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The Everlasting Man

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  3,583 ratings  ·  267 reviews
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 ...more
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Published August 1st 2011 by christianaudio (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

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
shaun mccormick
Mar 03, 2008 shaun mccormick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 21, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Webster Bull
Christendom needs a new Chesterton. Written 90 years ago, "The Everlasting Man" confronts several fallacies popular in GK's day, including Christian Science ("Science and Health," 1875), Darwin's "triumph" ("On the Origin of Species," 1882), the reduction of Christianity to mythology by Frazer's "Golden Bough" (1890), and the post-Christian vision of H. G. Welles in "The Outline of History" (1910). Chesterton uses wit and common sense, proposing that Christianity not only would but already had t ...more
Julie Davis
Having finished Chesterton's book about St. Francis of Assisi, I looked for a copy of this one, which I've always found the most intriguing concept of all his books: a study of comparative religion against the backdrop of history, as compared to Christianity.

I was really surprised to find the first chapter meshing incredibly well with Jurassic Park, which I am just finishing up for the umpteenth time. This was made by Chesterton's point about what scientists of the day said was typical caveman b
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
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
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' --
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.
Christopher Rush
Having finally read my first Chesterton non-fiction, finally I say again, I am encouraged and relieved his reputation is well-deserved. Not that there was any doubt, truly, but the satisfaction of experiencing Chesterton is enhanced by knowing I am finally aligning myself with one of the great minds of the modern world (if not all-time). The book was not wholly overwhelming, of course, and it does seem to pick about mid-way through the second half, and Chesterton's style does take a bit more get ...more
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. tha ...more
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.
Jim Ainsworth
I have read that this book was a major influence in returning C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity. Both Lewis and Chesterton have intellects far superior to my own and this book is no walk in the park to read. I read each page twice before going on to the next. The journey may have been slightly arduous, but it was worth it.

It is not big words, needless complexity, or British style and spelling that slowed my comprehension, but big ideas, big concepts that are often difficult to get our he
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
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.
Chesterton has a power of insight and a freshness of perspective that is at once orthodox and exciting.
David Withun
Chesterton has taken up a tremendous task with this book and spectacularly accomplished his goals. Here, he sets out to explore and explain the nature and history of man in relation to the central event in the history of the species: the Incarnation of God as man in the Person of Jesus Christ. To accomplish this goal, Chesterton begins with the beginning of man in prehistory and proceeds through to the rise of Christianity. His goal along the way is to demonstrate the singular uniqueness of man ...more
James Boll
Now, the book is a bit dense. It appealed to me most probably because I understood most of his off-hand references to mythology and literature; if you like those things, you'll be cracking a smile on every page. Truly, though, I agree with what one critic said about the piece: "every single page is worthy of its own analysis and commentary." It's so rife with beauty and wit that I'm suppressing the desire to say it was God-breathed. I can't recommend this book any higher. Not only is it beautifu ...more
'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.' The civilisation of antiquity was the whole world: and men no more dreamed of its ending than of the ending of daylight. They could not imagine another order unless it were in another world. The civilisation of the world has passed away and those words have not passed away. In the long night of the Dark Ages feudalism was so familiar a thing that no man could imagine himself without a lord: and religion was so woven into that ...more
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
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
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
J. Alfred
I recently heard that someone has been going around saying that "Chesterton is the Besterton," and I have lived in a state of secret fear since, because that horrifically nerdy little rhyme sounds distressingly like something I would say. Anyway, I love him, despite his terrible racism (cut the guy a break, he lived in an all-white community some 70 years before the civil rights movement) and his insistance on mentioning Calvinism in the same breath as the other great heresies. One of his biogra ...more
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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