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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Stoking the Halo of Hatred
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...
Published on June 20 2003 by Arthem

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book, lousy edition
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.
Published on Jan. 27 2012 by Carleton


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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 "arthem" (Knoxville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
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. Without a key from contemporary society, there is no way for us to "get" Gulliver's Travels. And I fear that this is true of "The Everlasting Man" as well. Which only goes to prove some of the points of the book itself.
I wonder if Chesterton planned it that way?
Finally, I cannot help but cite the end of Part I as an example of the brilliance of the writing and the theme. Referring to the first Christians in Rome, and the Roman persecution, Chesterton writes: "And there shone on them in that dark hour a light that has never been darkened,; a white fire clinging to that group like an unearthly phosporescence, blazing its track through the twilights of history and confounding every effort to confound it with the mists of mythology and theory; that shaft of light or lightning by which the world itself has struck and isolated and crowned it; by which its own enemies have made it more illustrious and its own critics have made it more inexplicable: the halo of hatred around the Church of God."
Grand!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Look Out Darwin,Watch Out Modernists...Here's the Truth", Nov. 13 2001
By 
Johannes Platonicus (South Bend, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
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
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
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
By 
Adam Marischuk "amarischuk" (Summerland, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
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.
Adam
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Edition, Jan. 28 2012
By 
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, but not for beginners, Dec 25 2009
This review is from: Everlasting Man, The (Paperback)
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.

Unfortunately, many readers today will have a distinct disadvantage that will render them illiterate to some of the major points that Chesterton hammers home: the modern reader generally lacks a classical background. If I had read this book mere months before when I actually did, I would have either been lost in parts, or I would have simply ignored those parts and moved on to the next paragraph. Chesterton assumes that you have are familiar with much of Greek and Roman history, as well as many of the major classical myths. Do not read this book unless you have these. It is well worth the preparation, because this book deserves to be understood.

Now that that's said, I'll start praising the book. It's about a myth -- the only myth that uses human history as its setting. And as all good myths do, it strives to entertain, humanize, and instruct. Chesterton makes the reader well aware that his book will attempt to embellish and make us realise that our world truly is magical. His writing is long and musing, but never boring and always relevant to his points. The style of writing is symbolic of his purpose: to show that we do not live in a world of immediate facts, but in a beautiful portrait that deserves to be appreciated by humans, not robots.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Apologetic, Oct. 22 2001
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
There seems to be many mistakes about chronology of Chesterton and Lewis. Chesterton died before C.S. Lewis's books really hit the scene. Chesterton 's writings were profoundly influential on Lewis as well- and The Everlasting Man is no exception. This is the definitive work of what might be called "The Old Apologetics" and as such it demands our attention. Chesterton's apologetic runs mostly not in an exegetical trail but in historical and literary ones and forces thinkers outside the field of theology and religion to pay heed to the exacting (and immensely consoling claims) of both Christ and his Church. It is through literary technigue that Chesterton is able to engage us in the topsy-turyvydom of Christ as a Child in the Cave and engages us in history to really confront our unspoken prejudice that the Roman Catholic Church did whatever was in its interest for power and greed. Chesterton asks us- If the Church was so interested in power why did it cast aside the Empire during the reign of Julain the Apostate and other Arians-the very political entity that had thrust the Church into the mainstream was refused a voice in determining its doctrines. So much for the theory that the bishops were just power hungry mongrels.
The later chapters dealing with Christian history are especially adept at understanding the intellectual pendulum swings that accompany heresy. One quote should suffice in bringing to our attention teh gifted prose and insight which we all attribute to this great bombast of faith:Here he is speakign of the apparent historical "deaths of the faith"
"There are people who say they wish Christianity to remain as a spirit. They mean, very literally, that they wish it to remain a ghost. But it is not going to remain a ghost. What follows this process of an apparent death is not the lingering of the shade; it is the ressurection of the body. These people are quite prepared to shed pious tears and reverential tears over the Sepulchre of the Son of Man; what they are not prepared for is the Son of God walking once more upon this hills of morning. These people, and indeed most people, were indeed by this time quite accostumed to the idea that the old Christian candle-light would fade into the the light of common day. To many of them it did quite honestly appear like that pale yellow flame of when it is left burning in daylight. It was all the more unexpected, and therefore all the more unmistakable, that the seven-branched candle-stick suddently towered to heaven like a miraculous tree and flamed until the sun turned pale. But other ages have seen teh day conquer the candle-light and then the candle-light conquer the day."
Surely this is the prose of one of the most gifted and unfortunately ignored writers of the past century. Chesterton has been called by some "A Master without a Materpiece" but after reading this book one wonders whether some Masterpieces could equal this Master's "Significant Work"
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5.0 out of 5 stars wait a minute....so you're saying it all MAKES SENSE?, May 19 2002
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
Chesterton sits down, props you on his lap, and spins a strange yarn here in The Everlasting Man, his Christian apologetic masterwork. This story that he tells sounds familiar, because we've heard of all the characters before, and we know in advance what actions they are responsible for. But for some reason, the history of the world according to Chesterton's pen sounds new and fresh all over again. His goal is to present the Incarnation of Christ as the centerpiece of all human history, and does so by painting that same history with colors to which we are not accustomed in our rationalist world. His greatest achievement here is to convincingly show that human history is a great adventure with a PURPOSE, and without Christianity this purpose can never be identified or even be real. If the world is a creation of an omnipotent God, as Chesterton thinks we all either explicitly or implicitly believe, then why is it so insane for us to think that this God may have some interest in the progress of His creation? Why must humanity necessarily function entirely outside the influence of its loving Creator? Chesterton shows that not only would the other possibility exist, but that it is actually the only possibility. We see the grand strokes of this God's paintbrush throughout the adventure of humanity, from the "caveman" to pagan society to Christ to Christianity to the so-called deaths of the Faith to the present day. The key of the Faith fits the lock of life. Of course it does, because the key and the lock have the same Author.
This is not a work only of philosophy and theology, but also of humor and creative ingenuity (and Chesterton would hesitate to give any credit to the former two if they lacked the latter two). It does contain expressions regarding ethnic groups for which we must substitute the modern polite equivalent in order to understand Chesterton; his language was different from ours is today and he should not be misconstrued. His scientific knowledge is limited even for his own time, and it shows when he treats scientific topics; however, his aims are not to prove or disprove scientific truths. So I think that if you sit down to read this book for the reasons that Chesterton would have you read it, you will find plenty of reasons to appreciate it. Christians should read this book for the faith-affirming truths it contains, and non-Christians should read it if for nothing else, for its humor. Staunch atheists and Church-haters should be very afraid of this book, and I encourage them to read it. They will not find many "arguments" to refute, only a beautiful affirmation of what Christians have known all along: that our world is not a random belch of nature, that human beings are religious beings not because of some grand joke but because they were made that way, and that God dares to disregard our own scattered and contrary wills and take a hand in our own salvation. When Chesterton gets done with this crazy world, it somehow all seems to make sense. Why is it so hard for people to allow themselves to see the beauty and hear the music that Chesterton sees and hears?
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of the 20th Century., June 26 2000
This review is from: The Everlasting Man (Paperback)
This is a book that everyone ought to read two or three times at least. It is a crime that such nonsense as Conversations With God, or better but still relatively shallow introductions to comparative religion like Religions of Man, seem to be better known. Here you will find a description of Christianity and its relation to other faiths strong and fine as aged wine. I don't know of anyone who writes with this much class in the modern world. Having ordered the book for our college library, I tried not to mark it too much, but found myself putting ink dots on paragraph after paragraph of material I wanted to quote. He rambles a bit, but I think there is more wisdom, humor, and insight in a single page of this book than in whole volumes that are better known in our days. Imagine if, after reading David Barry and laughing your head off, you wanted to go out and kiss a blade of grass or be amazed by the water running in the river instead of (say) looking up at the sky to make sure there aren't any mackerel about to fall on you. G.K.Chesterton makes his readers laugh themselves sane. And sanity is a rare and wonderful thing in the modern world.
Chesterton's archeology and contemporary references are a bit dated, of course. But even there, what goes around often comes around. Chesterton leads off with a story about Grant Allen, author of a piece of heresy of that time called "Evolution of the Idea of God." More recently Karen Armstrong wrote a book with an almost identical title and thesis, "History of God," and was greeted in the press as a bold thinker. Chesterton kindly and elegantly refuted her error, and those of many other modern skeptics, decades before they were born. Admirers of Bishop Spong in particular should read this book. Chesterton was not a scholar of comparative religions, of course, and he may have oversimplified a few things, but I think got the big things in true proportion better than anyone.
The plan of the book is simple. In the first half, Chesterton describes man, particularly in his religious aspect. In particular, he explains four universal elements of human religion: mythology, philosophy, demonism, and an awareness of God that one finds in almost every culture around the world. The tendency in the modern world is to ignore the last two elements when they occur outside of Western culture. But I have found in my own studies of Asian cultures and religions that Chesterton's description of human religion fit the facts extremely well.
The second half of the book is about Jesus and the movement he founded. I like what he says about Jesus best, and wish he had spent more time on that and proportionally less on European culture. A few of his racial or cultural assumptions do not come across well in our age. It is worth remembering how the face of Christianity has changed over the hundred years since this book was published. Then Christianity was almost exclusively a Western religion, while now two thirds of the believers in the world live in Africa, Latin American and Asia.
If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of some of the points Chesterton brings up, I suggest Don Richardson's Eternity in Their Hearts, another of the most overlooked works of the 20th Century. I have also just written a book called Jesus and the Religions of Man, that covers in more detail (but undoubtedly with less style) much of the same territory.
d.marshall@sun.ac.jp
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The Everlasting Man
The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton (Paperback - Feb. 8 2008)
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