We the Living: Anniversary Edition

We the Living: Anniversary Edition

4.3 74
by Ayn Rand

View All Available Formats & Editions

First published in 1936, this inspiring and defiant novel by the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged has sold nearly two million copies. Portraying the impact of the Russian Revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives, We the Living is Ayn Rand's challenge to the modern conscience.


First published in 1936, this inspiring and defiant novel by the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged has sold nearly two million copies. Portraying the impact of the Russian Revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives, We the Living is Ayn Rand's challenge to the modern conscience.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
60th Anniversary Edition
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. And it was with the publication of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged that she achieved her spectacular success.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 2, 1905
Date of Death:
March 6, 1982
Place of Birth:
St. Petersburg, Russia
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Graduated with highest honors in history from the University of Petrograd, 1924

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

We the Living: Anniversary Edition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the first sixty pages, I forced myself to read this book on a reccomendation from a friend. This books is so emotionally involving, you can't begin to let go of it even months after you have read it. Ayn Rand dipicts the life- or what was was left of it- of Kira Argounova with such vivid images, you want to reach out and save her. You cry, you laugh, and you want to kill all communists, but mostly you cry. Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One thing there but often not noticed in Ayn Rand's other works is an amazing sense of the environment. One really feels like one is living in the world Rand creates. This is particularly noticeable in this book, and it gives the reader a great awareness of what it is like to live under communism. Not only are the results of communism evident, but so are clear links to the cause (the absence of human rights). On top of all this, We the Living has great characters whom we get to observe as they change (or not, in Kira's case) under the brutal regime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book touched me deeply. It brought tears to my eyes during many pages. In reading this book, I gained enormous gratitude for the freedoms I enjoy and all who made those freedoms possible for me. I was also reminded of the strength of the human spirit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The setting was very well done, but, unless you are reading solely to gain a better understanding of Ayn Rand and her writing, avoid it. I found most of the characters very annoying and infuriating throughout most of the book, and was happy when it was over. All of Ayn Rand's later novels showed MUCH improvement, and are recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girls' views about living in Soviet Russia after the Civil War. I had to read this book for a Geography project, and though I wasn't thrilled, after I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. This wonderful author writes very vivid descriptions of horrible. Though very depressing, We The Living was a well written, true to life book. I woul reccommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written before The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, this novel does not define Rand's philosophical ideas as clearly as her later efforts. As an author, however, apart from any philosophy, Rand proved that she was as skilled as any. This is a love story, a story of the individual versus the collective, and a statement on man's right to life. A masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a woman named Kira Argounova who tries to live in the tomblike atmosphere of Communist Russia. She does not break, she is not defeated, she remains an individual, and does not allow herself to be crushed by a collectivist society. It is also about two men, Leo the the defeated individualist, and Andrei, the collectivist who realizes that he has lived a lie. This book is a classic, it is touching and powerful. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand what life under Communism or any other form of dictatorship is like to live under. It shows the hopelessness of the people trapped in the airtight tomb that is a dictatorship
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time in middleschool. It was my introduction to russian literature. I reread it in late highschool. I've read atlas shrugged and the fountain head too but this one is my favorite. It isnt dripping with her infamous philosphy. Instead it is the beginning of it, her raw expression of what would become defining elements in her later work. Its been about 10 years and i am looking forward to giving it another read. PS dont let your middle school child read it. Im not even sure how i got my hands on it but my teacher was not thrilled with my book report and my parents got scolded. Lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not a love story a some people have commented. It is about the effects communism has upon those who are forced to live under it. You witness the slow painfull demise of even the greatest of people's will to fight for what they know is right. This book is, like rands other novels, prophetic and should be appied to america today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel does not fall short of a pure master piece. I have read two other of Any Rand's novels, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem. As far as We the Living is concerned it clearly shows you how socialism stamps the life of the individual and forces the to comply for the benefit of the collective. Kira did not hold this belief because she saw herself as an individual who wanted to LIVE life after all the hardships she endured. Even after all these years and over 3 million copies sold,Ayn Rand is telling is all about the dangers of socialism and how it can seep through the cracks,.take root in society and wreak havoc and destruction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite novel when I was twenty and still one of my favorites. Is this the direction we are headed as a country? While this is a work of fiction, it is full of glimpses of a socialist government. Love this author and this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
History repeats itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Captivating and fascinating
aaron robinson More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story
Monday More than 1 year ago
I used to be a great admirer of Ayn Rand. In my youth, I was enthralled and inspired by The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Even now, I'm enjoying Anne C. Heller's biography, Ayn Rand and the World She Made. But We the Living is nothing more than an upscale romance novel. Characters are cardboard, plot is predictable, and style is at times embarrassing. Cover is nice, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ayn Rand is one of those rare authors who can touch reader's heart with her astounding writing style as well as make the reader thoroughly experience the emotional aspect of the story. As I read We the Living, I became mesmerized with characters and the plot of the story. Unable to stop reading, I finished the book in one sitting. In my opinion everyone should read this book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic, Ayn Rand's use of language was clear and vivid throughout and it made you feel the reality of the story which was a reality to many people. Some people might disagree with it's views when they are put bluntly, but when the results of some things are clearly shown the tendency to attach yourself to the views of the other is obvious. The book is heartwrenching, and yet it is necessary to continue reading to the conclusion.
Patriot1 More than 1 year ago
If you ever wondered what communism looks like, this book makes a clear statement on the topic. If you ever think things are rough, or unfair, in the USA this is a must read. It is based on her experience as a young lady growing up in the Soviet Union right after the revolution. You won't believe the hardship and suffering of the people, especially those who would not, or could not, be members of the Communist part.
Yen_Sullivan More than 1 year ago
Heartwrenching look at not just effect of collectivism, but the massacre of idealism, January 29, 2009
By Yen Sullivan - See all my reviews

This is an amazing and completely heart wrenching first novel of Ayn Rand and to me, her best, as it not only captured the destructive effects of collectivism but also the emergence of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Set in post-Russian Revolution, We the Living portrayed the chaotic uncertainty and political changes that robbed many Russians of their rights as individuals.

As Ayn Rand experienced life under communist tyranny firsthand, she breathed life into the three main characters and slowly unraveled a moving story as their lives became intertwined. Kira was an independent spirit as she refused to succumb to the brutal regime and its suffocation of her individuality. She represented the epitome of all young innocent idealists. Leo, her one true love, another character we all have ran into our life, handsome, dashing, and yet completely unreconciled. He took Kira's unconditional love for granted as she helplessly trying to save his spiraling descent into bitterness and anger. He was targeted as an enemy of the state due to his post-status of Bourgeoisie as the new regime completely pummeled his rational consciousness. Finally, Andrei, an officer of the Soviet Secret police whose idealism was also completely shattered when he questioned the underlying fallacy of Communism. The love triangle of Kira, Andrei and Leo was completely entrenched with a sadness that paralleled the realities of an affair, in this case, not just of the heart but of the battle of "the individual against the state" also. However, I do find Kira hiding behind her convictions, and somehow justified her abuse and maltreatment to Andrei disturbing. I suppose if you totally believe in objectivism, for her it is justified. My heart definitely goes out to Andrei, the only decent characters who was true to his heart until the end, even if his beliefs change over the time period, he still stayed true to his moral ethics.

This novel was not well received at first due to its controversial nature and had a hard time getting published in the 30's. It wasn't until after the success of "Atlas Shrugged" that Ayn Rand managed to get this book more widely accepted. We the Living successfully denounced not just Communism, but of every entity that claims the right to sacrifice the supreme value of an individual human right or life. There is no book out there that fully captures how bad it was when communism massacred the spirits of the people. She managed to portrayed "the absolute concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." (Objectivism) in a novel form. Indeed, this book will resonate and haunt for the rest of the reader's life
Guest More than 1 year ago
Among all Ayn Rand's books it is the only book that is not an idea compressed into fiction. From the first pages I could feel that it was based on the personal experience. The described details of the Soviet reality could not be imagined. The protagonists are more realistic than in any other Rand's book. The storyline is excellent. The author's philosophy is not yet dominating the story as in her other books, but only supplementing it. If you have to read only one book by Ayn Rand, this is the one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is thought provoking and emotional to the core. The struggle between heroes and villains are very vivid and the show of human triumph and degradation is efficacious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it made me cry it made me laugh it challenged my philosophy it made me want to read more ayn rand read this book if you want to read a masterpiece
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago