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The Everlasting Man

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  3,038 ratings  ·  241 reviews
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 ti...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Regent College Publishing (first published 1925)
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Fr.Bill M
Men and women have become Christians solely from reading this one book. If you are not a Christian, beware this book. It will possibly convert you. If it does not, then it will probably irreparably harden your heart. A book to save you eternally or to damn you to hell forever. Amazing.
Edward Waverley
Jul 22, 2008 Edward Waverley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a profile on MySpace.
Recommended to Edward by: CS Lewis
Was Jesus the son of God? I think one of the most fascinating attempts to answer that question was mounted in the early 20th century by the two famous friends and literary rivals HG Wells and GK Chesterton, respectively the agnostic extraordinaire and the Catholic par excellence. For Wells, so emphatic was his need to debunk the notion of Christ's divinity that he took a break from his novels and switched to a series of writings on history, the most famous of which ws his "Outline of History." C...more
Jonathan

The Everlasting Man is not your typical Christian apologetics classic. I say this because G.K. Chesterton is not aiming to write a pure 'defence of the faith' as it were, but to write a work that better explores the relationship of Christianity to history. It has become something of a fashionable statement to ignore the relevance of Christianity as it pertains to history and so Chesterton sets out to first explore the concept of God and his role as more than merely just another aspect of mytholo...more
shaun mccormick
Mar 03, 2008 shaun mccormick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every single person on earth
Shelves: christian
The best book I have ever read.

A wonderful chronicle of how the entirety of history reaches its pinnacle in Jesus. From the start, Chesterton takes the poetic road; he swipes at the theory of evolution by asserting the necessity of art, the desire to create, and the noticing of beauty in unattractive things.

Sweeping into the mythologies, he shows how civilizations actually decline into polytheism from monotheism, rather than the generally-accepted opposite. He then shows how the Roman empire was...more
Clare Cannon

A brilliant study of comparative religion from earliest known human history to recent times. Chesterton looks at the essence of each religion and what makes them different to Christianity, so that you gradually realise that there is very little in which they can be compared, much less considered similar. There is no political correctness is what he says, if there were, the differences would have been neutralised until everything tasted more or less the same.

However, Chesterton may be best read...more
Brian
Aug 21, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: To Any Open Minded Person (but any Catholic it is a must)
Chesterton is a genius. Period.

This book, more than most others that are on the subject of Christian apologetics, blew me away. I can't really put into words anything more than that. Maybe until I read it again. My mind was just stretched to its limits in the scope and density of his arguments.

Chesterton covers every argument for Christ & Christianity and its need and place in history.

I recommend this book to any Christian and most especially to any Catholic to read in their lifetime. At...more
Skylar Burris
The Everlasting Man is a strange kind of Christian apologetics, which relates the story of man from the beginning of time. Chesterton gives a delightful thrashing to the anthropologists who draw amazing conclusions from minimal evidence; emphasizes that whether or not evolution is true, it offers absolutely no reasonable explanation for the vast divide between man and the animals; pokes some fun at the silliness of comparative religion; and teases the historical critics who draw insupportable cl...more
Mark Adderley
I've now read "The Everlasting Man" for the second time. It has some of the drawbacks other reviewers have noted--racial epithets that don't go down well in the twenty-first century, Eurocentrism (more below), a style that sometimes obscures the main point.

However, these are superficial criticisms. For the most part, it presents an examination of certain logical fallacies about the Christian faith that you sometimes hear today. The science of evolution may have moved on from what it was in Chest...more
Dhandayutha
There are some writers you must read them to learn what it means to think,what it means to argue,how to keep your guns intact at all moments.Nietzsche,Adorno,Lawrence,Chesterton are few among them.Reading Adorno and Chesterton and Nietzsche are an exercise to mind to learn how to think.As far i know Chesterton was a most potential opponent of Nietzsche and a strong defendant of Christianity.Its very hard not to be absorbed by him whenever you read him.Only when i read Chesterton and Nietzsche to...more
Steve
Chesterton writes this book to fend off the same arguments that continue today -evolutionist philosophy, materialism, comparative religion.

He brings out a point I had not considered before. Humanism would have us believe that society is evolving to ever higher civilization. Chesterton points out that history does not bear this out. Egypt, Babylon, the Mayans; all had advanced civilizations that disintegrated because of the nature of man. It brought to mind a conversation I had with a young man i...more
Tara
I've read this twice now, and I continue to think this is a vastly overrated book. Pieces of it are beautiful and rather brilliant, but only slight pieces. There's the argument about not dismissing ideas simply because they fell out of fashion - were they actually disproved? The answer is, yes, and the book falls short because the author's intelligence was strangled by his Euro-centric, racist, sexist beliefs. He is entirely blind to the crimes of Western Culture, and he seems to have sincerely...more
Megan
This book is basically an extended argument for the truth of Christianity's central doctrine of the Incarnation. Chesterton crafts his arguments with style, grace, humor, and deep intelligence. It requires patience -- the book demands attention and work and Chesterton's use of schemes and tropes is scintillating to the point of maddening -- but it is a thoroughly rewarding read.

...There's this one part at the end where he talks about the dawn as 'God kindling the morning fires for the world' --...more
Matt
I think Chesterton might be an acquired taste, but with three of his books under my belt, I'm finally a fan. This is an apologetic and history of sorts, but his writing is so lyrical, almost poetic, that it's easy to get hypnotized by the originality, rhythm, and imagery and not notice whether his logic holds. Fascinating book on the history of man, the origin of religion, and a critique of the attempt to compare religions, that I hope to re-read some day.
M. Patrick
I read The Everlasting Man, an apology of Catholic theology because I wanted to understand how G. W. Chesterton influenced C. S. Lewis. As I began it, I found Chesterton's arrogant arguments childish and weakly supported. By the time I finished it I decided he ought to have titled it, In Defense of Catholic Inquisitions . His initial arguments defending the proposition that one cannot understand history without understanding that Christ was the son of God incarnate were ad homina arguments. that...more
Eric
It is quite likely that I will come back to this book again, soon, and may then rate it at five stars. One can likely not come to Chesterton in any depth and leave fulfilled in some regard. Perhaps the Holy Spirit finds us in our need and allows Chesterton to explain it. Or, perhaps we are aware of some deep need and go to Chesterton to see what he may have to say. Both seem likely possibilities, and if the need is not readily evident then just the beauty of the prose that keeps coming would oft...more
Paul
Chesterton's most mature and complete work of history and theory, The Everlasting Man verily bristles with insight, marvel, delight of the mind.

Everything Chesterton writes is fruitful. I say this as a writer myself. There is nothing better to read than Chesterton when you are having difficulty thinking and writing.
Don Incognito
It's difficult for me to review The Everlasting Man adequately, largely for two reasons.

One is that G.K. Chesterton, being both a philosopher and a man of letters, here speaks in a style both rambling and strongly reminiscent of a lecture (or series of lectures). It's not patronizing, but the most important ideas Chesterton means to communicate can easily become buried. Ask me what the book is about, and from remembering the description I saw before I read it, I can tell you it's supposed to be...more
Noah
Pretty fantastic and amazing although potentially difficult for a reader who knows little of Chesterton and his time-period. This was my first encounter with Chesterton and I have to say that his writing is exactly what I imagined it to be: powerful, forceful and persuasive on account of its call to the spirit of the reader. And it's just this spirit that is so important to Chesterton's understanding of the human and human history. It was a joy to read someone whose humanism was not only the fou...more
Jason
A Chesterton is a lot like a Bruckner symphony: brilliant in a way, but redundant and ragged on the edges. Much like I love Bruckner's 4th but find his other symphonies mere re-runs, I absolutely adored "Orthodoxy" but didn't learn anything new from "The Everlasting Man." Everything I really loved about this book was already said in Orthodoxy, and I didn't much care for any of the new material.

In this work, Chesterton tackles a particular materialist assault on Christianity in his day. He divide...more
John
Anyone who happened to notice how long it took me to read this book might thing it should be called "The Everlasting Book."
It isn't even a particularly long book. But I found myself willing to put it down for anything else that came along. The Roman Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton wrote during the first half of the 20th century, a time when readers had the patience to chew over dense arguments and were equipped with a classical education. I have neither.
My low rating has more to do with the r...more
David Russell Mosley
Since some of Chesterton's works, especially the ones featured in this volume, can be hard to come by, I recommend this volume. However, it should be known that several of the books included in this volume are included only in part (particularly The Everlasting Man and Saint Thomas Aquinas).

Nevertheless, this book gave me an excellent opportunity to delve even more deeply into the thought and writing of G. K. Chesterton. If you've never read Chesterton, I highly recommend you do so. He will take...more
Stephanie Ricker
Our philosophy group is back in action, and we’re reading The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. I’ve been meaning to read Chesterton for ages and ages and somehow never quite got around to reading a single word of his until now. Of course, now I’m kicking myself for not getting to him sooner. He’s brilliant, and his work is engendering great discussion. I can see why Lewis found him so compelling; he lays his arguments out in a very Lewisian style, though Chesterton is more prone to making les...more
benebean
4.5 this one needs to be reread at least another 5 times--- but hey at least I think there's hope that I will be able to understand it after 5 times. It has the feel that I sometimes also get with C. S. Lewis where in some parts it seems I'm finally able to understand something incredibly complex thanks to the author and then in other parts I feel like I ought to be able to understand it, but I can't quite grasp it.

Picked up more the second time around.
Steve Macias
Aug 08, 2014 Steve Macias rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Steve by: Peter Kreeft
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

There is something special about Chesterton's ability to make the Incarnation into a key. Much like St. Athanasius, Chesterton recognizes that the incarnate God-man is more than an abstraction in Christian dogma. There is a certain cohesiveness in his "historical apologetic" that is comforting to the soul in a way the work of Van Til to the mind. Reason and the mystical, mythology and philosophy, science and the miracles, in the same way we have God and Man, the Bo...more
Timothy Stone
Is the course of history one that was an accident that, nonetheless, had to occur due to man developing the way he has? Has mankind moved from barbarism to civilization? In other words, are things getting better? And has history turned out how it has so far by accident, or by the hand of a Being Who guided it's course?

These are the questions that G. K. Chesterton attempted to answer in his extremely popular and influential book, The Everlasting Man. The results are mixed. This is not due to his...more
Phil
One Sentence Review: A masterful work of staggering scope, tracing with Chesterton's inimitable style the broad strokes of spiritual and religious history and demonstrating in a poetic, analytical, and thoroughly stirring way how Christianity fulfills those all-too-human and all-too-understandable longings of the human heart which gave rise to every mythological, spiritual, or philosophical system known to man.
Alex Milledge
Here's what I got from Chesterton's work, and I think it summarizes what he was trying to say "You know, Christianity is just different. I mean, even I think it's absurd, but, I just believe you know? Christianity solves the problems of all intellectual difficulties in philosophy, and it's so absurd it has to be true."

I have read C.S. Lewis's mere Christianity as well, and it's quite frank that in both Lewis's and Chesterton's work they commit post-modern sins of trying to come off as intellectu...more
Sherrie
G.K. Chesterton is a fantastic essay writer but he should have never attempted anything longer than 3-5 pages. This book is terrible. It has no cohesiveness. He refers in many places to the "theme" of the book as a whole or of particular chapters, but most of the time I had no idea what theme he was referring to. He uses esoteric and obscure analogies when simple ones would do. He oversimplifies concepts that are actually quite complex. He is blatantly wrong about some of the science he quotes (...more
Garrett
Wow. A book like this reminds me of going out a gourmet meal - I've come away full, happy, and a little disappointed it's over. I don't think I've ever underlined a book as much as I did while reading this on my Kindle. The entire last chapter summing up the book is worth quoting entirely.
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) cannot be summed up in one sentence. Nor in one paragraph. In fact, in spite of the fine biographies that have been written of him (and his Autobiography), he has never been captured between the covers of one book. But rather than waiting to separate the goats from the sheep, let’s just come right out and say it: G.K. Chesterton was the best writer of the twent...more
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“There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.” 134 likes
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