We the Living: Anniversary Edition

We the Living: Anniversary Edition

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - 60th Anniversary Edition)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451187840
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1996
Edition description: 60th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 4.26(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

We the Living: Anniversary Edition 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 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
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
jpsnow on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This one's so sobering. It's still typical of her other works, though more raw. She described it as the closest thing to an autobiography she would write, and that comes through. Perhaps it should be forced on anyone advocating communism.
justmeRosalie on LibraryThing 10 months ago
timoroso on LibraryThing 10 months ago
In short, We the Living is aesthetically imperfect. The characters often give unnatural speeches, the descriptive passages do not support the story in the way they should, and the language is sometimes awkward. Still, it is a good early description of life in Soviet Russia, and it has quite an entertaining story despite all the gloominess.The novel has perhaps too many characters, since there is not enough space to develop them all fully. For example, we do not know how the doubts the characters have. Some characters seem to be there only for Rand to make a point, and do not help the story. The protagonist is somewhat flat (more about that later). Some of the minor characters seem pointless, but some of them are interesting and could have a larger role.Please stop reading if you want to avoid knowing details about the story.In the end, we do not really get to know the protagonist Kira at all. It is remarkable that while we follow her through the whole novel, we never really get a good idea of what she wants. In the beginning she wants to build bridges, for one reason or another. Then this dream is taken away from her. She begins to love two men (or at least one), but we never really understand the emotional effects of this love, and it remains possible that it is not love at all but just an obsession. As the novel progresses, she grows always more negative, wanting to escape for the sake of escaping. This might work as a dramatization of how totalitarianism destroys the ideals of a person, but since Kira's ideals were so vague to begin with, the effect is weak.An interesting thing is that Rand seems to have changed her opinions after writing We the Living. She puts a lot of rhetorical effort into making Leo the bad guy and Andrei the good guy. It is as if there was bad potential in Leo and good potential in Andrei, and this potential is fulfilled in the end. Yet Rand, writing years after the publication of the novel, indicates that Leo is philosophically the good guy, and that it is only the evil system that makes him bad. Accordingly, Andrei is a fool, although a fool with courage and some integrity. I think that Rand is making a forced, unjustified reinterpretation of her old text.While not completely innocent, We the Living for the most part manages to escape being just a long sermon (which is something for which Rand is often criticized).
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Ayn Rand's ideas are so controversial and notorious I think it's hard for many to evaluate her novels fairly. I am an admirer, even if not an uncritical one, and think if you read only one novel of hers, it probably should be Atlas Shrugged--that's the book that best represents her philosophy if you want to understand her and her influence. But We The Living, Rand's first novel, is more approachable--much shorter, far less didactic and with characters that are more human and complex than the almost abstractions you see in her other novels. Maybe that's because, as Rand herself said, We the Living "is as near an autobiography" as she'd ever write, that though the plot and characters are from her imagination, "the background is not." The setting is revolutionary Russia in the twenties, which is where Rand came of age before she came to America. The novel revolves around a love triangle: Kira, the central protagonist, is in love with Leo, a counter-revolutionary, and in order to save his life gets involved with Andrei, an idealistic communist and a decent man. In many ways I find Andrei the most interesting, complex and sympathetic character in the novel--not what you might expect from Rand's reputation. But there may be no better way to show how the Communist Revolution betrayed what is human than through someone who fought for its ideals. This, on the other hand, is definitely Rand's darkest work--but I think it's rewarding to read particularly as a bleak but vivid portrait of Soviet Russia from a keen observer that escaped it. I personally find Rand's style striking and lyrical; there are many passages that are memorable and quotable and it's a compelling read with a powerful impact.
snowflake9903 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a mostly autobiograhical look at young Ayn's life. I enjoyed reading about post - revolution Russia. It really helpd me comprehend their people and way of life during that time a little better. It's an amazing book and I can't recommend it highly enough. Rand is a master.
katemcangus on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Everyone hates on Ayn Rand, but I straight up loved this book. I read it long before I had any concept of who Rand was or what she believed, and thus think it can stand alone.
Angelic55blonde on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Ayn Rand's first novel and I really liked it. Although it's not as indepth or developed as "Atlas Shrugged" or "the Fountainhead", it's still a great piece of work. Anyone who likes Ayn Rand should definitely read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago