From the Introduction by Leonard Peikoff:
I was a student and friend of Ayn Rand’s for thirty-one years, from 1951—when she was 46 and writing Atlas Shrugged—until her death in 1982, at the age of 77. So people always ask me: “What was she really like?” My standard answer is: “Read her novels; she was everything their creator would have to be.” But now I have a follow-up answer: “Read her letters.”
. . . [This collection] captures her mind—and also her feelings, her actions, her achievements, her character, her soul . . . Through them you can see her thinking and choosing and judging and reacting day by day, across decades, in virtually every aspect of her professional and personal life.
. . . Ayn Rand not only says or does—she says why; she always gives her reasons. Like the person I knew, therefore, her letters are the opposite of casual or purposeless. They are focused, deliberate, and bracingly logical. In a word, they display in lifelong practice the quality extolled as the top virtue by her own philosophy of Objectivism: rationality.
. . . The letters are a treasure trove of material in regard to this unique woman . . .
Here then is Ayn Rand talking privately—to agents and lawyers, to actors and writers, to relatives and columnists, to friends and antagonists, to industrialists and teenagers and philosophers and priests, to her favorite radio announcer, her “boss” Hal Wallis, her first American employer, Cecil B. DeMille—talking to Frank Lloyd Wright and H.L. Mencken and Alexander Kerensky and her long-lost sister and astronaut Michael Collins and Barry Goldwater and Bennett Cerf and Mickey Spillane and many others, some famous, some obscure, some unknown. These last include a legion of fans bursting with provocative questions from all over the country and the world. Here is Ayn Rand talking about everything under the sun—and now we have the privilege of listening in.
In addition to being an irreplaceable source of information about Ayn Rand the person, these letters feature discussions of her novels and philosophy that are not available elsewhere. Of particular note is the chapter “Letters to A Philosopher,” in which Ayn Rand corresponds with philosopher John Hospers on a dazzling array of subjects, from egoism to Plato to Marx to psychology to the nature of time.
Table of Contents
- Introduction By Leonard Peikoff
- Preface by Michael S. Berliner
- Chronology of Ayn Rand’s Life
- Arrival in America to We the Living (1926-1936)
- We the Living to The Fountainhead (1937-1943)
- Letters to Frank Lloyd Wright
- Return to Hollywood (1944)
- Letters to Isabel Paterson
- The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Years
- Letters to a Philosopher
- The Later Years (1960-1981)
- Appendix: A Letter from Ayn Rand “To the Readers of The Fountainhead”
(Softcover; 681 pages)