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The Everlasting Man [Paperback]

G. K. Chesterton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 8.45 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 8 2008
Here is the book that converted C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity. This history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity is to some extent a conscious rebuttal of H. G. Wells' Outline of History, which embraced both the evolutionary origins of humanity and the mortal humanity of Jesus. Whereas Orthodoxy detailed Chesterton's own spiritual journey, this book illustrates the spiritual journey of humanity, or at least of Western civilization. A book for both mind and spirit.

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What--if anything--is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards "civilization" is simply and flatly inaccurate. "Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world", he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.

As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) "very plain and emphatic". He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, "in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life". Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he himself writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart's own knowledge. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

G K Chesterton (1874-1936) was perhaps best known for his Father Brown detective stories. He produced more than 100 volumes in his lifetime, including Orthodoxy and biographies of St Francis of Assisi and St Thomas Aquinas. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Stoking the Halo of Hatred June 20 2003
By Arthem
Very few books are worth reading with a pencil in hand. Most fit Stephen Donaldson's description of a novel as "throwing words at a short story."
The Everlasting Man demands to be annotated. Chesterton's prose is masterful, his wit and sarcasm are triumphant, but most fundamentally, his arguments are pointed and illuminating.
Chesterton provides a method and a practical goal. His method is to examine preconceptions by going out of context; to picture our reality as if we were strangers. The goal is to compare the secularist, religious, and dogmatic views of man with this external picture.
His conclusion is in the recognition of Christ as The Distinguishing Event which bears no contrast or comparison with history before or since. Along the way, he dices up comparitive religion, takes a poke or two at Spencer & Darwin, relegates Islam to a heresy (albeit a "respectable heresy") and thoroughly demolishes the concept of secularist rationality.
Among the more profound of Chesterton's recognitions is in the strange continuity of the Church. A little apologetics is involved, but I get the impression that his discussions are intended more for comfort to the faithful than butressing his already-established arguments.
Overall, a thoroughly engaging read. My only negative criticism of the book is the dexterity of Chesterton's references and citations. I probably missed more of his allusions than I caught. In some ways, it reminds me of Swift's Gulliver's Travels - we all get the "Big end/Little end" allusion to Protestant/Catholicism conflict, and the ancillary references to France/England, etc. But only by reading thorough criticism do we find that Swift was referring not only to massive social events, but also to specific individuals and practices.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gilbert K. Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man," is more than just a philosophy of history, in fact, it is more than the average run-of-the-mill Christian apologetic as well. It is a work vast in erudition and loaded with sharp witticism. It is a work brimming with insightful logic and religious lore; and it by far surpasses many works of its kind in the twentieth century...possibly since Augustine's "City of God." The book begins upon a paradox: a history of the prehistory of man. Chesterton explains the very genesis of humankind as being strictly human. He expounds upon man's earliest religions from the cave all the way to the Incarnation, which is the central theme to this work. Chesterton also elaborates upon some of the prevalent heresies of the Early Church, shows how the Catholic Church was the church that Christ founded, and ends the book with captavating irony - the five deaths of the Faith...just look for yourself. This book is a timeless classic and a must have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Everlasting Chesterton! June 17 2003
By A Customer
G. K. Chesterton was certainly one of the greatest apologists of the 20th century. I can't hope to surpass the excellent reviews already documented here, so I'll simply praise Chesterton and his work. His ability to document the truth of Christianity with his typical wit makes him a must-study for all aspiring apologists. The Everlasting Man should be required reading for all seminary students. Chesterton is proof that one doesn't need to abandon reason to be a Christian. "The Man at war with his time" had more sense than all the atheists of his time combined. All skeptical atheists should stay away from Chesterton, unless they wish to lose their beliefs. Chesterton's orthodoxy, elucidated with Heretics and the aptly- named Orthodoxy, will inspire many for centuries to come. As Gilbert himself said, "People always talk about orthodoxy as if it were something heavy, humdrum, and safe. In fact, there was never anything so perilous or exciting as orthodoxy." If you read Chesterton, don't come as a critic. The critics have already failed. Come as a seeker, and drink of his oasis of common sense in a desert of professional jargon and sheer craziness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great book in the Chesterton Tradition Dec 20 2001
Chesterton is one of the great authors of our time and this book is no exception to the rule. Though I prefered the book St. Thomas Aquinas: the Dumb Ox, by him, The Everlasting Man is none-the-less a fantastic book.
As an answer to G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells, Chesterton skillfully defends the Catholic and Christian against the modernist attacks which claim that Science and Religion are in conflict. Aquinas would be proud himself of Chersterton's use of Aristotle, who even Darwin claimed to be "the greatest biologist in history".
I highly recommend any Chesterton book to any reader interested in the history of philosophy, theology and man's origens. Also, you don't need a doctorate or a thesaurus to read Chesterton's witty writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Edition Jan. 28 2012
I loved the book and in fact bought this hard copy for that reason.

But this edition is horrible, the introduction stops abruptly after a few paragraphs. You will also find the 'o' in "do" replaced with a zero and the 'h' in "had" replaced with a 'b'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book, lousy edition Jan. 27 2012
I loved this when I read it years ago in another edition. This version, unfortunately, is marred by tiny print and typos. I counted four errors on one paragraph, and finally put the book aside.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Everlasting man
Again this is not easy reading. You have to learn the meanings of his writing. It is sometimes satirical in nature and sometimes forthright. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MCH
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great history and perspective of Christianity in history.
Christians and non-Christians alike will enjoy this history of man, I certainly did.
Published 2 months ago by Andrew McIntyre
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still a very relevant classic
Published 3 months ago by Gary & Dawn
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, avoid the Wilder edition
Really great book, but don't buy the paperback edition published by Wilder. It appears to have been produced using character recognition with zero editing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S SMITH
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart men are not God.
I like much of his stuff but having Mary instead of Jesus as your daily person of contemplation is Idolatry as described in scripture.
Published 6 months ago by Ronald Joseph Lorette
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing mind
Great detail by Chesterton, but in spite of that, consoling that so great a mind comes to the conclusions he does. We Catholics have a story to tell and it is tested and true. .
Published 12 months ago by R. Leitch
5.0 out of 5 stars A True History of Humanity
Chesterton has a masterpiece here, a rare examination of the humanity of history. Filled with Chesterton's token wit, sarcasm, and expertise. Read more
Published on March 19 2011 by Sam Farthing
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, but not for beginners
This book is among the best of the 20th century. As many other reviewers agree, it's just as relevent today as it was in 1925. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2009 by Jimbo Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars wait a you're saying it all MAKES SENSE?
Chesterton sits down, props you on his lap, and spins a strange yarn here in The Everlasting Man, his Christian apologetic masterwork. Read more
Published on May 19 2002 by Gabriel Rossettie
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