Anthem
Author: Ayn Rand
Original title: Anthem
Characters: Equality 7-2521, The Golden One, The Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word, International 4-8818, Collective 0-0009
Published December 1st 1999 by NAL (first published May 1938)
ISBN 0452281253 (ISBN13: 9780452281257)

Ayn Rand has been a witness to the most tumultuous times of the Russian history at the dawn of the civil war and social revolution. Having watched her family business perish and their wellbeing reduced to misery, she saw right through the corrupt system being built in the Soviet Union.

Ever since the times she escaped Russia, she has been set on breaking the Soviet regime by exposing its damage and harm to the society. But compared to many other dystopia writers, Rand’s works actually have a happy ending and aren’t as dreary.

“Anthem” has been revised and published twice, once in the UK and once in the USA, but it didn’t change the depth of its persuasion on egoism. Its focus on a power of an individual is a political challenge to the economically damaging and socially diminishing collectivism.

The hero of the book is a general young boy, nothing special or particular about it. Its name is Equality 7-2521. Living in the society where nothing belongs to anybody, Equality is breaking the law by getting some time on his own. In his world one can own nothing according to the rules of the party. In his early years Equality also suffered from being too smart, too handsome and too curious.

Despite the enjoyment Equlity 7-2521 gets from being free and alone, he is still a child of the system that produced him. So he reports himself to the Council. Despite having brought with him the biggest breakthrough of those times, electric light bulb, poor fellow is condemned by the World Council of Scholars and has to flee. The book ends with its protagonist finding the word “I”.

Those of you, who are wondering what would have happened if the Cold War resolved differently and the Soviet Union survived, start reading the “Anthem” immediately.