My, oh my. As much as I was put off by the 1,000+ pages in this book, I can't believe it's over. I loved most of it--sometimes the repetitiveness was a bit much but the plot is so good I was compelled to continue. It is on just about everyone's "books you should read" list. But 1168 pages is a little daunting. And since it isn't light reading you have to pay attention, it isn't a quick read even if you are a quick reader.
Written in 1956 and published in 1957, it is a good book to read right now in 2009. The plot is original: what happens when a free society loses its freedom due to government controls which are prejudiced against businesses and the men and women who create jobs, (spoiler alert!) causing the inventors and risk-takers to go on strike (whew, long sentence).
Ayn Rand is the writer and must have been brilliant. She crafts a complex message creating a story to drive home her philosophy. She writes about economics, personal responsibility, not blaming failures on others, the virtue of working hard, of being productive. It caused me to question my own usefulness and productivity. Rand writes in detail about a variety of industries such as: railroad, coal, steel, oil, ore, etc. Her research would have been time consuming, and she did so without the aid of a search engine.
I don't agree with all of the messages in her story, my friend Liz points out she would hate to think of a world without selflessness. But this book is well-written, has wonderfully developed characters, an original plot that keeps you plowing through all those pages, and it makes you stop and think about your beliefs on personal responsiblity. And its a good illustration of the consquences of an anti-business government.