Another communism book but one worth thinking about. I think the whole love triangle thing was a bit much but I found her political views to be very enlightening. She not only goes after the Communist but all dictatorships, socialist schemes and fascists in the world. It is a book about Man against the State. I am always so surprised how much was hidden from the rest of the world, especially Americans, when the communist parties came into power. They sure got away with a lot of evil things in the name of something supposedly grand and better. I think through books like these we can remember the past and be prepared not to fall into the same traps in the future.
Leonard Peikoff gives an excellent introduction to the book. Here are a few ideas that were interesting. The three forms of destruction that Ayn Rand gives to the characters in her book are: The higher and stronger individual is broken, but not conquered. The one with less resistance is broken and untouched. Those who believed in the ideal are broken by the realization of what that ideal really means.
One character gave his life to a lie and commits suicide. One lives for his values but in the end his life is so unendurable and he can't find the balance between mind and force. He ends up drowning in his mind and doesn't care or know what is being done to him. That is like a living death, a drawn out suicide. The third is to flee. This is what the main character eventually is able to do just as the author did in her own real life. (she imigrated to America from Russia in 1926.)
I also loved the way the plot was twisted, usually the virtuous girl sells herself to the villain in order to save the hero. Ayn Rand thought: Wouldn't it be interesting if the man to whom the girl sells herself is not a villain but a hero and the man for whom she makes her sacrifice is a villain in the end? hmmm, very unpredictable when reading along then wham that isn't how you think it will be. BUT I would like to add that Ayn Rand's standards are not the highest nor does she have a reputation for Christian morals or anything like them so what I find even more ironic is the fact that the virtuous girl isn't even virtuous but in Rand's world maybe she was. In my real world she is way below the virtuous mark and I wouldn't have put her in that category or even used that word to describe her. I certainly wouldn't want my girls to aspire to be like her. So my point...the book is a bit on the BENT & BROKEN side. Bad is good and good is bad.
Ayn Rand said that she wrote the book so that it "might do it's share in helping to prevent a socialist America".
Broken - Bent-- Healing