Atlas Shrugged (1957)
Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s ultimate novel and a dramatization of her ideas and of her vision. It is the portrayal of the pinnacle of human existence and how such an existence can be achieved. In its pages, we find perspectives and solutions we do not find elsewhere, and this is what garnered this book, and its author, such popularity.
This novel presents various opposing themes that fall under the spectrum of egoism versus altruism, individualism versus collectivism, and reason versus blind faith. It seeks to give answers regarding which side is beneficial and which side is pernicious to humanity – and what steps we can take to maximize the benefit and minimize the harm.
At its core, this is a mystery story. It presents us with the mystery of the disappearance and/or perversion of the most prominent people and brightest minds of the world, as well as with the aftermath of this and the way the world copes with it. However, the goal of this mystery story is not simply resolving this situation, but also of resolving how to rediscover the essence of what it means to be human. And throughout this whole ordeal, one question shines above the rest. “Who is John Galt?”
The main characters, and the “detectives” in charge of solving this mystery, are steel magnate, Hank Rearden, and railroad executive, Dagny Taggart. They struggle with finding the resolution that would lead to the rebirth of society, while being met with seemingly unexplainable opposition from both the public and the government; they are forced to navigate this opposition in their search to further industrial civilization and human well-being.
Follow their journey and discover if this “fools errand” bears fruit.