Wednesday, May 25, 2005

12 Angry Books: 1, 'We'

I’ve promised to blog my ‘twelve most influential books’ just as other libertarian bloggers have been, and to replace the ‘great lost post’ from a few days ago in which I talked about all twelve. In detail.
So I’m going to tell you one at a time, beginning with the first.
The first book to influence me in a libertarian direction was We, by E.I. Zamyatin, one of those novels of dystopia so popular as warnings of where not to go.
I can remember very little about it, except that it brought me up short: this, the young me said, is not the way to go about things. And pray God things are not gone about this way!

A tame librarian at my local had forgiven me for stealing books (yes, I confess), and had noticed my reading material had included Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Thomas More’s Utopia and the like, and had ordered in Zamyatin’s masterpiece for me. Thank goodness he did.
I’ve been interested since to find writers arguing for a connection between Ayn Rand and Zamyatin (here for example) but since We none of the novels of dystopia has grabbed me in the same way, including
Rand’s own Anthem.
It was my first, and it will always be special. I’d love to find a local copy now.

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