Saturday, 21 January 2006

Betrayal and biography

I've been persuaded to read a certain book that has Ayn Rand enthusiasts in a lather. I was persuaded to read it reluctantly, and I ended it enthusiastically -- but in some anger.

You can find out why in my review, here, of the book -- an examination of Rand's erstwhile biographers. If you need to be persuaded, Noodle Food's Diana calls it:
a fantastic review ... of James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics (PARC). It's perhaps the most passionate book review I've ever read -- and thus perfectly appropriate to its subject. It's also a delight to read, so I'm pleased to strongly recommend it. Those who've already devoured PARC are sure to particularly appreciate its stubborn refusal to mince words.
I expect regular readers of Not PC would be fairly unsurprised to hear about a refusal to mince words. Read more of Diana's review of my review here. Read the review itself here. And listen to an entertaining interview with the author of PARC here.

Links: A Review of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics - Diana Hsieh
Betraying the self - Peter Cresswell
Valliant vs Branden & Branden - Prodos interview


  1. Rather than register again at solo I offer my praise for your outstanding review. Bravo.

    Tom Rowland

  2. Robert Winefield21 Jan 2006, 12:47:00

    Yes, Bravo Peter! It was very well written, but I repeat the question I asked on SOLOP:

    If I've never read one word the Branden's have written and I don't give a rat's arse about the affair - what is there in PARC for me?

  3. Hey dax!

    "If I've never read one word the Branden's have written and I don't give a rat's arse about the affair - what is there in PARC for me?"

    Nothing I daresay - but then YOU have no right to comment that Rand should have "kept her legs shut" or whatever bullshit thing you said.

    When 2 people have wracked up airpoints on someone else's dime for 40 years I think it is worthy of discussion. Lord knows why some people ever thought the Brandens were worthy of admiration in the first place.

  4. Ruth..

    Hindsight is, of course, 20/20. But I can remember standing on the mezzanine balcony of the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC while attending lectures at NBI in 1962, watching NB climb the stairs in the foyer, feeling an emotion that I have always identified as "there goes the father/older brother I wish I had." I meant that in the fullest sense of the words 'father' and 'older brother' -- as model, as mentor, as guide, as companion, as benevolent confessor. That the confident smile on NBs face was that of a man satisfied after a hearty meal of "soul food" never occured to me. Many very bright people were taken in, far from the least of which was AR.

  5. I've been reading some of PARC on my holiday - not that Valliant had to convince me - I always thought they sucked. But his portrayal of Frank O'Connor as a 'remarkbale man' is wrong - this is the only area I agree with the Brandens.

    "I had rather be a toad,
    And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,Than keep a corner in the thing I love for others' uses."
    William Shakespeare Othello, A3 sc3

    He was not a remarkable man - he was a weak loser.

  6. Hi there
    I was blogging around and came across this one. You have a fine and dandy page here

    Thanks for the great reading
    washington quarters

  7. Reminds me of a lovely song by Monty Python...


    Lovely spam, wonderful spa-a-m,
    Lovely spam, wonderful S Spam,


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.