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The Everlasting Man Paperback – Feb 8 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Wilder Publications (Feb. 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160459246X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604592467
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England, in 1874. He went on to study art at the Slade School, and literature at University College in London. Chesterton wrote a great deal of poetry, as well as works of social and literary criticism. Among his most notable books are "The Man Who Was Thursday", a metaphysical thriller, and "The Everlasting Man", a history of humankind's spiritual progress. After Chesterton converted to Catholicism in 1922, he wrote mainly on religious topics such as "Orthodoxy" and "Heretics". Chesterton is most known for creating the famous priest-detective character Father Brown, who first appeared in "The Innocence of Father Brown". Chesterton died in 1936 at the age of 62.


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Format: 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.
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Again this is not easy reading. You have to learn the meanings of his writing. It is sometimes satirical in nature and sometimes forthright. The reader has to learn to distinguish between the two. Needs study.
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Format: 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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By A Customer on June 17 2003
Format: 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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As a fan of C.S. Lewis, I had big expectations for this book. I wasn't disappointed. The author takes us on a journey throughout history with a lot of refreshing insights. He makes a good case for Christianity with a hint of humour along the way. There is a frankness is his way of getting his points across that resonates more with intellectual rigour than arrogance (as some critics might point out) as he shows boldness and humility in the right places. Overall, it felt more like an open discussion with a friend, smoking cigars and occasionally breaking into laughter!

The book was written in 1925, so even though some of his arguments would require a bit of a fix to fit current scientific theory (like his defence against Darwinism), there is so much of the book that feels surprisingly current.

I do wish I had bought some kind of annotated edition since there are a lot (A LOT) of references to different cultures, religion, historical events, etc.
This is most likely the cheapest edition one could buy. I recommend buying another one since it's a book that you may want to go back to.
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