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The Everlasting Man

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  4,675 Ratings  ·  351 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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Robb Chesterton conjectured that man is a creature of belief; by nature he believes in something -- he cannot ~not~ believe.

A man who refuses to have his…more
Chesterton conjectured that man is a creature of belief; by nature he believes in something -- he cannot ~not~ believe.

A man who refuses to have his own philosophy will only have the used-up scraps of somebody else’s philosophy. [“The Revival of Philosophy,” The Common Man (1930)]

It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense. [“The Oracle of the Dog” (1923)]

hard-shelled materialists [are] balanced on the very edge of belief — of belief in almost anything. [“The Miracle of Moon Crescent” (1924)](less)
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Community Reviews

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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 it was amazing  ·  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
shaun mccormick
Mar 03, 2008 shaun mccormick rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...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
Clare Cannon
Aug 23, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adults

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
David Sarkies
May 30, 2016 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
The Spiritual History of Humanity
9 June 2016

It was quite ironic that as I was reading this book I noticed that a friend of mine was regularly updating his Facebook status with quotes from G.K. Chesterton. Mind you, they weren't any old quotes, they were no doubt quotes that particularly struck him. It is a real shame that he isn't on Goodreads (or has made any mention on Facebook what book he is reading) because no doubt he is reading some Chesterton at this time, I just am not really sure whic
...more
Brian
Aug 14, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Dhandayutha
Jun 08, 2014 Dhandayutha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jeff Miller
Mar 08, 2016 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I ever read of Chesterton's was a chapter from this book titled "God in a Cave", so I have a great fondness for this books and my introduction to Chesterton.

As this is another re-read of this, my love of this goes much farther than fondness. His "outline of history" in response to his friend H.G. Well's book still pertains as much today as ever. This sweeping birds eye view of history presents a rather odd apologetic and a way of seeing things so simple that you pass over them. M
...more
Mark Adderley
May 20, 2009 Mark Adderley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
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
Steve
May 14, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara
May 19, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a masterpiece. It is a focused walk through the story of mankind.

I think that I will use this with my beginning scholars as an orientation to world history.

I will forever understand that man always begins in a cave. Chesterton has given me a powerful understanding of why Christ was born in a stable (rather than A field, the woods, a home or a palace).

I have a new confidence and peace and sense of hope for my own time knowing that it is only natural that Christendom will go through a g
...more
David Huff
Jan 01, 2017 David Huff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece among many fine works of Chesterton, “The Everlasting Man” brings an everlasting change to the whole notion of “comparative religions”; and reading this great and challenging book will give you a new perspective on the history of the world. In fact, Chesterton wrote it, in part, as a theological rebuttal to H. G. Wells’ “Outline of History”. More specifically, it is a deep and beautifully written essay to describe, as the Boston Transcript notes, “How the fulfillment of all man’s d ...more
Tara
Feb 24, 2010 Tara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Davis
Jun 02, 2015 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Douglas Wilson
Magnificent.
Tim
A few months ago I read an anthropology book in which the author took the position that because there are particulars (particular religions, particular moral codes), we are justified in believing this means we have imagined all universals (God, good and evil). God does not exist and all of these elaborate and competing theologies more or less popped up simultaneously over the planet as we spread across it. From these particulars, we then imagined a universal: an actual Creator behind it all. How ...more
Daniel Wright
Such is the peculiarity of my shelving structure that I must put all books by G. K. Chesterton on a shelf called 'modernist-era'. How did the very scourge of modernity in person end up on a such an oddly named shelf? Especially such a book as this, where he lays into everything modern with all his formidable eloquence. He is at his best at the beginning, critiquing contemporary unfounded speculation about primitive humankind. In this, he has very much been vindicated by events - palaeoanthropolo ...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
Megan
Jan 27, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, british
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.
Paul
Oct 18, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2014 Christopher Rush rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Marie
Aug 31, 2013 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'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
James Boll
Dec 24, 2014 James Boll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Schroder
Oct 24, 2015 Kevin Schroder rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utter-crap
Wow that was bad. Chesterton is the master of the pithy statement; unfortunately his ability to construct larger arguments is non-extistent. I have read some of Chesterton's other works that had been recommended to me and was always ill-struck by his misanthropic views and bluster. I read this because C.S. Lewis cites the book as one of the reasons for his conversion. I now understand. Chesterton's writing is as unnecessarily convoluted and filled with specious reasoning as Lewis' Mere Christian ...more
John
Aug 26, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Judith Johnson
Mar 01, 2016 Judith Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like many other reviewers, I looked forward to reading this book because it was noted as the book that converted CS Lewis to Christianity, and I am a great admirer of Lewis. I find philosophical argument and theology very hard going - much prefer concrete images, and narrative - and I found this book more laborious to read than almost anything else I can think of, but soldiered on, as it was a gift, and I felt the subject deserved my attention. However, I'm sure it has made its mark, and if noth ...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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“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” 352 likes
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