GODDESS OF THE MARKET: Ayn Rand and The American Right

Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand’s private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand’s journals, Jennifer Burns offers a trailblazing reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.

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BUY NOW

GODDESS OF THE MARKET: Ayn Rand and The American Right

Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand’s private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand’s journals, Jennifer Burns offers a trailblazing reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.

REVIEWS

"Burns... spent 8 years researching the development of Rand's thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book--a serious consideration of Rand's ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand's life or ideas."

-The American Thinker

"Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns just arrived. I ripped open the package and got stuck reading and reading and reading. The emails, phonecalls, and IMs just had to wait. Let me just say that this is a wonderful book: beautifully written, completely balanced, extensively researched. The match between author and subject is so perfect that one might believe that the author was chosen by the gods to write this book. She has sympathy and affection for her subject but treats her as a human being, with no attempt to cover up the foibles. It is quite wonderful. I so look forward to getting back to it. It is hard to imagine that it can be surpassed as a history of Rand, her ideas, and life."

-Mises Economics Blog

"An important study... Burns's dispassionate intellectual history makes a persuasive case that Ayn Rand was no joke; she was a forceful and original thinker, and a gifted manipulator of fictional conventions for ideological ends."

- Elaine Showalter, Times Literary Supplement

"Burns' thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rand's life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism.... Burns' clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics."

--Booklist (starred review)

"Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event... Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today."

-Laissez Faire Books

"Timely, well-researched"

-Bloomberg News

"A lovingly crafted piece of scholarly work, thrifty and concise, that follows Rand's shifting sands of ideology."

-News Blaze

"Burns... situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rand's rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action."

-Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly

"One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow."

- Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

"This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship."

-Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical

"Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand--why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand's fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted."

-Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution

"Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered--and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand's operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight."

-Paula Baker, Ohio State University

"One of the strengths of Burns' book is that she, unlike some other liberal scholars, has an excellent understanding of the issues that divided libertarians and conservatives, and also of the distinctions between different types of libertarianism. Burns' book is a great analysis of Rand's place in history, and I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in Rand or the history of libertarian and pro-free market movements."

-The Volokh Conspiracy.com

"A smart assessment of Rand's life and ideas and how they influenced each other... As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand's ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns' readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama."

-Brian Doherty, The Washington Times

"A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts. Goddess of the Market goes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand's ideas and their somewhat marginalized status."

-U.S. Intellectual History

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