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by Ayn Rand

Book by Rand, Ayn
Download We the Living epub
ISBN: 0451034112
ISBN13: 978-0451034113
Category: Literature
Author: Ayn Rand
Language: English
Publisher: Signet (December 1, 1967)
ePUB size: 1178 kb
FB2 size: 1352 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 425
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Ayn Rand was a good writer and a great storyteller. That I have always had trouble with the far reaches of her philosophy does not take away from that.

In We the Living, her first book, the philosophy is much clearer and more understandable than in most of her other books. The real crux of it was that she hated life in Soviet Russia, and in this book, she clearly details what it was like there in the 1920’s.

The point is made in the introduction that:

The basic cause of totalitarianism is two ideas: men’s rejection of reason in favor of faith, and of self-interest in favor of self-sacrifice. If this is a society’s philosophical consensus, it will not be long before an all-powerful Leader rises up to direct the faith and sacrifice that everyone has been extolling.

Rand, Ayn. We the Living . Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

But what I see in this story is a lot of people who only pay lip-service to the so-called faith (in communism or socialism, or whatever) that they are supposed to have. And they quickly learn how to work the system to their own advantage. It is not only the dictator, or the very high government officials who are the oppressors. A large body of lesser officials and just everyday folks, having already cynically given up on the supposed ideals of the system, have figured out how to manipulate things to their own advantage, all while piously spouting the platitudes about sacrifice and so on that are the official opinion. These people, who profess to have the strongest faith – in this instance, in the sacred value of the people – are certainly not giving up their self-interest in favor of self-sacrifice, no matter how many speeches they make to the contrary.

Against this background, there is the love triangle of Kira and Leo and Andrei. Kira, the protagonist of the story, falls in love with Leo, the son of a disgraced admiral. Because he sees himself as too good to sink to the level of the Communists, she regards him as the ideal man. They attempt to flee the country together but are caught and sent back before they really get anywhere.

Andrei is a serious Communist – a member of the G.P.U. Kira meets him at the technical institute she attends in the beginning. She keeps trying to convince him that the idea that people must live for the state is evil. It is not until much later that he becomes convinced.

Leo becomes ill with tuberculosis and needs to go to a sanatorium out of the city. The only way Kira can afford to send him is to agree to become Andrei’s lover in exchange for money.

When he returns from the sanatorium, Leo has changed, and not for the better. He becomes involved in a shady business deal since he can get no legitimate work. Eventually, the precarious network of corruption behind Leo’s business is exposed by other people trying to forward their own interests, and Andrei comes to his apartment to arrest him. After Kira goes to Andrei’s apartment and yells at him, Leo is released yet again, and his partners are blackmailed into keeping quiet about the whole affair. Andrei commits suicide, earning himself a massive Party funeral, where shortly before everyone was warning him he would not survive the next purge. Leo, too timid to commit suicide directly, continues to invite disaster by drinking, gambling, and going off on vacation with his partner’s wife. And Kira makes serious plans to leave the country alone since she can’t get Leo interested in coming with her.
shortly after I read these ayn's great creation, my mind was absolutely overtaken by her ideas of objectivism and individually. it's frankly sad to see that even though collectivism had failed throughout history, yet we still see countries praising such of deprivation of life as an Socialism/Communism utopia provides to society. I'm Venezuelan myself, I can tell you from my own experience how such of great opportunist rich country, has became nothing less but a authoritarian anarchy. No one has pretty much any chance of becoming a self autonomous, productive individual unless you bow to the governmental authorities. Everything from common goods to food rations, its perhaps becoming scarcer as times goes by. And if you raised against the system, you can truthfully have in mind that you would get shot by the country's national guard. Not more free speech and pacifist march sort say. Sad part of this whole ordeal, is that it does matter whom the president designates as a leader of certain branch or committee, he ought to choice regardless of the orderly legislature process, by more or less forcibly using his powers. I truly suggest this novel to anyone whom may still have an individual common sense.
Everything Ayn Rand has written transcends time. This book even more so. If people wonder what the "first free country" will look like if they continue to elect political leaders who have a "death premise",such as they have, all they need to do is read this book and they'll know. I just hope it's not too late.

I truly believe if We The Living and Atlas Shrugged had been mandatory reading for JR/Senior High school students, respectively,even as short a time as 10-13 Yrs ago, our country would be going in an entirely different direction. Or at the least we'd be in better position to turn it around. Unfortunately, I believe our children and grandchildren have an unimaginably more difficult fight ahead of them because of the socialistic ideals of the "God-Fearing Mystics" and "Selfless Humanitarians", leaders our generation voted into power,who's ideals are being spread like a plague across this amazing country and turned into policy as this is being written.

I wish I could go back in time to show my parents, and my younger self, the warning signs to look for. But as a Romantic Realist, I know I can only try to change what happens tomorrow and the day after that. And the only way to do that is by spreading the philosophical ideals, the morals and the Life Premise that I learned from Ayn Rand.

This story is about as close to an autobiographical account of Ayn Rands life in the USSR as we will ever know. The ideals, the values of our young heroine are all here in young Kira. Her younger sister drew caricatures just as Irena did. The physical description of her Uncle Vasili is based on her father. The young character Leo, the man Kira loves, is fashioned after AR's first love in college. A character who became so entwined with the real Leo that even though she disliked the name, she couldn't separate the two and couldn't change the name. The Russia she see. The Russia she live.This Russia is not a character, but the real backdrop to her story and played a big role in who the person Ayn and "Kira" became.

It is a love story. Two totally different men with different lives and seemingly two very different philosophies on life. The only thing they have in common is their "soul" (not a spiritual soul"). These two men, the way the act, react, and how they see life is what draws Kira to them. When the country takes away everything you own, uses you as an example of the worst of humanity, takes away your freedom to be who you are, say what you think, do what you want, live as you want to live ...what do you do?

This is the premise of the story. What does communism do to your soul? What will it do to any country and to its people. It crushes their spirit. Destroys the individual with their hopes an dreams and desires. None of these things are allowed in a collective society. Every idea, thought, desire, anything that makes you an individual is stomped out of you. Every breath you take is not your own. It belongs to your comrades, your brothers and sisters. There is no "I" in socialism, communism, totalitarianism, whatever label you give it. There is only We.

Spoiler alert.....

Ayn Rand takes you from the beginning to the ending of the lives of these 3 young people. You will feel what they feel: joy, pain, disbelief, helplessness, hope, defiance, hopelessness, bitter cold, disgust, fear, courage beyond imagination, love without limits and the utter dispair when everything is lost and you are totally and completely alone.

You will go through the ups and downs of the lives they lived, will understand who they are and what they believe in. Will wonder WHY did she do that to a beloved character, cry if you are anything like me at the loss of life and be completely in shock at how the story ends. This is no fairytale, so there is no fairytale ending. You will understand when you read her epilogue why she had to end it as she did. But you will still cry for Kira. For everything she lost and, at the very end, what she found.

You only have 3 Choices when you live in a world that crushes who you are. When there's nothing left.
1. suicide- it finally breaks you
2. close off your mind completely. The only thing you have that they can't take is your mind. So you drown who you are with alcohol, parties, do anything to make yourself forget what you can never have. You don't compromise, you don't bend but you break. Who you are disappears and you become an empty shell of a human being. It is like a drawn out suicide.
3. You run away, try to escape. You neither compromise what you believe, bend or break. You don't lose hope or give in to the Life you know is out there for you. You run until you can't run anymore and you escape or die trying. Either way you remain unconquered.

Each of these 3 characters took a different road. Each made a different choice and each has a different ending. AR explains why each of the 3 had to go down the road they did.

This is a tragic love story but more importantly, it is a tragic "Life" story. A tragedy that seems more and more possible in the country that our original leaders created to be free, one in which we believe the promise that "Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness" can not be taken from us. We need to open our eyes. Open our neighbors eyes, the World's eyes because this could easily become America if we stay on the path we are on. We outlawed slavery a long time ago. We can't permit it to come back for the sake of the collective. "I" must always remain the most important word in our society. AYN RAND taught me that.
This is a very good novel but at 500+ pages it gets a little tedious to read. Way more text painting than what I need. I am interested in following the activity of characters but there is a lot of (too much in my opinion) filler describing mundane things that seems to be an attempt by author to show off her writing skills. Never-the-less I would recommend this novel for the insight into the living conditions in Russia and for the historical content related to the revolution.

I've read other Ayn Rand books which are insightful but also subject to her verbose writing technique.