We the Living Background

We the Living Background

We The Living is the first novel by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand. It is the story of life in post-revolutionary Russia and was her first public statement against communism. In the foreword of the book Rand observes that We The Living is the closest she would ever come to penning and autobiography. Rand finished writing the novel in 1934, but it would be two years before it was accepted by a publisher, George Platt Brett of Macmillan Publishing. His decision proved controversial within the publishing house, as Associate Editor Granville Hicks was a member of the American Communist Party and therefore fundamentally opposed to publishing the book. The initial publication was not commercially successful and eighteen months after it was released, the novel was out of print.

In 1957, Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged became a best seller for Random House, prompting them to republish her first novel in 1959. Rand made some small changes but claimed they were minimal; others have challenged this staying that these changes shifted the ideology of the book significantly away from the original. Nonetheless, almost everyone who has read We The Living has read the second version, which sold over three million copies. The first version sold in drastically smaller numbers and is now considered a rare book.

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