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Author: Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum)
Published: 1938
Language: English
Wordcount: 19,062 / 55 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 85.9
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 62,752 5832

"A dystopian fiction novella by Ayn Rand, first published in 1938. It takes place at some unspecified future date when mankind has entered another dark age as a result of the evils of irrationality and collectivism and the weaknesses of socialistic thinking and economics."--Wikipedia

Show Excerpt

hey reach their fifteenth year. Then they go to work. In the Home of the Students we arose when the big bell rang in the tower and we went to our beds when it rang again. Before we removed our garments, we stood in the great sleeping hall, and we raised our right arms, and we said all together with the three Teachers at the head:

"We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State. Amen."

Then we slept. The sleeping halls were white and clean and bare of all things save one hundred beds.

We, Equality 7-2521, were not happy in those years in the Home of the Students. It was not that the learning was too hard for us. It was that the learning was too easy. This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick. It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them. The Teachers told us so, and they frowned when they looked upon us.

So we fought against thi

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.8 from 26 reviews: ****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1938) Sci-fi (Future world) / Adventure (Escape) / Romance

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • It is a future time when the Earth has reverted to a socialistic dark ages, after war.

  • Independent thought and action is forbidden.

  • A boy rebels, and he and a girl flee the city for what ever new life awaits them.

  • This boy finds that you can empathize with but not just live for others. He declares his independence and and in a single word, his 'Anthem'.


I loved this book. It is a great treatise on the rights of the individual. A must read for everybody who is unsure of his/her individuality.

Andrew Ives

Utter twaddle from beginning to end. Unfortunately, it's quite well-written twaddle and led me to believe that some profound revelation was perhaps coming at some point, rather than the facile and stupid 'rousing' ending. The "we" thing quickly became tiresome too. Even though Anthem is short, I still found it a total waste of my time.

Lyrica Silvan

I love this book. My first time reading it was in my sophomore English class, and ever since I have been trying to find it again.

This book provides a very unique view of a futuristic society. True, the "live and think as one" concept has been done before, but every author has their own style, and I believe Ayn Rand's rendition is spectacular. Not only does it reach out to those who feel outcast in their own societies because they are different, but also to the strength of one's own dreams, and the power of the individual to rise up against oppression. This is a beautiful work of literature, and I highly recommend it.


An interesting read by an intelligent woman, but let's be perfectly clear: one cannot cherry-pick the notions of self-interest and self-sufficiency from the Ayn Rand tree of atheist thought. All religions are based on the principles of community support and aid for the poor which Rand found absolutely repellent. If you are a religious person who is attracted to Ayn Rand's philosophy you must question either your religious allegiance or your comprehension of her writing.


I loved this book. It is a great treatise on the rights of the individual. A must read for every teenager who is unsure of his/her individuality.

JoJo Biggins

An interesting read, but ultimately a humanist manifesto.

Sardo Weems

A rather weak short story. Orwell's 1984 is a much better view of a totalitarian culture. The book relies on coincidence too much (finding a tunnel, finding a house in the wilderness,) and the characters are two dimensional, the only woman existing just to bear him his sons (daughters seem not to matter to him.) Rand seems never to have slept outdoors in the woods.

The polemic at the end just repeats her theme that social virtues are evil and the only true virtue is selfishness. It reminded me of a hillbilly explaining why he has no need of g'ummint.


Ayn Rand did a pretty good job of presenting a society where individual initiative and expression are repressed to a severe degree, but her portrayal would have benefited by showing why the ancestors of these people rebelled against and eventually tore down the previous civilization.

People just don't wake up in the morning and decide to break machines and turn off the electricity. Why they decided to overthrow their previous rulers and do away with technology is never explained.


I first read this as a teen recommended by my independent-thinking parents (thanks, Mom & Dad!), and now I'm so pleased to have an e-copy of it. And especially happy that it is required reading for my daughter's 10th grade class! Maybe hope for the world, after all?


In Anthem, Ayn presents us with a "futuristic" fable that fails to deliver anything except her objectification of humans. Supposedly, altruism, caring and sharing and the other best human traits have destoryed society when "clearly" the rich should simply have been allowed to eat the poor.

Ranger J

A cross beteeen science ficton and current events.


Thought provoking and enjoyable read.


A touching story of self-doubt, mental suffering and self-discovery!

Muddy Gurl

I wish this could be read by all HS students!
I did not find the resolution predictable, it could have gone any number of ways, and I hung on for the ride all the way. The character speaking as he did in his 'society' was very moving.

Recommended to any age person!


Wonderful story, only reason i'm not getting it is because i've read it about six times


This is an interesting read (I almost wrote screed :-).

Most of the prose is written in first person plural, which makes for lyrical and quaint sentence constructions that sound nearly biblical in their peculiarity. The character(s) are likable and admirable. The plot is mostly pleasant and predictably standard science fiction: misunderstood hero rises above circumstances to find love and truth.

The biggest flaw in the book is the philosophical false dilemma presented in the last two chapters. Rand describes two possible human societies: one based on grey socialistic uniformity and the other of prismatic individuality. The book would have been more interesting if there had been more options that were presented, and in a more nuanced way.


"...I have lived in the City of the damned, and I know what horror men permitted to be brought upon them."

A wonderful tale of the triumph of the human spirit.


Ayn rand at her best!!

one cant stop thinking once he/she reads the book

Michael Traynor

The monologue at the end was incredible. This book made me think.


Very good book I can not put it down


A classic. Written by possibly the founder of modern libertarian / pro-capitalist thought.


misguided work buy a misguided author

bea bubu

Very interesting. A visionary in did .

Pak Nagasing

A must read. Powerful and linger on long afterward. Does it remind you of something religion ? read on.


We couldn't put it down.



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