Atlas Shrugged is set in an unspecified era in a dystopian United States.The book is divided into three parts, each one containing ten chapters. The names of the three parts refer to Aristotle’s laws of logic. The parts are titled Non-contradiction, Either-Or, and A Is A.
The novel begins with Dagny Taggart, the Operating Vice President of a giant railroad company, struggling to keep the company afloat in tough economic conditions. As the economy worsens, Taggart begins to notice that the best and brightest people of the society keep disappearing mysteriously. As it eventually turns out, they are being led on a organized strike by John Galt, who aims to bring the motorworld to a halt.
Under the leadership of Galt, the minds responsible for society’s productivity and growth refuse to be exploited any further by rising taxes and government rules. They seek to prove that the world is headed straight for disaster if every individual is enslaved by the government and society. They fight to demonstrate that robbing an individual off of the freedom to create spells doom for civilization.
As the government strengthens its dictatorial stance, Taggart begins to see the collapse of society around her. The love story of Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden, a steel magnate, forms a subplot in the book.
The book is considered to be Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. It was first published in 1957 and highlights her philosophy of Objectivism. The ‘Atlas’ in the title of the book refers to Atlas, a Titan in Greek mythology. The silver screen adaption of the book got continuously stalled for almost 40 years, and was mired in several controversies. It was finally released on April 15, 2011, but met with mainly negative reviews. This particular edition of the book has an introduction by Rand’s student, Leonard Peikoff.