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In recent press articles and among the general public, there is a sense that Ayn Rand's monumental Atlas Shrugged is a prophetic work, accurately predicting the Great Recession and the path on which America's economy and society are set. But Atlas Shrugged is a difficult book to read. Many are daunted by its extreme length, Rand's prose style, interminable speeches where the action stops cold, the author's atheism, and the sexuality of its characters. Rand references economists and philosophers such as Smith, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche and Aristotle without attribution. As a result, much of Rand's message goes over the head of the average reader. This makes it difficult for the reader to understand the main point of Rand's book - precisely what is it that happens when Atlas shrugs, and how does a society change over the course of that event? Is it merely fiction, or is Atlas shrugging now? The purpose of this book is to simplify the reader's task in understanding what Rand is saying and the philosophical and economic sources she mined. With increased interest in Rand's book on the part of book clubs, reading circles, and now a three-part movie, this book will aid casual and serious readers, book clubs, high school and college classes, moviegoers, and home-schoolers to master Rand's work. There are 30 chapters, each one matched to the 30 chapters Rand utilized for Atlas Shrugged. Each chapter starts with a synopsis and detailed discussion of Rand's source material and the points she wishes to make. There may be one or more essays explaining arcane points of railroading, American society of the Fifties, or historical characters thinly disguised by Rand for the book. Rather than didactically draw open parallels to current events, each chapter closes with discussion topics posed to the reader, class or book club to encourage independent thought. This book will be an outstanding aid to comprehending one of the most discussed books of this era.