Anthem is one of Ayn Rand's earlier works - a small booklet of hardly 100 pages that pictures a scary, scary future... think "Brave new world", "1984" just much worse.

The future Rand depicts is a parody on a collective society. People have no "I", only "We", trivial numbered names, no possessions, no thoughts about themselves, no personal desires, nothing - only the good of the group. They must be equal to all the others, never do anything unexpected, they lead a life of a herd - even the thought of wanting something makes them convulse in self-disgust. It's kinda like that worse end to which excessive commumism may come.

To one who's read Rand's more complete novels, the message of "Anthem" won't be new. It's basically about ego and the uniqueness of a human being. By displaying the complete anti of her view in the first 3/4ths of the book, and giving the reader an opportunity to be disgusted with the society that is presented, Rand leaves the stage to the protagonist who discovers his "self" towards the end and engages in a monologue that introduces Rand's views on "egoism".

It's important to take this book with a grain of salt - it's a parody, a caricature, not a speck more. Regarding Rand's philosophy, it's very incomplete, though it covers the probably most important aspect of it.

It's an interesting read, in any case. A very unusual little book.