Journals of Ayn Rand
Edited by David Harriman, foreword by Leonard Peikoff
Strictly for lovers and loathers of Ayn Rand (perhaps an equal market share), this work offers almost everything the author ever wrote to herself. As intriguing yet sometimes numbing as her fiction, the book, which covers the years from 1927 to the mid-1970s, contains her first philosophical stabs, notes on her novels, HUAC testimony against alleged Hollywood communists, and her unfinished projects. Rand fans who marveled at the detail and richness of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged can now examine her research as well as confirm suppositions as to who inspired what characters (yes, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Howard Roark).
For the despisers of Ayn Rand, there are numerous paroxysms on the sanctity of money, the spirutality of materialism and the genius of the rich. In Rand's fiction, her most original assertions -- a vision of engineers, industrialists and architects heroically forcing the world to turn, despite the untalented, the mediocre and, of course, the collectivist parasite (i.e., communists) -- were generally followed by the hero's endless, repetitious rants on the value of individualism.
Unfortunately, her journals are similarly afflicted. Comic relief comes when she notes her frustrations with her real-life role models, as when Wright fails to live up to the Roark ideal: "How does one get to that?" The radical energy and convictions of the author continue to invigorate, challenge and annoy. Somewhere between Emily Bronte and L. Ron Hubbard, between a romantic virtuoso and capitalist cult leader, Rand seduces with her amazing prose her philosophic pronouncements become the propaganda she wished to combat.