Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso

Introduced by Michael Dirda

Both hugely influential and deeply controversial, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged remains a vital read for anyone seeking to understand the current state of global politics. With stunning illustrations by Anna and Elena Balbusso.


Atlas Shrugged

‘There are two sides to every issue: One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.’ So states Rand’s hero, John Galt, and it’s a pronouncement that could be seen to sum up a great deal about Atlas Shrugged, both in terms of the book’s unapologetic pursuit of a singular philosophy, and how it has polarised readers since its publication. 

Production Details

Three volumes

Bound and blocked in metallic textured paper

Set in Warnock with Birch display

1,576 pages in total

Frontispiece and 4 colour illustrations per volume

Blocked slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝


Rand was born in Russia in 1905, and saw her family driven to the brink of starvation by the Soviet revolution. The experience left her with a deeply felt scepticism for socialism and the notion of altruism. With her arrival in America, a land famous for its pioneering spirit and celebration of the single-minded genius, she was inspired to formulate a new way of thinking about work and achievement. Filled with admiration for entrepreneurs such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, Rand began work on her magnum opus, through which she would champion competition, creativity and ‘the role of the mind in man’s existence’.

The heroic characters who rise to the top in Atlas Shrugged espouse Rand’s philosophy of ‘objectivism’: the determined pursuit of personal happiness and the development of unfettered capitalism. Her philosophy would, she was certain, make America – and therefore the world – great again. Atlas Shrugged remains a controversial text, both for its ideas about economics and industry, and for its popularity among libertarian movements around the world. Whichever side of the fence one is on – and no one remains sitting on it for long after reading this novel – one cannot deny the sheer scale of Rand’s ambition: she pulls at the roots of man’s existence and derives radical, original solutions.

The book saw a huge surge of popularity during the recent financial crisis, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in the first few months of 2009 alone. Never far from discussions of economics and industry, the events of Atlas Shrugged seemed strangely prescient, and it has again become a vital text as people seek to question the role of government, and how a new financial future can be built outside of subsidies and handouts. Often called the most influential book in America after the Bible, Rand’s epic still regularly tops the polls when readers are asked to vote for the best novel of the 20th century.

The rise of the individual

Titans of industry are walking away from their life’s work and vanishing just when the world is teetering on the edge of economic collapse. Dagny Taggart, vice president of her family’s railroad company, is determined to find the mastermind behind these disappearances before her world falls apart...

For all its philosophy and economic theory, Atlas Shrugged is at its heart an addictive, utterly compelling thriller, fraught with explosive action, suspense and romance. In his introduction for this edition, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and writer Michael Dirda examines Rand’s obsession with uncompromising individualism, and the enduring legacy of the most divisive candidate for the Great American Novel.

Rand’s vision brought to life

The award-winning Balbusso twins were commissioned to provide the artwork for this collector’s edition. Their first multi-volume set for The Folio Society is truly something special; the binding design flows across the spines, creating a dynamic interconnected image, while each volume boasts a series of gorgeous art deco-inspired images that combine cityscapes, industry and 1930s glamour. This landmark edition delivers an eerie vision of Rand’s world of steel, sparks and steely ambition.

About Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was a philosopher, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Born in 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, she was educated at the University of Petrograd, graduating in 1924 and then moving to the United States in 1926. She completed several screenplays before her first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938, but it was the publication of her subsequent novels, The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), in which she developed and expressed her philosophy of Objectivism, that earned her popular success and enduring recognition. Rand died in 1982.

About Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary journalist, a weekly books columnist for the Washington Post, and the author of five collections of essays: Readings (2000), Bound to Please (2005), Book by Book (2006), Classics for Pleasure (2007) and Browsings (2015). He has also written the memoir An Open Book (2003) and On Conan Doyle (2012), which received an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. His current project is a reconsideration of popular fiction during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has written introductions to The Great Gatsby (2013), Dune (2016), East of Eden (2017) and Atlas Shrugged (2018) for The Folio Society.

About Anna and Elena Balbusso

Anna and Elena Balbusso are an internationally recognised team of Italian artists. Together they have received more than 70 international awards, including the New York Society of Illustrators’ Steven Dohanos Award and the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators’ Joseph Morgan Henninger Award. For three consecutive years (2011–13) they were awarded the Gold Medal in the book category of the Society of Illustrators Awards: in 2012 for their work on the Folio Society edition of The Handmaid’s Tale. In 2013 they won the Book Illustration category at the V&A Illustration Awards for their work on the Folio edition of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (2012). They have also illustrated The Song of Roland (2010), First Love (2010), Pride and Prejudice (2013), The Queen of Spades and Other Stories (2014), Twelfth Night (2016) and Atlas Shrugged (2018) for The Folio Society. 


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