|Speaking as a "not yet but plan to (soon)", I'm not sure I make sense of Hong's stand on this. If you're interested in Rand's life, this is the kind of book that strikes me as must-read. Even from its detractors, I hear at least about the value it provides in terms of insight into Rand the person from her journal entries.|
In both PAR and JD/MYWAR (which I haven't read in some time and my copies drowned in a flood, though I remember fairly well), there are recountings of the incident when Rand thrice slapped Branden, and she shouted something about how he ought to be impotent for the next twenty years. It seems crazy, cruel, irrational and inexplicable for her to say that. Yet, there is a context behind this that Branden didn't provide in his memoirs, that apparently shows up in Rand's journals. Some line he was feeding her about a "sexual freeze," a ridiculous line of crap ("outrageous bullshit" to use Robert Campbell's phrasing) given what we all know in retrospect. All of a sudden it makes more sense that she'd say this in her anger -- you know, throwing back at him the line he was giving her. This incident alone, coupled with my own interest in reading about Rand's life, prompts me to expect there to be plenty of value in the book, even if I don't anticipate that I'll like or agree with everything about it.
So yeah, it looks like it would provide more insight into the story that is Ayn Rand's life, helping to better set the full context that you wouldn't get from the Branden books.