Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is a classic philosophy and political book. The book presents a dystopian vision of a future United States where society is in decline due to government interference and collectivist policies. You will read about metal trains, railroads, business love affairs, and big government with a lot of dialogue that will distract your mind. It’s all about the mind and the importance of thinking and morals. For a while, the love scenes were all that kept me interested in this book. Everybody in this book was getting frisky. The beauty of this book is that it makes you question your values and principles.
You saw the road to serfdom government was overpowering business, placing so many regulations and laws. The National Alliance of Railroads protected the welfare of the railroad industry. For many things, we’re trying to limit production and give everyone a fair share. It was all very communal, and business suffered. Everything truly was collapsing because of all of these government regulations. Ultimately, the government realized what was happening, and they wanted out.
Atlas Shrugged was banned in the Soviet Union and other communist countries for its controversial ideas. Despite any bans or controversies, it remains widely available and has a dedicated following. Readers continue to engage with the book’s ideas, and it continues to provoke discussions on philosophy, economics, and the role of government in society.
Books like Atlas Shrugged offer philosophical concepts and engage in critical thinking, individualism, capitalism, and the role of government. Reading books with similar depth and complexity can challenge your thinking, expand your intellectual horizons, and stimulate your mind. They can inspire you to contemplate ideas and themes beyond the surface level.
5 Books Like Atlas Shrugged (Classic Political Fiction)
Atlas Shrugged has a fixed rule: There’s no going back. You got to hit rock bottom and rebuild. This book showed that anybody could stand up to the government. They all were excellent examples of pioneers and people who knew how to stand up for liberty. It’s from the Atlas Society, and it goes through all of the characters with simple descriptions of them very helpful.
The book features several lengthy speeches and monologues that sometimes make it hard to read, but I reread them and enjoyed them. I will talk about five classic political fiction books like Atlas Shrugged. Let’s begin!
1. The Road to Serfdom
The Road to Serfdom explores the detrimental effects of collectivism, highlighting the failures of socialism and the potential dangers of well-intentioned government interventions. Like Atlas Shrugged, this book is about liberalism, fascism, Nazis, totalitarianism, national socialism, democratic socialism, collectivism, and the rule of law.
The author Hynek used many German words and terms in the book. It would take quite a long time because he used many of them. Hynek also referred to quite a few figures. So he used some names, Max Eastman, Professor Harold Lasky, Werner, Sombath, and Johan Pledge.
Many unbelievable events happen in socialism, and the government takes certain words that the people are familiar with. Then the government changes the meaning of those words. It’s highly twisted. So, socialism changed the word freedom in this case, and now there’s a new freedom. So to the great apostles of political freedom, the word had meant freedom from coercion and the arbitrary power of other men released from the ties. It left the individual no choice but to obedience to the orders of a superior to whom he was attached.
However, the new freedom promised was freedom from necessity, released from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice of all of us. The overall takeaway from this book is to be aware of what socialism is and know the warning signs, and education is key.
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Political Philosophy, Development & Growth Economics
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
2. Brave New World
Brave New World is a dystopian novel published in 1932 and set in 632 Afaf, meaning Henry Ford, about 500 years later. We meet Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne in a very different world from ours. It’s a dictatorship and stable society.
The population is limited. Natural reproduction no longer exists, but people are encouraged to be promiscuous. People are conditioned to conform and to belong to one of several castes. They are given a hierarchy and conditioned to believe their place is the best.
Bernard is slightly different in that he isn’t happy in this world. He feels like something is wrong. He disapproves of how society is maintained, whereas Lenina is more or less comfortable and popular anyway. The two go on holiday together to a savage reservation, savages being people who are not part of the new world order.
They meet Linda, who used to be from their world, and her son, John Bernard, gets permission to bring these two back home with him. Then the story is involved with the contrast between these two worlds. There’s the world of the savages, which is more like our world.
People get old in the usual way, and the new world where all things are taboo, unheard of, or strange. In the first half, we learn about the world of 6:32, how society functions, how people are born, and how they live. It’s exciting but quite remote. Then, in the second half, things pick up a bit. We meet a society that is a lot more recognizable.
We meet John, the main character brought up in that world but is still somewhat separate from his mother. He has been taught to read using Shakespeare, banned in the New World state. It’s easier to contrast their world with ours when you have a character going.
John allows you to see how the people are affected by their society. It has more impact. Obviously, it passes comments on the problems and successes of our world through the filter of this one. It’s usually successful at this, although it can be obscure as Atlas Shrugged.
Author: Aldous Huxley
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Classic American Literature, Science Fiction, Philosophy
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
3. The Prince
The Prince is a seminal work exploring the nature of power, governance dynamics, and political leadership’s complexities. Around the 15th century, Italy was politically turbulent, waging war left, right, and center.
For the first part of his life, Machiavelli worked in public service in the Republic of Florence when the Medici family returned to power. He was accused of conspiring against them and was put in jail. He was exiled from the city when he was released, becoming a philosopher and writer. It talks exclusively about how princes can gain and maintain power. He uses a lot of contemporary examples from political situations in Italy at the time and quite a few classic examples.
Machiavellian is now used to describe a particularly vile, cruel type of politician. That’s the type of person that Machiavelli describes in this book, that princes don’t conform to traditional morals. They do what they can to sustain their power and encourage peace and stability in their states, sometimes including murder. He gives specific advice about how hereditary princes can best rule their conditions, the main foundations of every state, new states, ancient or composite ones, good laws, and good arms.
When power over people is given to you, it’s harder to keep. There are only politics but business and matters of bureaucracy. His advice is universal to anybody that wants to gain power. Machiavelli goes very rational explanations for things that we might consider immoral. Also, this raises the question of whether it is better to be loved than feared or the reverse. The philosophical aspects and political rules are very similar to Atlas Shrugged.
Author: Niccolo Machiavelli
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Political Philosophy
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback
4. The Handmaid’s Tale
Since the genre is dystopian, many unpleasant things are happening in this book. The story takes place in the Republic of Gilead. The U.S. government was overthrown, and a new totalitarian state was formed called Gilliard. The entire social structure has changed, and not for the better. Women have been stripped of all their rights, and they have been divided into specific categories. So there are the wives, the aunts, handmaids, martyrs, etc. Everything has been banned for everyone.
All the handmaids are stripped of their names as well, so the purpose of the handmaids is to breed. Only fertile women are made handmaids. They are allotted to powerful men who are commanders, and these commanders have to impregnate these handmaids. This particular handmaid who narrates this story is called Offred. Similarly, other handmaids are also named in this fashion only.
The Handmaid’s Tale is divided into two parts. One part is the night part, and the other is the events during the day, as Offred narrates. We also read about Offred’s flashbacks as she talks about when things were normal during the story. The first thing that I have to say is that it entirely lives up to its genre, which is dystopian. A good dystopian novel is supposed to terrify you to the core, and that’s what The Handmaid’s Tale and Atlas Shrugged do.
The nature of the story is such that every character you come across will elicit a reaction from you as a reader. The circumstances are so abnormal that when you read about different characters and their responses, you can’t help but be impacted. Offred is an excellent choice for the narrator because she is a woman who wants to break out of the system. But she has also succumbed to it. Another character that stood out for me was Moira. She’s the opposite of Offred. She is very rebellious and does not feel scared of the system.
These women represent very different personalities. So there is a dictatorship. Everything has been banned. Basic freedom has been snatched from people, women especially. But does that stop people from having desires? Does that stop people from resisting? These are the questions tackled in this book, how people behave and how characters react to different situations. All of that is an essential part of the story’s narrative.
Author: Margaret Atwood
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Political Fiction, Dystopian Fiction & Literary
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
5. The Beekeeper of Aleppo
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is about the love of hope, severe PTSD, and war. This couple is called Nuri and Afra, and they journey from Syria to try and escape the war and the bombings to try and claim asylum in the UK. They decided to come to the UK because his cousin, who has a beekeeping business, went ahead of him. The story follows Nuri and Afra on their journey through Turkey through Greece.
You end up reflecting that what you read is going to flash-forward flashback. So you get to know the characters. Then start to understand their intentions that you read about at the beginning of the book towards the end. As the story continues, you question your opinions, thoughts, and the process. The political aspects and plot developments are similar to Atlas Shrugged.
Author: Christy Lefteri
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Political Fiction, Cultural Heritage
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD
If you don’t fully agree with the ideas presented in “Atlas Shrugged” or similar books, reading them can help you understand different ideological perspectives. They show individual rights, government role, innovation power, and the importance of rational self-interest.
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