As I was reading the interviews in 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, lyrics from the Comden and Green song, “Just in time. I found you just in time” kept running through my head.
Oral historian Scott McConnell contacted movie stars, producers, writers, philosophers, brigadier generals, artists, photographers, and others whose lives touched that of author Ayn Rand. Knowing that some of these best and brightest are no longer with us (Mickey Spillane, Robert Stack, Patricia Neal, Julius Shulman, and Louis Rukeyser, to name a few) it becomes woefully evident that McConnell did, indeed, speak to many of them … just in time.
Fortunately, both for our sense of continuity and my own pleasure in seeing the sun come up every morning, some of the people you will meet in 100 Voices (myself included) are still above ground. And so, you will learn fascinating things about Ayn Rand from such vibrant souls as Raquel Welch, movie star; Albert S. Ruddy, Academy Award winning producer; Mike Wallace, TV journalist; Alvin Toffler, author; and Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister of Australia.
As the subject of this book, Ayn Rand is no less provocative than a drill sergeant at a peace rally. She has been vilified as a monster, and called everything from a fascist to a Nazi – usually by people who have not read her books. Equally, she has been celebrated and adored: She was invited to the White House to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who called her “one of the most important writers of the last hundred years.” She was invited by NASA to attend the launch of Apollo 11. She was invited to the US Military Academy at West Point to speak on philosophy to cadets. And in 1999, she was honored by the U.S. Postal Services in their Literary Arts stamp series with a first class stamp.