After an extended (unexcused) absence, I return to word-smithery today, announcing my coming journey into the world of John Galt. This is a journey I’ve diligently eschewed for nearly 50 years, and I fix the blame squarely on the shoulders of my younger daughter and another dear friend, both of whom recently asked if I had ever read Atlas Shrugged.
Through the years, others have asked me that question. I’ve always been comfortable responding that the wordy tome (almost 1200 pages!) holds no interest for me. Of late, however, a contrary argument waged in my brain: It’s not fair to comment when you haven’t read the book! So I succumbed at long last — plunking down cash at the Amazon portal. The book (weighing in at 4 pounds, per the shipping label) arrived on Tuesday.
No, I didn’t jump right in; I’m currently reading (usually at bedtime until I nod off) a Cordelia Gray mystery (author is P. D. James). Given my general lack of reading time, even this book — a veritable pygmy tipping the scales under 450 pages — seems a tad long, but that’s a complaint for another day.
Likening my reading of Atlas to a journey is intentional: my trepidation is every bit as keen as standing in the airport line dreading the mandatory violations of the TSA. (See my previous posts here, here, here, and here.) Further, like most journeys, I expect reading the book will require endurance, more of a marathon than a sprint.
I will not embark on my journey without recognizing some who have gone before. Hence, I acknowledge the National Review Online (NRO) 2009 Symposium, Going Galt, for its perspective. Also, the estimable Whitaker Chambers penned a 1957 book review entitled “Big Sister is Watching You” and his assessment distills easily into four words: “a remarkably silly book.”
Another NRO author, Peter Wehner, offered his opinion: Objectively, Ayn Rand Was A Nut. This is the water into which I expect to dip my toes, ever so gingerly.
I am not an Ayn Rand expert — and don’t expect to be one after having read Atlas Shrugged. She has earned her place in Literature. As I read through the book in the months to come, perhaps I’ll be able to appreciate why.