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Goddess of the market : Ayn Rand and the American Right /
Jennifer Burns.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
description
369 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0195324870 (hardcover : acid-free paper), 9780195324877 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
isbn
0195324870 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
9780195324877 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
catalogue key
6966693
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 299-360) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-10-27:
Twenty-five years after her death, Ayn Rand, novelist and creator of objectivist theory, is as revered and mocked a public intellectual as any of the 20th century. As the nation is caught in polarizing libertarian versus government debates, Rand is even more influential now than at the height of her popularity in the early 1960s. Here, Burns (history, Univ. of Virginia) produces a rigorously intellectual biography devoid of both condescension and deference. While Burns points out the inconsistency between Rand's belief in individualism and her demands for devout allegiance from like-minded fans, Burns gives credit to Rand's compelling rejection of state expansion when set against New Deal and Great Society currents. An early Goldwater enthusiast generally despised by the mainstream Right for her radical secularism, Rand had a fervor that was linked to her experience with Bolsheviks from whom she fled in the 1920s. Verdict Although dedicated Rand adherents and detractors will value Burns's depth, contextualization, and insightful interpretations, serious historians of American culture are the main audience for this excellent monograph.-Scott H. Silverman, Earlham Coll., Richmond, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2009-09-07:
Ayn Rand's most famous books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell in the hundreds of thousands every year, decades after they were issued. She was a significant influence on Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Craigslist's Craig Newman. Rand remains many things to many people since her death in 1982, as she did throughout her prickly, anxiety-laced, amphetamine- and nicotine-fueled life. This biography and critique is exasperatingly detailed and slow-going at times. But what University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War-her opposition to it drove most conservatives crazy. Burns does not give short shrift to the men in Rand's life: her longtime husband, Frank O'Connor, and intellectual partner and lover, Nathaniel Branden. Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism. 12 b&w photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2010-03-01:
In tracing the political and intellectual development of Ayn Rand (1905-82), Burns (history, Univ. of Virginia) begins with Rand's childhood in Russia, using it to illustrate how the author's experiences with communism shaped her thoughts about limited government and capitalism. Burns's access to previously unreleased papers and archives allows her to shed light on influences on Rand and on her conservative thought. She provides insight into the important people in Rand's life, individuals who helped shape her thinking--e.g., her husband Frank O'Connor, psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden, and writer Isabel Paterson. In addition to documenting Rand's writing process and the ways in which her major works, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, developed and changed, the author delineates Rand's interest in film and her development as a screenwriter for Hollywood studios. Along the way, Burns details not only Rand's development--including the evolution of her philosophy of objectivism--but also changes in society. This is a significant contribution to Rand scholarship and an engaging read for anyone interested in Rand or 20th-century politics and intellectual life. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; researchers and faculty; general readers. M. L. Jackson The University of Alabama
Reviews
Review Quotes
[an] important study
A pleasure to read.
A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.
At last! A well-balances book about Ayn Rand (1905-82), the guru of selfishness. After all the attack memoirs and right-wing adulation, Jennifer Burns has finally given us an intellectual biography
a well researched and readable account of Objectivist philosophy, Rand's life and accounts of the sometimes misanthropic personalities if not the philosophy involved.
A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts. Goddess of the Market goes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand's ideas and their somewhat marginalized status.
balanced and engaging
Burns, a professor of history, more ably situates Rand within and against the world of American conservatism
Burns contributes so much to understanding the philosophies behind Rand's literature, libertarian thinking, and the philosophical underpinnings of the American right, that this book is sure to be of interest to many.
Burns has crafted a superb biography that traces her influence, places Rand in historical context, avoids both condemnation and hagiography, and undercuts the view, fostered by Rand herself, that she was a self-created genius.
Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand's intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as "the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right" elaborating: "Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty.
"Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait, The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical "Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand's fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."--Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution "Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand's operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."--Paula Baker, Ohio State University
"Burns, who is not an objectivist, spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book -- a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker
"Burns, who is not an objectivist, spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical "Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand's fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."--Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution "Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand's operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."--Paula Baker, Ohio State University
"Burns, who is not an objectivist, spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical "Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand's fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."--Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution "Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand's operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."--Paula Baker, Ohio State University
'excellent'
"Excellent."--Time magazine "A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.--Brian Doherty, The Washington Times "Burns thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."--Booklist (starred review) "Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."--Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait, The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russia
Selected as one of the Denver Post's Great Reads of 2009 Selected as one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Reads of 2009 "Excellent."--Time magazine "A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.--Brian Doherty, The Washington Times "Burns thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."--Booklist (starred review) "Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."--Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait, The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Je
Selected as one of the Denver Post's Great Reads of 2009 Selected as one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Reads of 2009 Selected as one of Bloomberg News Top Nonfiction Books of 2009 "Excellent."--Time magazine "A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.--Brian Doherty, The Washington Times "Burns thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."--Booklist (starred review) "Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."--The American Thinker "Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."--Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand's individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait, The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th
Selected as one of theDenver Post''s Great Reads of 2009 Selected as one of theSt. Louis Post-Dispatch''s Best Reads of 2009 Selected as one ofBloomberg NewsTop Nonfiction Books of 2009 "Excellent."--Timemagazine "A smart assessment of Rand''s life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand''s ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns'' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.--Brian Doherty,The Washington Times "Burns thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."--Booklist(starred review) "Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand''s thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand''s ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand''s life or ideas."--The American Thinker "Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."--Nick Gillespie,WilsonQuarterly "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand''s individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait,The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match.Goddess of the Marketis both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."-- Michael Kazin, author ofA Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author ofAyn Rand: The Russian Radical "Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand''s fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."--Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution "Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand''s operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."--Paula Baker, Ohio State University "Goddess of the Marketby Jennifer Burns just arrived. I ripped open the package and got stuck reading and reading and reading. The emails, phonecalls, and IMs just had to wait. Let me just say that this is a wonderful book: beautifully written, completely balanced, extensively researched. The match between author and subject is so perfect that one might believe that the author was chosen by the gods to write this book. She has sympathy and affection for her subject but treats her as a human being, with no attempt to cover up the foibles. It is quite wonderful. I so look forward to getting back to it. It is hard to imagine that it can be surpassed as a history of Rand, her ideas, and life."--Mises Economics Blog Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand''s intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as "the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right," elaborating: "Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty."--Washington Monthly Magazine "Timely, well-researched"--Bloomberg News "it seems only fitting that two simultaneously published versions of Rand''s life story must battle it out in the free market. She wouldn''t have wanted it any other way."--The Tablet.com "One of the strengths of Burns'' book is that she, unlike some other liberal scholars, has an excellent understanding of the issues that divided libertarians and conservatives, and also of the distinctions between different types of libertarianism. Burns'' book is a great analysis of Rand''s place in history, and I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in Rand or the history of libertarian and pro-free market movements."--The Volokh Conspiracy.com "A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts. Goddess of the Market goes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand''s ideas and their somewhat marginalized status.--U.S. Intellectual History "Hardly anything else in the world can be interesting if you are reading Jennifer Burn''s biography of Ayn Rand called Goddess of the Market. It''s the kind of book that while reading a bomb could go off around you and you wouldn''t notice. It is that engaging, page after page. She manages to be once objective and compelling, reconstructing Rand''s amazing life and work along with her relations with colleagues. It is also a fascinating psychological portrait of an ingenious but fallible self-made intellectual who had a far larger impact on American life than most people know. ."Mises EconomicsBlog "..Burns, a professor of history, more ably situates Rand within and against the world of American
Selected as one of theDenver Post''s Great Reads of 2009 Selected as one of theSt. Louis Post-Dispatch''s Best Reads of 2009 Selected as one ofBloomberg NewsTop Nonfiction Books of 2009 "Impressive .Burns''s excellent book helps us to discover the real Ayn Rand."--American Historical Review "Excellent."--Timemagazine "A smart assessment of Rand''s life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand''s ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns'' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama.--Brian Doherty,The Washington Times "Burns thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."--Booklist(starred review) "Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand''s thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand''s ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand''s life or ideas."--The American Thinker "Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."--Nick Gillespie,WilsonQuarterly "What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand''s individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War... Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism."--Publishers Weekly "Burns... thoroughly analyzes her ideas."--Jonathan Chait,The New Republic "Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand. When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."--Laissez Faire Books "One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match.Goddess of the Marketis both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."--Michael Kazin, author ofA Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."--Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author ofAyn Rand: The Russian Radical "Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand''s fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."--Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution "Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand''s operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."--Paula Baker, Ohio State University "Goddess of the Marketby Jennifer Burns just arrived. I ripped open the package and got stuck reading and reading and reading. The emails, phonecalls, and IMs just had to wait. Let me just say that this is a wonderful book: beautifully written, completely balanced, extensively researched. The match between author and subject is so perfect that one might believe that the author was chosen by the gods to write this book. She has sympathy and affection for her subject but treats her as a human being, with no attempt to cover up the foibles. It is quite wonderful. I so look forward to getting back to it. It is hard to imagine that it can be surpassed as a history of Rand, her ideas, and life."--Mises Economics Blog "Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand''s intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as ''the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right,'' elaborating: ''Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty.''"--Washington Monthly Magazine "Timely, well-researched"--Bloomberg News "It seems only fitting that two simultaneously published versions of Rand''s life story must battle it out in the free market. She wouldn''t have wanted it any other way."--The Tablet.com "One of the strengths of Burns'' book is that she, unlike some other liberal scholars, has an excellent understanding of the issues that divided libertarians and conservatives, and also of the distinctions between different types of libertarianism. Burns'' book is a great analysis of Rand''s place in history, and I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in Rand or the history of libertarian and pro-free market movements."--The Volokh Conspiracy.com "A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts.Goddess of the Marketgoes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand''s ideas and their somewhat marginalized status.--U.S. Intellectual History "Hardly anything else in the world can be interesting if you are reading Jennifer Burn''s biography of Ayn Rand calledGoddess of the Market. It''s the kind of book that while reading a bomb could go off around you and you wouldn''t notice. It is that engaging, page after page. She manages to be once objective and compelling, reconstructing Rand''s amazing life and work along with her relations with colleagues. It is also a fascinating psychological portrait of an ingenious but fallible self-made intellectual who had a far larger impact on American life than most people know." --M
This is a significant contribution to Rand scholarship and an engaging read for anyone interested in Rand or 20th-century politics and intellectual life
"a pleasure to read" - Political Studies Review"[an] important study" - Elaine Showalter, Times Literary Supplement"A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama." - Brian Doherty, The Washington Times"Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand's intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as "the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right" elaborating: "Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty." - Washington Monthly Magazine"Burns, a professor of history, more ably situates Rand within and against the world of American conservatism" - The New Yorker"A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts. Goddess of the Market goes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand's ideas and their somewhat marginalized status." - U.S. Intellectual History"This is a significant contribution to Rand scholarship and an engaging read for anyone interested in Rand or 20th-century politics and intellectual life" - M. L. Jackson, CHOICE"balanced and engaging" - Alex Goodall, Literary Review"At last! A well-balances book about Ayn Rand (1905-82), the guru of selfishness. After all the attack memoirs and right-wing adulation, Jennifer Burns has finally given us an intellectual biography" - Tribune"Excellent" - Time magazine
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 2009
Library Journal, October 2009
Washington Post, December 2009
Choice, March 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days.
Main Description
Drawing on unprecedented access to Ayn Rand's private papers and original, unedited journals, Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.
Main Description
Worshipped by her fans and denounced by her enemies, novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was shadowed by controversy. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and original journals, Burns offers a reassessment of this key cultural figure.
Main Description
Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought. Goddess of the Marketfollows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successfulThe FountainheadandAtlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her a perennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government. Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students and intellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968. One of theDenver Post's Great Reads of 2009 One ofBloomberg News's Top Nonfiction Books of 2009 "Excellent." --Timemagazine "A terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century." --The American Thinker "A wonderful book: beautifully written, completely balanced, extensively researched. The match between author and subject is so perfect that one might believe that the author was chosen by the gods to write this book. She has sympathy and affection for her subject but treats her as a human being, with no attempt to cover up the foibles." --Mises Economics Blog
Main Description
Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought. Goddess of the Market follows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successful The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her a perennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government. Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students and intellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968. This extraordinary book captures the life of the woman who was a tireless champion of capitalism and the freedom of the individual, and whose ideas are still devoured by eager students, debated on blogs, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons.
Main Description
Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought. Goddess of the Marketfollows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successfulThe FountainheadandAtlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her a perennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government. Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students and intellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968. This extraordinary book captures the life of the woman who was a tireless champion of capitalism and the freedom of the individual, and whose ideas are still devoured by eager students, debated on blogs, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons.
Main Description
Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access toRand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.Goddess of the Market follows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successful The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her aperennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government. Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students andintellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968.This extraordinary book captures the life of the woman who was a tireless champion of capitalism and the freedom of the individual, and whose ideas are still devoured by eager students, debated on blogs, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Education of Ayn Rand, 1905-1943
From Russia to Rooseveltp. 9
Individualists of the World, Unite!p. 39
A New Credo of Freedomp. 67
From Novelist to Philosopher, 1944 - 1957
The Real Root of Evilp. 99
A Round Universep. 133
Who Is John Galt? 1957 - 1968
Big Sister Is Watching Youp. 165
Radicals for Capitalismp. 189
Love Is Exception Makingp. 214
Legacies
It Usually Begins with Ayn Randp. 247
Epilogue: Ayn Rand in American Memoryp. 279
Acknowledgmentsp. 287
Essay on Sourcesp. 291
Notesp. 299
Bibliographyp. 345
Indexp. 361
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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