Two major new books on Ayn Rand testify to the continuing impact of America's most influential novelist of ideas. Sales of Rand's books have been impressive for 66 years -- more than 25 million -- and have recently surged, perhaps in response to the dramatic increase in government intrusion into the free market. Rand remains a major influence on both libertarian and conservative communities, and these two new studies illustrate the growing scholarly interest in her impact.
Jennifer Burns, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, looks at the development of Rand's ideas and her alliances -- and clashes -- with other intellectual and political figures. New York writer Anne Heller draws on original research in Russia, dozens of interviews with Rand's relatives and acquaintances, and previously unexamined archives to develop the first complete and independent biography.
Cato's executive vice president David Boaz has played a key role in the development of the Cato Institute and the libertarian movement. He is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on domestic issues such as education choice, drug legalization, the growth of government, and the rise of libertarianism.
He is the author of Libertarianism: A Primer, described by the Los Angeles Times as "a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas," the editor of The Libertarian Reader, and coeditor of the Cato Handbook on Policy.
Boaz is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate.
He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows, and has appeared on ABC's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher", CNN's "Crossfire", NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and "All Things Considered", "John McLaughlin's One on One", Fox News Channel, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other media.
Jennifer Burns was educated at Harvard College and received her Ph.D. in American History from the University of California, Berkeley. Her new book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, began as her doctoral dissertation. She spent more than eight years working on the book, and was fortunate to be granted access to Rand's personal papers and private diaries for her research.
Professor Burns teaches American history at the University of Virginia, and divides her time between Charlottesville, VA and Menlo Park, CA. Lectures from her introductory course on American history are available at iTunes.berkeley.edu and can be found by searching for History 7b in Social Sciences.
Anne C. Heller
Anne C. Heller is a magazine editor and journalist. She has been the managing editor of The Antioch Review, a fiction editor of Esquire and Redbook, the features editor of Lear's, and the executive editor of the magazine development group at Conde Nast Publications, with a special emphasis on money and finance.
It was Ayn Rand's writing about money that first aroused her interest in the author, who is one of the most passionate defenders of capitalism of all time. Heller has written for a number of national magazines.