I read most of Ayn Rand's books in high school, around 1970; but deluged with homework during college, I did not bother with them again, and do not know if I even have copies of them, still. During my working years, I had less time to read and became more selective about what I did read, and that included less fiction and more things like history and biography. Rand died in 1982, pretty much in obscurity.

I have had a Facebook account since 2020 and discovered that Facebook bloggers like to keep Ayn Rand in the public-eye, whether they like her or not. Left-wing bloggers have little good to say about her. Rand's own fan-base maintains several blogs of its own, quoting her writings and promoting her books. The release of a two-part feature film of her most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, certainly hasn't hurt her appeal.

Rand grew up in pre-Soviet Russia as Alissa Rosenbaum, with Jewish parents who owned a pharmacy. The Bolshevik Revolutionaries confiscated their pharmacy and left them with less than nothing. The Bolsheviks actually discriminated against the Rosenbaums, defining them as "Bourgeoisie", and treating them as enemies of the state, so that they had a hard time making ends meet.
Rand emigrated to America, and although she knew she wanted to write, she had to accept a job as a cloak-room attendant in New York City, while furthering her writing on the side. Her first book, We the Living appeared in 1936 and later as an Italian movie during World War II. Despite the film's obvious hostility to the Soviet Union, the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini censored the movie. Think of that! Only recently have film-archivists located the film-canisters and re-released it.

I looked through my collection of newspaper articles and realized that I had an old article about Rand from 2001. The article appeared in the German newspaper Die Welt on 23rd July of that year, with the title "Was wäre, wenn die Reichsten streikten?". In English, "What would happen if the richest people went on strike?" by staff-writer Hannes Stein. The article offers a brief biography of Rand and also synopsizes Atlas Shrugged. Stein begins his article (my translation):

As Atlas Shrugged begins, America has reached its twilight years, a nation living on borrowed time. Its mighty skyscrapers show cracks. Slums cover great stretches of the urban landscape. Few trust the many bridges to remain stable. . . . Europe likewise is a lost cause, a union of predatory socialist republics. . . . Gradually Americans become aware that something unusual is taking place. Secretaries at important corporations walk into their bosses' offices and find them gone.

No one knows where. Only the smoldering butts of cigarettes remain in ash-trays--a brand no one has seen before, with a dollar-sign printed in gold on them. No one sees the bosses again. They just walk off the job and disappear.

The investigations that follow each disappearance reveal that each missing person received a visitor beforehand--the man smoking cigarettes with the dollar-sign logo, identified as John Galt, a gaunt figure of a man. . . . The book describes essentially a strike by capitalists--the very people, protesters declare, who have trodden down and exploited the poor of the World. With them gone, organized society starts to collapse. The capitalists and their allies wait in hiding for the bitter end, when they will create a capitalist utopia. . . .

No question that Rand is insane. . . . After the Bolshevik Revolution, she came to America, the only nation in the World with no preconceptions about national origin, only the Rights of Man. . . . She made some enemies, and in accordance with the laws of human nature, she began to smell like her enemies. Although she loathed despots, she became the unquestioned leader of a cadre of fanatics. .

Eventually, she excommunicated her followers. She rationalized this by saying that she only gave them back their intellectual independence. It seemed to many that she had lost her edge. . . .

Rand came along in America when it was très chic to be a "Salon Bolshevik", or "Caviar Gauche" in French, to claim sympathy for the Soviet Revolution in Russia and

spout Marxist slogans to all one's friends. Rand railed against them like an angry prophetess. She railed against any effort to sacrifice individual initiative for the sake of the common good. A Liberal Democracy meant the defense of the most basic minority in society, the indivisible individual. . . .

The second premise of the Liberal Democracy is to define the nature of the human animal as a trader. He should have freedom, first of all, to trade. For that reason, Money is not something evil. It expresses the highest achievement of man's nature.