One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was Jennifer Burns’s book Goddess of the Market, about the life, ideas, and influence of Ayn Rand. I knew much about Rand already, but I still learned a lot. And I found it exceptionally readable for a book from an academic press. I couldn’t put it down.
Although Rand’s own books are still amazingly popular, they probably aren’t quite the “gateway drug” to libertarianism they once were because there are now so many other paths available to the libertarian view, such as the Ron Paul movement and LRC. As a result, a surprising number of young libertarians haven’t even read Atlas Shrugged and assume Rand isn’t worth their while based on the worst things they’ve heard about her. I’d say they’re wrong, but if they won’t read Rand directly, then they should at least read this book to get an overview of her life and some essential libertarian-movement cultural literacy.
(Incidentally, LRC readers may be interested to know that Murray Rothbard makes occasional appearances throughout the book and comes off very well, celebrating Rand at her best but always remaining wary of her circle’s increasingly cultish ways.)10:25 pm on December 30, 2009 Email Jacob Huebert