Charles Murray reviews the two recent biographies of Ayn Rand. I haven't gotten around to reading them yet, but I really should. I'm particularly interested and surprised by the kinder, gentler Rand of the early 1950s.
Both biographers also describe a kinder, gentler Rand who was just as real as the fierce intellectual combatant. To Martin Anderson, Ronald Reagan's long-time advisor, she was a "pussycat," who alone among a crowd at a café noticed that Anderson couldn't get his package of cream open (he had a broken arm) and helped him prepare his coffee. Joan Kennedy Taylor, for whose wedding Rand was matron of honor, once told me about Rand shushing Joan's objections when a recently widowed friend talked about rejoining her husband in heaven. If it gave her comfort, Rand said, Joan had no business trying to convince her she was wrong. There are repeated examples in both biographies of the ways in which Rand could be a sensitive, loyal, and affectionate friend.