Book Reviews of Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand
ISBN-13: 9780451191137
ISBN-10: 0451191137
Publication Date: 3/1/1996
Pages: 253
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 261 ratings
Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

32 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 4 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
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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.
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Helpful Score: 1
A quick read, but a quicker and more enjoyable one that makes the same point is Vonnegut's very short story, Harrison Bergeron. This one is simplistic and a really bad argument for what happens if people consider the good of the community instead of just their own needs. I read it in an evening and consider it a wasted evening. Loved the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
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Helpful Score: 1
Is this Ayn Rand's shortest book? No, that was We the Living. This is a good one--better than Atlas Shrugged. If you have to choose one Ayn Rand book to read, I suggest The Fountainhead; this is the second one I would recommend. Her themes are repetitous and blunt--she is hardly subtle, and is even cartoonish in places. But everyone should read at least one Rand book, just to know what his or her teenager is brooding about. :) Perfect for the late-adolescent sensibility, and the ideas are interesting, if delivered in a bit of a bludgeoning style.
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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.
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Nice short sample of Ayn Rand's writing. This book shows us what might happen once society decides to outlaw individuality in favor of the common good. Like all of Ayn Rand's writings, this book is a political commentary on the tangible and emotional benefits of capitalism and individuality. It is very well written, quite interesting plot and never dry. One of my pre teens really liked it while the other (most likely because he was assigned to read it) did not.
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IMO, this is a very condensed version of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. No excessive repetition of Rand's philosophy. Chapter 11 clearly states her philosophy and is probably one of her best pieces of writing. The similarities to the book We by Yevgeny Zamyatin are scary. I'm reluctant to speculate that the plagiarism of ideas took place, but it is very possible to come up with this idea of "WE" instead of "I", given the fact that both authors lived in communist Russia.
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After starting, and eventually giving up on Ayn Rands novel, Atlas Shrugged, I was hesitant to pick up another of her books. However, Anthem came highly recommended and its more of a novella, as just a fraction of the size of other Rand novels.

I absolutely loved Anthem and Im so glad that I gave it a shot. I am not a fast reader, and I easily finished the entire book in one day. Its written in short bursts, a stark contrast to the drawn out paragraphs and dialogues that make up Atlas Shrugged. The story is concise, and powerful. Its takes a little time to get used to the style of the writing, but the story line easily carries the reader into Rands fictional, futuristic, collective society.
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I enjoy reading Ayn Rand and this book did not disappoint. Couldn't put it down, the story ended too soon.
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This novel was required reading for my freshman year of high school. The story fascinated me and led me to the world of utopian/dystopian books, which are now my favorite genre. Rand takes you into a place where everyone is told they are equal, but can it be possible?
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This is another futuristic prophesy in the vein of Zamiatins We, Huxleys Brave New World, Orwells 1984, Mores Utopia, and maybe even a precursor to Kurt Vonneguts Player Piano and Bradburys Fahrenheit 451. Collectivism reigns and life is a dictatorial caste system. Everyone is a collective person (we, they); there is no I. There is a ray of hope at the end. Maybe the world can be rebuilt as it was. To read this by itself loses something today. Read as many of the similar books as you can find.
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Interesting book. I put off reading it in high school but am glad I finally did.
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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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Pretty good book. I was just sad at how short it was.
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A slightly strange, short read. Good message.
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Ayn Rand is a brilliant writer. Her talent as an artist is outstanding. Though her philosophy is basically just recycled Nietzsche. Egoistic humanism, romantically upholding the greatness of man and reason. Lacking any basis in reason for why man should be so highly esteemed. She seems to be saying that man is great, because he builds tall buildings, and makes beautiful music, and art and culture and all that. And man makes art, and beautiful music, and tall buildings and all that, because man is great. I find it to be circular logic, and faulty philosophy that leaves us lost not really knowing our place in the world. That's how I see it at least.
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Great fictional story highlighting the problems and dangers of communism. The main character rediscovers the forbidden concept of "I". Good stuff and a quick read.
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The ultimate tale of the triumph of the human spirit. A great read - but what would you expect!?
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Ayn Rand'd classic tale of a future dark age of the great "We"-in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values-anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
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Ayn Rand's classic tale of a future dark age of the great " WE"- a world that deprives individuals of name, independence, and values.
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chilling, especially in the age of McDonald's and Starbucks the same for all services and choices.
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Enjoyable read and brief introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy. While Rand tends to take her ideas to the extreme in her books, it's frightening looking at the world around us and seeing those in power slowly leading us down that path that if taken to a final conclusion could be the cause of Rand's world. Simple read, much easier to get into than her opus, Atlas Shrugged (which is necessary reading in it's own right)
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This is a very good story. A complicated sci-fi, one of Ayn Rand's best and shorter books.
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Great book! Includes a seperate section with the revisions of the author.
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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 heard. He was a man alone. Includes excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand in which she discusses this work, and an introduction by her heir, Leonard Peikoff.
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Quite simply the best book I've ever read. Compelling. Short. Really impacted my life and way of thinking, permanently.
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I am surprised that none of the other reviewers on here noted how truly corny this book is. Maybe it was innovative at the time but I found it trite and rather obvious.
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A classic tale portraying the value of individualism...

"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 becaues he had comitted the unpardonable sin: he had stood forth from the mindless human herd. He was a man alone."

This edition includes an intro. by Ayn Rand's heir, Leonard Peikoff. It contains excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand--letters, interviews, and journal notes, in which she discusses Anthem. The Appendix reproduces the entire original British edition with Ayn Rand's handwritten edtorial changes.
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I have other titles by Ayn Rand and enjoy her writing style. Much shorter than the other books so was a quick read. Would recommend this book to see if you like her writing.
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a classic
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this book has a different cover...