Timothy SandefurMay 11, 2023
How Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand Found Freedom in an Age of Darkness
Cato Institute 2022
In 1943, three books appeared that changed American politics forever: Isabel Paterson's The God of the Machine, Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom, and Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Together, they laid the groundwork for what became the modern libertarian movement. Even more striking were the women behind these books: Paterson, a brilliant but misanthropic journalist whose weekly column made her one of the nation's most important literary critics; Lane, a restless writer who secretly coauthored the Little House on the Prairie novels with her mother; and Rand, a philosophically inclined Russian immigrant ferociously devoted to heroic individualism. Working against the backdrop of changes in literature and politics, they joined forces to rally the nation to the principles of freedom that had come under attack at home and abroad. Sometimes friends, at other times bitterly estranged, they became known as "the three furies of libertarianism."
In Freedom's Furies: How Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand Found Freedom in an Age of Darkness (Cato Institute, 2022), author Timothy Sandefur examines their lives, ideas, and influences in the context of their times. Not a biography, but a story about personalities and ideas--about the literary, political, and cultural influences that shaped the destiny of freedom in America--Freedom's Furies tells the dramatic story of three writers who strove to keep liberty alive in an age of darkness.