Novelist, screenwriter, philosopher and staunch advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) saw communism, Nazism and fascism as kindred evils sprung from the same collectivist mentality. Her atheist philosophy, which she called objectivism and which was reflected in her bestselling novels--The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged--extolled individualism, voluntary cooperation and conscious choice while condemning altruism (living for others) and self-sacrifice as moral fallacies. These themes resound in her outspoken, sometimes strident correspondence, which includes letters to Senator Barry Goldwater, Frank Lloyd Wright, H.L. Mencken, Dashiell Hammett, Cecil B. DeMille and actors Robert Stack and Barbara Stanwyck. Sprinkled with critiques of liberals, leftists and others whom she saw as corrupted by collectivist thinking, the voluminous correspondence reflects Rand's desperate concern for her parents and sisters, trapped under Stalinism in her native Russia (which she left for Hollywood in 1926), and includes her analyses of her novels' plots as well as pessimistic cultural commentary on an America she considered to be in decline. Berliner is executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995 Release date: 06/01/1995 Genre: Nonfiction
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