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A New York Times Notable Book
A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
Ayn Rand’s books have attracted three generations of readers, shaped the Libertarian movement, influenced White House economic policies throughout the Reagan years and beyond, and inspired the Tea Party movement. Yet twenty-eight years after her death, readers know very little about her life.
In this seminal biography, Anne C. Heller traces the controversial author’s life from her childhood in Bolshevik Russia to her years as a Hollywood screenwriter, the publication of her blockbuster novels, and the rise and fall of the cult that worshipped her in the 1950s and 1960s. Based on original research in Russia and scores of interviews with Rand’s acquaintances and former acolytes, Ayn Rand and the World She Made is a comprehensive and eye-opening portrait of one of the most significant and improbable figures of the twentieth century.
“Splendid. . . . A cleanly and compellingly written biography of one of the strangest, most controversial and most widely read writers of the 20th century.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A thoughtful, flesh-and-blood portrait of an extremely complicated and self-contradictory woman, coupling this character study with literary analysis and plumbing the quirkier depths of Rand’s prodigious imagination.” —The New York Times
“[An] outstanding biography that reveals much about a figure who to this point has been chronicled only by biased disciples.” —Washington Monthly
“Dramatic and very timely.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Offer[s] ammunition for fans and skeptics alike.” —The Washington Post
“A thoroughly researched, immensely readable portrait of a sui generis thinker who was fiercely committed to her ideals yet whose life contained fascinating contradictions.” —The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy
“A comprehensive study, in novelistic detail, of Rand’s personal life.” —Time
“One imagines that Rand would have approved of much of what Heller has written: the balanced tone of her book, its reasonableness, its respect for what a struggling Russian refugee accomplished and achieved. And yet having finished the biography, one can almost hear the impossible Rand railing against Heller’s failure to award her the place she always believed she deserved in the pantheon of the most glorious, solitary, and self-made literary giants.” —Bookforum
“[A] work of historical scholarship that seek[s] to illuminate Rand’s complexities rather than simply to support or condemn her.” —Harper’s Magazine
“Skillful. . . . [A] detailed and engaging portrait of Rand’s interior life.” —The New Republic
“The picture of Rand that emerges from Ms. Heller’s book is all the more damning because the biographer is obviously fair-minded and, indeed, something of an admirer of her subject.” —The New Criterion