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"Atlas  Shrugged"
1957 novel by Ayn Rand

lovely Signet cover for the mass paperback of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" novel             synopsis & history


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"Atlas Shrugged"

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The 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged" is the 'second most influential book for Americans today' after the Bible,
according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of The Month Club.


            Set in a dystopian world, with America's government reduced to a National Legislature and a figurehead President, where the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad is struggling to survive. Operating vice president Dagny Taggart is thwarted by her spineless brother James, who was made president by their late father. Dagny has learned to make decisions and to give orders and then let James try to undo them. James's contracts for delivery of steel rail keep getting postponed, so Dagny signs a deal with Hank Rearden's steel company for rails made of a new & unproven alloy, Rearden Metal. Dagny's childhood friend (and first love) Francisco d'Anconia arrives in New York for the stated purpose of depleting his copper-mining family's vast wealth. Rearden is betrayed by lobbyist Wesley Mouch, and the government issues decrees to take over most independent industry, including Rearden Steel. The economy worsens and government tightens their grip, while the public murmurs the unanswerable question "Who is John Galt?".

            In her struggle to get help from fellow industrialists, Dagny discovers that many of them have disappeared, including her friend Ellis Wyatt, who stripped his offices bare and set his Colorado oilfields on fire. The government 'moochers' begin to panic, for they are incapable of managing all the stolen businesses and the country's capable business leaders are vanishing without a trace.
            As they work together, Hank and Dagny discover a deep form of love, which Ayn Rand promotes as a sort of sacred love as between two gods. They travel together across America, trying to solve several mysteries, and finally locate an abandoned factory warehouse containing an engine that produces electricity from natural static fields. Dagny vows to locate the inventor of such a gift to Mankind.

            Dagny continues her quests, to back-engineer the motor and to locate the missing leaders. She arrives in Colorado for a meeting just as her host disappears in an airplane; Dagny follows as the plane disappears into a force field, which causes Dagny's plane to crash-land. Dagny is rescued and welcomed to Galt's Gulch, where Ellis Wyatt and Hank Rearden and hundreds of other major thinkers and industrialists and business leaders are working together in a happy Objectivist paradise, all 'on stike' against the greedy Oligarchs who looted away their companies. While Dagny agrees with just about everything that Galt has showed her, she cannot leave behind her railroad, nor its employees or customers.

            Dagny returns to New York, and is followed by John Galt, who has been working as a lowly laborer for the railroad. Galt takes control of the radio networks across America for an hour-long speech (60 pages in the hard-cover, 90 pages in mass paperback) delivering the definitive version of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. As the people of America join the strike, the economy begins the final collapse. Dagny flees to Galt's Gulch, but is followed by government agents, who capture Galt. Galt refuses any compromise, and is rescued by a team from Galt's Gulch; as they leave the city, they witness the lights of New York fade out and go dark. The strikers complete preparations and Galt announces that they will now return to the devastated world and begin repairs.

            After the success of the 1943 novel and 1949 movie "The Fountainhead", philosopher Ayn Rand had the financial freedom to write her magnum opus, as a means of communicating her Objectivist philosophy to the world. The working title was 'The Strike', but husband Frank O'Connor suggested using one of the chapter titles, and the novel became "Atlas Shrugged". Rand worked on the novel in California and then in New York; Random House publisher Bennett Cerf was thoroughly frustrated for the several years that Ayn Rand was working on her book: after declaring the book itself completed, she devoted another two years to fine tune the John Galt Speech. "Atlas Shrugged" was published on 10 October 1957 and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 21 weeks. Although most reviews of "The Fountainhead" were positive, "Atlas Shrugged" reviewers were mostly negative, partly because of Galt's (and Rand's) rejection of pseudo-Christian virtues such as self-sacrifice. The book has been in print ever since, and was in large part responsible for Rand's financial freedom and publication of her Objectivist newsletters and other non-fiction works.

        Fresh off his success as producer of "The Godfather" (he won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1973), Albert S. Ruddy convinced Ayn Rand to allow him to make a feature film of "Atlas Shrugged". The project was announced at the '21' nightclub in New York City; negotiations began with Clint Eastwood to portray Hank Rearden, Robert Redford to portray John Galt, Faye Dunaway to portray Dagney Taggart, and Alain Delon to portray Francisco; the deal fell apart, however, because Ayn Rand insisted on contractual script approval, and Ruddy knew that her demand made it impossible to get the film made.

        A seeming renaissance in Ayn Rand's popularity began in the 1990's: both "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" were listed in the top ten of many lists of 'Best (or Most Important) Novels of the XXth Century'.

        The idea of a television series or feature film version of "Atlas Shrugged" floated around Hollywood for many years, a condition called 'development hell'. A team of Objectivist filmmakers formed Baldwin Entertainment Group, and had commitments from Angelina Jolie and then Charlize Theron to portray Dagny Taggart; their script was written by James V. Hart & Randall Wallace - but the company folded around 2008. Another team formed The Strike Productions, with backing by Objectivist millionaire Ed Snider of Boston; racing the clock (soon-to-expire filming rights), the three-part TV miniseries version of "Atlas Shrugged" finally began filming in June 2010. Part 1 was released theatrically in April 2011; Part 2 was released theatrically in October 2012 (intended to influence the November elections); Part 3 was released in September 2014; and the trilogy was released on both DVD and Blu-ray in June 2015.

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Francisco's 'Money' speech from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

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"Atlas  Shrugged" [1957 novel]
'Atlas Shrugged' novel entry at Wikipedia

Atlas Shrugged classic novel by Ayn Rand   Signet pb [8/96] for $8.99
Plume 9x6 pb [8/99] for $13.60
Dutton 35th Anniv 9¼x6¼ hardcover [3/92] out of print/used
Signet 35th Anniv pb [3/92] out of print/used
Atlas Shrugged novel by Ayn Rand on audio cassettes & CDs   UNABRIDGED "Atlas Shrugged" novel read by Christopher Hunt [12/1991]
Blackstone UNABR audio cassettes Part 1 [11 tapes] out of prodn/used
Blackstone UNABR audio cassettes Part 2 [12 tapes] out of prodn/used
Blackstone UNABR audio cassettes Part 3 [15 tapes] out of prodn/used
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 1 [2/2002] out of prodn/used
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 2 [2/2002] out of prodn/used
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 3 [2/2002] out of prodn/scarce
Atlas Shrugged audio CD read by Edward Hermann  
"Atlas Shrugged" novel read by Edward Hermann [1995]
Highbridge ABRIDGED audio CD [6/2000] 6 disks for $22.36
Highbridge ABR audio cassettes [12/95] 8 tapes - out of prodn/many used
Atlas Shrugged audio CD read by Scott Brick  "Atlas Shrugged" novel read by Scott Brick [12/2008]
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs [12/2008] for $36.94
Blackstone UNABR MP3 audio CD [12/2008] 4 diaks for $62.95
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs [undated] out of prodn/many used
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs [undated] out of prodn/many used
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 1 [12/2008] out of prodn/scarce
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 2 [12/2008] for $99.95
Blackstone UNABR audio CDs Part 3 [12/2008] 14 tapes for $109.95

Works  About  "Atlas Shrugged"

Atlas Shrugged Manifesto of The Mind book by Mimi Reisel Gladstein  
"Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto of The Mind" [2000]
by Mimi Reisel Gladstein

Twayne Publg 8¾x5¾ [6/2000] for $45.00
World of Atlas Shrugged  "The World of Atlas Shrugged: The Essential Companion To Ayn Rand's Masterpiece" [2001]
Narrated by Edward Herrmann & Lynn Redgrave

Highbridge UNABR audio CD [4/2001] for $17.95
Highbridge UNABR audio [4/2001] 2 tapes - out of prodn/used
Atlas Shrugged Philosophical & Literary Companion book edited by Edward W. Younkins  "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion"
[2007] Edited by Edward W. Younkins

Kindle Edition from Ashgate Publng [2007 edition] for $14.72
Ashgate Publng 9x6 pb [11/2007] for $22.39
Ashgate Publng 9¼x6¼ hardcover [11/2007] for $144.95 {sic}
Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged book edited by Robert Mayhew  "Essays On Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged" [2009]
Edited by Robert Mayhew

contributors include: Michael S. Berliner, Andrew Bernstein, Harry Binswanger, Tore Boeckmann, Jeff Britting, Debi Ghate, Onkar Ghate, Allan Gotthelf, Edwin A. Locke, Shoshana Milgram, Leonard Peikoff, Richard Ralston, Gregory Salmieri, Tara Smith, Mary Ann Sures, and Darryl Wright
Lexington Books 9x6 pb [4/2009] for $33.37
Lexington Books 9¾x6½ hardcover [4/2009] for $104.99 {sic}

Atlas Drugged / Ayn Rand Be Damned! satirical novel by Stephen Goldstein  "Atlas Drugged (Ayn Rand Be Damned!): A Novel" [2012]
by Stephen L. Goldstein

A short satirical novel taking pseudo-Randians of all stripes to task for their greed-based policies and actions; the successors of the strikers from Galt's Gulch are challenged by the Prometheus Project.
Kindle Edition from Grid Press [7/2012] for $7.95
Hellgate Press 8x5 pb [6/2012] for $14.37

Ayn Rand & The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged video  "Ayn Rand & The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged" documentary film [limited release Jan 2012]
87-minute color documentary film describing how Ayn Rand's warnings in the 1940s and 1950s are appearing as world economic events of today • Co-produced & directed by Chris Mortensen; narrated by Gary Anthony Williams; featuring John Allison {former CEO BB&T}, Clifford Asness, Mike Berliner, Andrew Bernstein, Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook {pres ARI}, Prof. Northrup Buechner, Jennifer Burns, Congressman John B. T. Campbell III (GOP CA-48), Christopher Cerf, journalist Dan Cloer, Nicole Gelinas, Anne C. Heller, James M. Kilts, John W. McIntyre, Kevin O'Connor {former CEO DoubleClick}, Amy Peikoff {Chapman Univ}, Elliot Persico, Richard E. Ralston {publng mgr at ARI}, movie producer Albert S. Ruddy, Ed Snider, Michael Walsh, Lisa Wolf of Wall Street, several others
Arts Alliance America widescreen color DVD [4/2012] for $4.99
full credits at IMDbofficial movie site
watch official trailer [2:49] on YouTube

watch full movie [1:23:30] online at YouTube

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The Driver 1922 novel by Garet Garrett  "The Driver" [E.P. Dutton 1922 novel] by Garet Garrett
The author [1878-1954] was an arch-conservative writer and editor, fervently opposed to anything that President Roosevelt tried to enact; several of Garrett's books have been pro-moted by the John Birch Society and by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The connection to Ayn Rand is that around 1993 the Libertarian writer Justin Raimondo accused Ayn Rand of plagiarizing "The Driver" for her novel "Atlas Shrugged". The only actual similarity is the name of character Henry Galt, a shadowy speculator who takes over a railroad. Raimon-do's contention is without merit; the basic side effect of this 'tempest in a tea pot' has been increased sales of this book (which is worthy by all reports).
Kindle Edition from Ludwig von Mises Institute [2/2010] for $2.99
Nabu Press 9¾x7½ pb [1/2010] for $22.61
available as free online etexts at The Von Mises Institute
Garet Garrett entry at Wikipediabook entry at Wikipedia

There is also a long-winded right-wing Garet Garrett weblog whose recent posts try to explain
how Ayn Rand plagiarized from Garet Garrett's novel "The Cinder Buggy" [1923].
this book also available as free online etexts at The Von Mises Institute

Other  Media

Schauspiel Köln in Germany presents the stageplay “Der Streik (The Strike)”
based on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” on a regular basis

The Atlas Shrugged Book Club
[Feb-March 2013] on The Atlantic Monthly website
Lots of opinion to disagree with here, the reason for inclusion is that The Atlantic considers "Atlas Shrugged" worthy
of several weeks of attention. Discussion led by Conor Friedersdorf, Garance Franke-Ruta, Michael Brendan
Dougherty, and Jerome Copulsky.

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club Begins, Polarized But Polite" [18 Feb 2013]
In this inaugural edition, one reader is inspired to quit Catholicism; another yearns for a book burning and
inquisition; and a third is shocked to discover that the novel was published in the late 1950s.

"Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 2: The Emotional Life of People At Work" [19 Feb 2013]
The exploration continues with a dark prediction, a tribute to Ayn Rand's most subtle rendering, and reader comments.

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 3: Enjoying The Smutty Parts" [25 Feb 2013]
Part I, Chapters 6 through 10: Readers encounter an eventful party, a career triumph, a torrid affair, and more.

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 4: How Their World Is Like Ours" [26 Feb 2013]
After the financial crisis, many people perceived likenesses between the novel and current events; they weren't wrong.

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 5: The Money Speech and The Pirate Ship" [6 March 2013]
Discussing Part II of Ayn Rand's dystopian novel.

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 6: Dagny Taggart and Her Pre-Feminist Train Wreck" [8 March 2013]
The discussion continues with a violent love triangle, an imperiled heroine, and more . . .

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 7: The Impotent Irrationality of John Galt" [22 March 2013]
In the final, climactic part of Ayn Rand's novel, the mysterious John Galt gives his big speech. But is it revelatory or ridiculous?

"The Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 8: Is Ayn Rand A Better Philosopher or Novelist?" [29 March 2013]
In the final installment of the discussion, Conor and Garance debate the merits of the controversial book's moral.

logo for "Atlas Shrugged" feature film trilogy from producer's website

"Atlas Shrugged" film trilogy entry at Wikipedia

"Atlas Shrugged, Part I"
[Strike Prodns/Rocky Mountain Pictures April 2011]
poster for Atlas Shrugged Part 1 movie  
Atlas Shrugged movie John Galt poster  
The Part I story ends with the disappearance of Ellis Wyatt and the burning of the oil fields. Produced by The Strike Productions & John Aglialoro; directed by Paul Johansson; script by Brian Patrick O’Toole; starring Taylor Schilling {as Dagny Taggart}, Grant Bowler {as Hank Reardon}, Paul Johansson {as John Galt}, Michael Lerner, Matthew Marsdan, Graham Beckel {as Ellis Wyatt} & Jsu Garcia {as Francisco D'Anconia}
Fox widescreen color Blu-ray [11/2011] for $19.99
Fox widescreen color DVD [11/2011] for $8.48
Rearden Steel Edition Blu-ray & DVD [12/2011] available only from producer website
full credits at IMDbofficial movie site

February 2011 official trailer [2:26] on YouTube
full-page movie review in Time Magazine, April 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie soundtrack CD  Atlas Shrugged Movie Soundtrack Album [2011]
by Elia Cmiral

The Strike Prodns soundtrack CD [5/2011] 22 tracks for $8.99
logo for "Atlas Shrugged" feature film trilogy from producer's website

"Atlas Shrugged, Part II: The Strike"
[Strike Prodns/Rocky Mountain Pictures Oct 2012]
final official poster for Atlas Shrugged Part 2 movie  poster for Atlas Shrugged Part 2 movie  
teaser poster for Atlas Shrugged Part 2 movie  
soundtrackalbum cover for Atlas Shrugged Part 2 movie  
Although the Part 1 movie lost money in theatrical release, the indefatigable Objectivist team began filming "Atlas Shrugged Part 2" (of three} in April 2012; release was set for October 2012, with the intention of influencing the November elections. The change of actors is bothersome, and the budget restrictions obvious (i.e. makeup & hair); the camera direction was okay, but direction of actors was botched. But Part 2 does include Francisco's money speech, and it ends with Dagny crash-landing her airplane in Galt's Gulch. Produced by The Strike Prodns & John Aglialoro, with film expert Duncan Scott; music by Chris Bacon; starring Samantha Mathis {as Dagny}, Jason Beghe {as Hank Rearden}, Esai Morales {as Francisco d'Anconia}, Patrick Fabian, Kim Rhodes, Richard T. Jones, D.B. Sweeney {as John Galt}, Paul McCrane & John Rubinstein
Fox Home Ent. Blu-ray [2/2013] for $6.99
Fox Home Ent. DVD [2/2013] for $4.99
full credits at IMDbofficial movie site
January 2012 official teaser trailer [1:04] on YouTube
July 2012 official teaser trailer [0:41] on YouTube
September 2012 official trailer [2:15] on YouTube
October 2012 featurette "Behind The Scenes At Rearden Steel" [19:34] on YouTube

Atlas Shrugged 2 Prodns soundtrack MP3 album [12/2012] 23 tracks for $8.99

logo for "Atlas Shrugged" feature film trilogy from producer's website

"Atlas Shrugged, Part III: Who Is John Galt?"
[Strike Prodns Sept 2014]
subway/shadows poster for 'Atlas Shrugged, Part III: Who Is John Galt?'  The story begins as Dagny recovers from the plane crash at galt's Gulch; principal photography began in January 2014 and wrapped in February 2014 • adapted & directed by James Manera; starring Rob Morrow {as Hank Rearden}, Laura Regan {as Dagny Taggart}, Eric Allan Kramer {as Ragnar Danneskjöld}, Kristoffer Polaha {as John Galt}, Joaquim de Almeida {as Francisco d'Anconia}, Peter Mackenzie, Greg Germann
DVD/Blu-ray not yet available •
full credits at IMDbofficial movie site
watch 5/2014 official 'sandman' teaser trailer #1 [1:02] at YouTube
watch 7/2014 official teaser trailer #2 [1:00] at YouTube

watch 7/2014 'John Galt Speech' video [4:40] at YouTube

logo for "Atlas Shrugged" feature film trilogy from producer's website

"Atlas Shrugged Trilogy Box Sets" [2015]
Atlas Shrugged Trilogy Box Set  
A is A Prodns Special Edition widescreen color Blu-ray box set [5/2015] 3 disks for $29.97
A is A Prodns Special Edition widescreen color DVD [5/2015] 5 disks for $23.97
Fox widescreen color DVD [2/2015] for $18.50
logo for "Atlas Shrugged" feature film trilogy from producer's website

gold-on-black logo for Galt's Gulch Online website

movies-related 'Who Is John Galt?' website

History of the Atlas Shrugged Movie Trilogy in Kindle format by Joan Carter  
"The History of the Atlas Shrugged Movie Trilogy" for Kindle [2014]
by {associate producer} Joan Carter

Kindle Edition 74-page report from Amazon Digital Services [7/2014] for $4.99

G a l l e r y

sign placing "Atlas Shrugged" in the NON-fiction section            logo for Taggart Transcontinental Lines from the "Atlas Shrugged" movies            Dagny Taggart's business card from "Atlas Shrugged I"

Ayn Rand postage stamp art            portrait of actress Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart from "Atlas Shrugged I"            portrait of actress Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart from "Atlas Shrugged II"            photo of actress Laura Regan as Dagny Taggart, with John Galt (Kristoffer Polaha) from "Atlas Shrugged III"

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