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Anthem
Anthem
Author: Ayn Rand
This provocative book is "an anthem sung in praise of man's ego" from the legendary author Ayn Rand — Anthem has long been hailed as one of Ayn Rand's classic novels, and a clear predecessor to her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independe...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780451191137
ISBN-10: 0451191137
Publication Date: 3/1/1996
Pages: 253
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 262

3.6 stars, based on 262 ratings
Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed Anthem on + 377 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
An extremely quick read that's a bit difficult to get into, initially, because of pronoun use. It's completely understood by the end, though, and serves to emphasize the point of the book. However, if you're familiar at all with Rand, you probably know what she's getting at before you read it.

This is perfect introductory book for anyone interested in Rand who has not yet worked up the courage to tackle _The Fountainhead_ or _Atlas Shrugged_.
tish avatar reviewed Anthem on + 384 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
WOW...it has been years since i have read this book but it will leave you breathless like all of her other books.
it is a story of a man's escape from a society that has become homoginized. a great read
reviewed Anthem on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is another one of those books that I read a long time ago, but that stays in my mind. To me, that is the mark of a truly good book. The negative utopia as seen in this book is only a short distance away if we don't learn that government is here to work for us, and not that we are here to work for the government. Like 1984, this book shows what can happen to a society that gets too dependent on its government. You lose your identity and all that is dear to you. Although it is a very small book, there is a lot of meat in those few pages. I would argue that this tiny novel has as much to contribute as Ayn Rand's other famous (and gigantic) work, The Fountainhead.
reviewed Anthem on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It's amazing how short the classics actually are in some cases. I flew through this book. It was a very emotional ride, set in a nightmare future that's all to possible...
reviewed Anthem on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A very short work by Ayn Rand in which she imagines a 1984-like dystopian world. One man and woman attempt to break away from the stern tyrrany, and create a life in which they experience freedom. I loved this book when I read it many years ago: I read it all in one sitting.
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reviewed Anthem on + 2 more book reviews
Accidentally requested (meant to order We the Living), this book is actually available for free download via iBooks and Project Gutenberg. Nonetheless, I appreciated this book for its brevity in contrast to Rand's other tomes. Fast and picturesque, although polarizing for its ideological stances. Out of her bibliography, probably the book with the most appeal across the aisle.
reviewed Anthem on
I enjoy reading Ayn Rand and this book did not disappoint. Couldn't put it down, the story ended too soon.
marauder34 avatar reviewed Anthem on + 63 more book reviews
Written by Ayn Rand, Anthem is a hymn to the importance of the individual, set in a dystopic future where a totalitarian regime has all but eradicated individual choice and even individual identity. The protagonist is a man named Equality 7-2521, although he later chooses the name Prometheus, because he hopes to return the spark of individual value to a world that has lost it.

Anthem is Rand's first work to advance her Objectivist philosophy, which grew in large part as a response to the Bolshevik Revolution during her childhood, and her family's ensuing loss of wealth and comfort. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the dystopia in "Anthem" is a grotesquerie of collectivism. In the course of the story, Equality 7-2521 recounts the various sins he commits: a desire to learn and to understand the world, rather than being content with being a street sweeper, the job that was assigned for him by the committee; singing and being happy, because everyone is already happy in this dystopic paradise, and he should not presume to be happier than his fellows; feeling and friendship and love for specific people, because that means he favors some people over others; and of course, being taller and healthier than others, because difference is wrong.

In that sense, "Anthem" has an empowering message for teens and other young readers who may feel social pressure from their own peers to be something other than what they want to be, or to do things that don't interest them. It is a good thing for people to pursue their own dreams, forget their own identities, and conform to others' expectations for themselves, rather than to forge their own identities and pursue the things that interest them.

But one of the things that irks me about Rand's philosophy, especially as I've seen it applied by libertarians in recent years, is that it rejects the notion of responsibility to one another. (Equality 7-2521 is pretty clear on this point in Chapter 11.) The other thing is that, particularly in books like "Atlas Shrugged," Rand inverts the order of the world and claims despite all logic that it is the wealthy and the powerful who are oppressed and exploited by society, and not the people whose hard work makes their success and fortune possible.

In order for a society to truly function and not come apart at the seams in a generation, it is necessary for us to respect the inherent worth we have as human beings created in the Imago Dei, something Equality 7-2521 explicitly and repeatedly rejects in his grand-sounding but ultimately self-serving essays at the end of the book.

Ironically, as Equality 7-2521 becomes the the first of Rand's characters to espouse this worldview, he claims for himself the name "Prometheus." Unlike Rand's sympathetic but ultimately unlikeable hero, the original Prometheus was driven by compassion for others and a concern for their welfare that came before his own. By bringing fire from Olympus to Earth, Prometheus earned the ire of Zeus and for a thousand years was tormented daily by an eagle that came to tear out his liver, which would regrow every night so that he could suffer anew in the morning.

Which Prometheus would you say is the better, and more moral role model?


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