Explanatory Note: Scholars, students, and fans of Ayn Rand ’s masterwork, Atlas Shrugged , often find it difficult to grasp the complex details of its plot, and to find temporal reference points for key events and relationships among its many characters. For their benefit, then, I have prepared this timeline of the key events that are depicted, or alluded to, in the novel.
This selective listing includes the novel's more noteworthy characters.   Akston, Dr. Hugh
December 2004 -- Dagny Taggart shoots guns and flies airplanes. These rational survival skills exhilarate all the heroes in  Ayn Rand 's Atlas Shrugged . Because I learned to shoot and to fly as a Jewish child during World War II, I confirm that flying and shooting teach the power of the mind to surpass the body's limitations as earth-bound and as vulnerable to vicious thugs. Both flying and shooting require mental and physical discipline, preparation, practice, and bravura technique.
When Atlas Shrugged was published in October of 1957, it spoke to a world that was very different from ours, on the surface at least.
A few years ago, I was sitting at a sushi bar in downtown Washington, D.C., reading a battered paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged while I munched on a California roll. The man next to me saw the cover and said, "Ah yes, Ayn Rand . Something everyone reads when they're young." He was infinitely condescending. "And sometimes even when they're older," I replied, but left it there. 

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