As for the rest of us? Readers wanting to reacquaint themselves with Rand's writing -- especially given the two new biographies out, and much media attention being paid lately to both Rand herself and her ongoing influence on the Republican Party -- can knock off "Anthem" in less than an hour, and not have to waste their time with the brick-sized "Atlas Shrugged" or "The Fountainhead." So "Anthem" gets an extra star for being mercifully short, I guess, and available for free on the Internet. And it's a slightly better book for teenagers than "Twilight," I suppose, with a marginally better message. Marginally.
Profile Image for Lea.
117 reviews338 followers
July 15, 2020
A dystopian novella set in the world where totalitarian collectivism has triumphed to the greatest extent. I did see Rand's potential as a writer, but in this book, her ideas are underdeveloped, and far too simplistic for my taste, and for her to be considered a philosopher, at least at this stage. Book did have some quotable passages but nothing fascinating or invigorating. Also, Rand’s objective is not only simplistic but troubling at times. I’m all up for the quality critique of collectivism and agree with the premise of the importance of maintaining personal identity and freedom, but Rand preaches the overcorrected extreme form of individualism, that is egoism at its core, that I really can’t stand behind. She sees the collective aspect of society as the source of all evil and is completely neglecting its value.

For the word "We" must never be spoken, save by one's choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within man's soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on earth, the root of man's torture by men, and of an unspeakable lie. The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

The foundation for objectivism is laid as rational selfishness is advocated. The sacred meaning of existence is in indulging one's ego. Not for people that see value in altruism! Also, libertarian views are noticeable as she values personal freedom and self-reliance above anything else. And the essence of complete freedom is deliverance from the influence of others. Can help but think that her appeal is built upon psychological trauma from group oppression intertwined with wounded self-worth and need for the approval of egotistical worldview.

To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. That and nothing else.

Rand also considers the idea of falseness and the impossibility of unconditional love. For her, love to be true and authentic has to be conditional.

And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned. I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey.

Besides farfetched ideas and unrefined philosophy, the storyline was unimaginative, with substantial plot holes, and world-building unconvincing. It is a short novel but much more could have been done, and I read writers that did wonders in fewer pages.
I would recommend this book only to people who don’t read at all or don’t read as much, as it is fast-paced and conveys some ideas without requiring a lot of focus or attention, but for a vivid and more experienced reader, I don’t think this work can bring a great deal of satisfaction. (In that sense it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451, I just don’t think that these books are meant for me.) And I can hardly imagine someone seriously interested in philosophy to be excited while reading her ideas - bit maybe I’m wrong, I saw that some of my intelligent friends on GR did like this book and enjoy objectivism, at least as a thought experiment.

If Rand concepts get more complex and advanced in later books as it is said, I think I would like to read them, knowing the level of influence she had and the controversy she sparked. Because of that aspect alone, I’m interested in her work, but for now, not impressed at all.
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books25.4k followers
March 5, 2021

نوفيلا لطيفة، تجربة كثيفة رغم قصرِها.

دستوبيا كلاسيكية عن عالمٍ شموليّ تتلاشى فيهِ الفردانية، إلى درجةِ أنَّ يشيرُ المرء إلى نفسهِ بضمير (نحن)، وأن اكتشاف كلمة (أنا)، ليس فقط تدنيسًا لطهرانية المجتمع المفترضة، إلا أنه شبهُ مستحيل (خاصة بعد شطب الكلمة من اللغة)، ويتطلب رحلة مضنية (على طريقة جوزيف كامبل)، ويشبهُ بلوغه الخلاص الصوفيّ؛ وأقل ما يمكن قوله عنه أنه انفجارٌ لغويٌّ يجعل المرء يرى العالم بعينٍ أخرى.

يسهل وضع "ترتيلة" على رفٍ واحد مع "نحن" لـ يغفيني زامياتين، "مزرعة الحيوان" و"1984" لـ جورج أورويل، و451 فهرنهايت لـ برادبيري، والمفاجأة أنها سبقتها جميعًا. كتبت ترتيلة في 1937 ونشرت في 1938. نحنُ زامياتين نشرت (الطبعة الكاملة) في 1952، وأورويل نشر مزرعة الحيوان في 1945، وبرادبيري في 1953. لا أدري لماذا تخلو مراجعات تلك الأعمال من الإشارة إلى آيان راند بصفتها رائدة في كتابة أدب المدينة الفاسدة، وعرابة لأعمال فاقتها شهرة (وأناقة أحيانًا).

اللافت في الرواية هو الاشتغال على اللغة، تفجيرُ إمكانياتها كجهاز قمعي، وأيضًا كآلية تحررية. فكرة اشتغلَ عليها أورويل في 1984 من خلال تقليص القواميس حتى لا يعودُ المرء قادرًا على الوصول إلى كلمةٍ مناسبة لأفكاره. تكريس الاغترابِ من خلال جعل التعبير تعجيزيًا. على خلاف أورويل، جعلت راند التحرر من خلال اللغة. وقد وجدتُ نفسي أتبسّمُ مليًا، في الصفحة الأولى تحديدًا، لأنّني يندرُ أن أقرأ رواية تتحدث بضمير المتكلم (نحن)، يمكن للرواية أن تقول أشياء كثيرة من خلال تفصيلة فنية بهذه البساطة.

لو أنني قرأتُ (ترتيلة) قبل عشر سنواتٍ، مثلا، لتماهيتُ معها تمامًا. فكلّنا بشكلٍ أو بآخر يحاربُ لأجل فرادته في عالمٍ شموليّ. لكنني أعتقدُ بأن ما حدثَ في العقد الأخير يتطلب مراجعة نقدية لطبيعة الدستوبيات القائمة والممكنة. النظام اليوم لا يطلبُ منك أن تصبح نسخة من النموذج الذي فصّلت مقاساته السلطة بصراحة، بل يوهمكَ بأنك حرٌ فيمَ أنت تتحوّل إلى شخص منوم مغناطيسيًا يشتري أشياء لا يحتاجها. ما أريد قوله أن الديستوبيا التي تصنعها الرأسمالية في تغوّلها مختلفة في تفاصيلها عن الديستوبيا المستوحاة من المجتمعات الشيوعية. (التي هربت منها راند)، شيءٌ على غرار ما قرأناه في رواية (كواليتي لاند) العظيمة.

وأخيرًا، أعتقدُ بأن الرأسمالية استثمرتْ كثيرًا في فكرة الفردية (وليس التفرّد)، على طريقة جاءت مناقضة لطبيعة البشر بصفتهم كائنات تتوق إلى العلاقات والانتماء. وهي فكرة مضللة، والأهمّ أنها خاطئة ومضادة لطبيعتنا سيكولوجيًا وفسيولوجيًا أيضًا. لذا لا أستطيع أن ألوم راند إذا نادت بهذه الفكرة، فهي امرأة هاربة من روسيا إلى أمريكا في لحظة تاريخية حساسية. لكنْ يصعب عليّ قراءة عمل كهذا دون أن أقول، في هذه اللحظة التاريخية أيضًا، في 2021، الدستوبيا الرأسمالية ليست أقل سوءًا من الشيوعية.

شكرًا دار أثر على الاختيار الممتاز، وشكرًا نوف الميموني على الترجمة الجميلة.
Profile Image for Heather.
69 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2007
This book really helped me get my self esteem back together. This was my mantra going into college.... I think it got me through a lot of BS. It is not bad to remind yourself of the following things every once in a while.....

"I am. I think. I will.

My hands . . . My spirit . . . My sky . . . My forest . . . This earth of mine. . . . What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.

Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!"

Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me.

I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.

Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.

I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!

I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.

I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.

I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned."

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
July 8, 2016
Compared to the voluminous Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Anthem is a chapter.

But Rand may have been better adapted to writing shorter fiction because this one packs a lean, economical and hungry punch. Dystopian but told like a fable, this is a serious work that works on multiple levels. Very good.

Of the three works, I liked them in this order:

The Fountainhead
Atlas Shrugged

Profile Image for Jill.
156 reviews13 followers
July 27, 2007
Ayn Rand was the most overrated writer (I can't even call her a philosopher) of the 20th century, and a great gaping asshole to boot. This book is yet another to support those facts.
Profile Image for Jonny.
Author 1 book22 followers
August 16, 2007
Of all the dystopian novels I have read, this one felt like one of the least inspired. The characters are one-dimensional, the story lacks context altogether, and is entirely made to support Rand's liberal philosophies. Sure, it's really short--so is Animal Farm, but that is a story with depth. Ironically, they both claim to be about Soviet Russia--or at least the author's experience with such. I hope I can claim that my reasoning for disliking this book has more to do with its content, and less to do with the Ayn Rand's complete and utter ignorance.
Profile Image for Amy.
25 reviews1 follower
February 17, 2008
A truly interesting read, Ayn Rand's book holds a captivating narrative. But as I watched the character swerve from the absolute collective to an absolute, egocentric conclusion, I ended up pitying the hero and his hapless companion for stumbling upon the wrong conclusion upon which they would base the rest of their existence. And what happened to "The Golden One" (his much less assertive true love)? All I could see was that for all the hero's self realization, his mate was merely a follower and a worshiper of his fantastic, glowing sacred "I". I am sorry to say Ayn Rand started with a great idea of individualism and ended in the trainwreck of selfish isolation.
Profile Image for Kevin Kuhn.
Author 2 books564 followers
November 2, 2018
I actually read a recently printed graphic novel version of Anthem adapted by Jennifer Grossman and illustrated by Dan Parsons (did many Star Wars graphic novels). Rand originally wrote this dystopia sci fi novella back in the late 1930's. It's given a beautiful, but somewhat dark and gritty visual interpretation by Parsons, that made it easy and fun to read. I've read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in the past, both good, but somewhat laborious reading. I read this in about thirty minutes and it felt like cheating, getting through an Ayn Rand work in that little time! However, it might be the most pointed Rand work, emphasizing her beliefs in such short order.

The plot itself is straight-forward. The planet has nearly experience destruction at the hands of (nuclear?) war leaving a dark time. Mankind rises in a 'great rebirth' only though an extreme authoritarian world order that worships 'We' at the complete expense of indvidual freedom. Individuals are not allowed to read, think, choose their occupation, or even love. This keeps society in near perpetual dark ages for an extended time, with only a revolutionary breakthru coming in the form of candle making!!! A man and woman dare to break free and I'll stop there to avoid any spoilers.

As an allegory it's effective, although somewhat heavy-handed. It hammers on the point that if we take socialism too far, we give up too many freedoms and destroy our ability to create, grow, and even love. I don't disagree with the central theme, except to say life isn't that simple. We have to have some level of social order and give up some freedoms to have peace and to support the less fortunate, etc.. The trick is what is right level? That's not answered here. However, it's a great reminder that we cannot lose our basic individual freedoms and people do occasionally forget that. We cannot lose 'I' due to the complete worship of 'We'!
Profile Image for Lee  (the Book Butcher).
255 reviews67 followers
December 4, 2021
This is short and blunt and to that end I'll be short and blunt. Anthem has many of the elements one would expect dystopian fiction. But an utter lack of a devolved storyline. There's a story here but it moves very fast and is told past tense. The last bit is just a series of statements on how the narrator plans to live or his "anthem". major theme is coming from a restricting society of "we" to the superior induvial "I" this would be a good introduction to the dystopian genre but to someone who has read all the great work i the field like A brave new world, we, and 1984 I'd rather like those more comprehensive stories!
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,629 followers
December 6, 2015
I should say right up front that I'm not at all familiar with Ayn Rand. I own a couple of her books, but I never read any of them until now. I never studied her in school and I'm not familiar with her philosophies, though I know that they are somewhat controversial and polarizing. And I am not a philosophical type person... so take this review with a grain of salt.

This is my first experience reading any of her work, and... I'm not really all that impressed. I got the lack of individuality theme right around paragraph two or so, when I realized that Equality 7-2521 wasn't literally referring to multiple people when he said "we" but just to himself. And so it wasn't that hard to predict where this was going. Maybe it's because I've read and seen quite a lot of dystopian themed work in my life, but this came across as very predictable to me. In fact, bits of it reminded me of Logan's Run and THX 1138, though I do realize that this was written well before both of those.

So, this society is based on The Borg the collective, and all existence is supposed to be to toil for the good of the whole. There's no explanation of how they got to this point and the population is very small, in the thousands, so I'm thinking that since there's mention of a great fire, there must have been a war or nuclear blast or something, and the survivors rebuilt society in the best way that they knew how... We need some people to clean up, we need some people to figure stuff out and help rebuild, we need some people to grow food, and some people to cook it, and some people to teach the next generation, and so on. But somewhere along the line, the people in power decided they liked it, and that limiting individual thought and convincing people that the whole is the only thing that matters, and any not following the rules would be whipped or killed, allowed them to keep it. Just your standard communist cult.

I don't necessarily think that socialism or collectivism is inherently bad. There are many communities that make it work, but when free will, knowledge, self, and choice are banned, and the collective replaces one's identity and purpose, that can be bad. This book illustrates this extreme form, and at the end once the main character discovers his sense of self, he claims that he will never again use the term "we". I guess I can understand wanting to break away from that concept completely and live truly freely and aware, but it struck me as just as ignorant, because how else will you refer to a group to which you belong by choice? The main character is not ALONE, he's just discovered he is an individual. There's a difference, and that difference matters, because "we" can be a good type of inclusive, and does not necessarily equate to a loss of self.

Rand seemed to have strong opinions on this, and that's cool... I just don't entirely buy into them.

Anyway, I liked that it was journal style, even though it was technically 1st person. It worked though in this case, because for him, there is no concept of a singular person existing just in their own head, so it's like he assumed from the very beginning that his writings would be read by someone else. I liked that he was also learning about himself as he wrote, so it was kind of like he was explaining things to himself and discovering his own thoughts at the same time. But, once he starts reading at the house, and discovers his sense of self, Rand goes a bit wild via this character. He definitely doesn't read like a 21 year old, and definitely not a 21 year old who has only had limited education and has been discouraged from thinking and questioning his whole life. His epiphany reads like a lifelong philosophy scholar coached him. It was a little overwrought at the end.

Still, I didn't HATE it, so I guess that is a plus. It's just one of those books that will eventually just fade to nothingness or blur together with every other dystopia I've read or will read. There's nothing really compelling here. It was just OK.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,382 followers
January 2, 2015
When dystopian novels - or any science fiction novels - are useful, it's not because they predict the future in any exact way. It's fun when they happen to get it right, but it's beside the point. They're not about the future; they're about now. So Zamyatin's We (1921) shows a future in which individuality has been willfully destroyed in order to point out the shortcomings of the post-revolution Soviet state. Huxley's Brave New World (1931) takes Henry Ford's philosophy to its logical extreme not because he thinks we might end up there precisely, but to criticize what it's up to right now.

Dystopia in the hands of a good writer is an elaborate way of saying, "Chill, dude." In the hands of a nutjob, it's Anthem.

Like Huxley before her, Rand rips off We blatantly. The generic names assigned to people and the annihilation of the individual; the impersonal mating system; the illegality of being alone; the shutting-out of nature; the mythical past war that destroyed civilization; the banning of literature; most obviously, the very word "We," which is used elegantly in Zamyatin's masterpiece and like a fucking jackhammer in Anthem (1937).

But at its core, Anthem is about something different. It uses its extreme vision of the future to propound an equally extreme philosophy for today, and that's why it's crazy talk.
The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it...the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong...

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it?
This is a sophomoric thing to say. When you take collective living to its grotesque extreme, it doesn't mean that any collective thinking at all is terrible. It means that you shouldn't take it to its grotesque extreme. Zamyatin knew this. It doesn't take a genius, but it's still beyond Ayn Rand. Anthem is an overreaction. It's loony, extremist, fanatic. It's stupid.

And this book is terrible. It's amateurishly written, as all her books are. Its characters are ludicrously one-dimensional - particularly its lone woman - as all her characters are. It steals its setting wholesale from We, and then drives it pell-mell over the edge of a cliff: Rand's plagiarized We without understanding it. It's poorly written and poorly thought, and it's a crap book.

Literature is never dangerous. To read literature is just to have someone else's idea. And ideas are never dangerous. I have all kinds of ideas: good ones, bad ones, silly ones. The dangerous thing is bad judgment: when you're wrong about which ideas are good, and which are bad. Go ahead and read Anthem, but don't be mistaken: it's a bad idea.
Profile Image for TK421.
556 reviews261 followers
February 1, 2012
First off, let me say this: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON! You have prohibited a great cover of this novel from showing here on goodreads. The cover I speak of looks like this: five ghostly apparitions stand forlornly, one is reaching toward a light that looks as if it is an exploding star; they all have chains on their wrists; the far right figure, the only woman, is tenderly reaching for the hand of the man trying to grasp the light; a pitch black background acts as a backdrop. It is the perfect cover for this novel. It tells so much without revealing anything (that is unless you have read the novel). So I say again: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON.

Okay, now on to the book.

ANTHEM by Ayn Rand is a novel set in a far-off post apocalyptic future, in a world where technology has been relegated into the land of myth and fancy. People of this world are no longer given birth names; they are given a name according to the cohort they were born into. It is a world where the individual is less than the collective.

This is the story of Equality 7-2521. In the beginning, they (he) are destined to be great thinkers. No other cohort in history has thought the way they (he) do(es). But this is not to be. Equality 7-2521 is given the job of Street Sweeper by the Council of Vocations. It is this council that determines what is essential for the collective at the moment. Equality 7-2521 does a grand job of keeping the streets clean. It is not until they (he) comes across Liberty 5-3000, renamed the Golden One, that Equality 7-2521 begins to think outside of the proverbial collective box. Later, when Equality 7-2521 discovers a secret cave (which in reality is an abandoned subway tunnel) does the meaning of individuality actually begin to take root in their (his) head. While stealing away to this “secret place” Equality 7-2521 begins to experiment with copper wires, eventually making an apparatus that conducts electricity. Equality 7-2521 is overwhelmed by this discovery, and wants to share it with the World Council of Scholars. But before they (he) can do that, it is discovered that they (he) is not in at curfew. Equality 7-2521 is taken away to the Palace of Corrective Detention where they (he) are beaten and tortured and interrogated. Equality 7-2521 never talks, not so much as a whisper. When they (he) decide to escape, the morning of the meeting for the World Council of Scholars, they (he) bring the electrical apparatus. When shown the device, the members of the World Council of Scholars shirk back from it in fear. When Equality 7-2521 offers to give the council this gift, they scoff at him and berate them (him) for thinking not of the brotherhood but of only them(self). Equality 7-2521 refuses to be detained again and runs off into the Uncharted Forest with the device, there they (he) wander aimlessly, and await the moment a beast tears them to shreds. But it is not a beast that confronts them (him); it is the Golden One that finds them (him). Together, Equality 7-2521 and the Golden One go on a journey further into the Uncharted Forrest. When they happen to come across an old cabin, they investigate the relics left behind from the Unimaginable Times, mainly books. It is at this moment that Equality 7-2521 goes from them to him. It is at this time that he begins to understand that “I” can be more powerful than “we”. With this new knowledge, Equality 7-2521 renames himself, Prometheus. It is also at this time that he gives the Golden One a new name, Gaea. It is at this time that first-person narration takes over. (The rest of the novel you will have to read for yourself.)

For this reader, the premise of this novel is intriguing. The setup and the style in which it is written allows for a fast paced story, packed with delicious nuggets of thought. And, to boot, Rand wrote this as a writing exercise while she was outlining ATLAS SHRUGGED. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Rand was a big sloppy bowl of crazy. But what she has written in ANTHEM is a testament of what people should do to keep their governments in check. Basically, Rand tells the reader to remember this: governments work for the people, not the other way around.

Alongside Yevgeny Zamyatin’s WE, ANTHEM is considered a classic within post apocalyptic literature. I’ve never read WE, but I will be certain to read it sooner than later. Is ANTHEM a good book? Sure. Is it a book worth reading eighty plus years after it was published? Yep. Does it have all the answers? Not even close. This is a book of ideas. Plot and characterization and setting are shadily written. Perhaps that is the genius of this brief 120 page novel. Perhaps Rand wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with their own struggles against their own government. Regardless, this is a quick read that any reader of science fiction, or any person interested in the struggle between individualism and collectivism should read. If anything, it should make you think.

Profile Image for Rowena.
500 reviews2,463 followers
November 11, 2013
“It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil.” - Ayn Rand, Anthem

Before my Goodreads days, before I knew anything about Ayn Rand, I kept spotting her name on booklists and decided to buy a few of her books. It took me a while to learn that Rand was persona non grata.I did read Atlas Shrugged and surprisingly found it quite fascinating despite not ascribing to her philosophy of objectivism in the least, and despite finding the characters highly unlikeable.

‘Anthem’ was interesting. I liked the writing style, and I enjoyed Rand’s depiction of a dystopic world, one in which the pronoun ‘I' is not used as it is a collectivist society with no time for individuality. This is a society in which writing is considered a sin, where you are given your career choice on the whims of those in charge (the Council of Vocation), not on your ability or personal preferences; a very rigid society where at 40 years of age, you are considered old and useless.

Anthem did remind me of Orwell’s 1984 in a way. To me, the protagonist Equality 7-2521 was another Winston, someone who didn’t like the status quo, who was awakened but didn’t want to risk his life to show others that he was.
My only problem with this book is that it was too short! I would have loved to see how the story played out.
Profile Image for Matt.
7 reviews
October 31, 2012
Quick read with a lasting impression. Released over a decade before George Orwell's '1984', this is Rand's objection to the idea of Socialist unity and embraces the idea of the human ego and individualism.

Rand herself described this story as a poem, allowing the story to flow. She is able to enforce her philosophy of 'objectivism' without the challenge of a long winded novel (Atlas Shrugged, anyone?)

Although her writing in 'Anthem' is more transparent then her norm, the book still captivates and makes it's point.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,813 followers
November 29, 2012
Ayn Rand is I think deserving of the appellation "an odd duck". One of her dearest ideas (and I would suppose ideals) is the the right, willingness and ability to think for one's self. But she functioned in her life with the approach, "my way or the high-way".

This book is worth reading and I think there are valuable things to take away from this little novella. But you need to be able to think. Ms. Rand is a classic case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." I'd say, read and learn, but don't be guilty of the simply absorbing and following...think for yourself.

Any more on this and I'll have to go into my own ideas and thoughts. Happy to talk about them, but I won't foist them on you in the review.
Profile Image for Mads.
107 reviews14 followers
July 1, 2007
I never quite figured out why my highschool lit teacher made this required reading. It's something I've always wondered about. Anthem struck me as too much "anti-communist." Somewhat propaganda material for the anti-communist forces. I've always been skeptical of rabid anti-communism. In the novella, the characters have serial numbers instead of names, isn't that what's happening in the capitalist system as well, with our identity cards and employee numbers?
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