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The Everlasting Man

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  5,668 Ratings  ·  434 Reviews
G. K. Chesterton is one of the first popular writers to object to culture's casual dismissal of the divine. In "The Everlasting Man" he restores God to our understanding of history.

"The Everlasting Man" is one of G. K. Chesterton's most important books. Frustrated with attempts to relate history without God, such as H. G. Wells' "Outline of History," "The Everlasting Man"
Paperback, 262 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Hendrickson Publishers (first published 1925)
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Michael Kenan Baldwin Because rationalism is associated with the veneration of agnosticism, and agnosticism gives birth to superstition. See here:
" an…more
Because rationalism is associated with the veneration of agnosticism, and agnosticism gives birth to superstition. See here:
" an agnostic sentiment, for it rests on two feelings: first that we do not really know the laws of the universe; and second that they may be very different to all we call reason." p98, in chapter 6 'The Demons and the Philosophers' in 'The Everlasting Man'.(less)
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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 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
Jonathan Terrington

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 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
What can I possibly write/say about The Everlasting Man that hasn’t already been written/said ever so much better? He is Our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ of course and this book about Him is supposedly the best writing by G.K. Chesterton. The latter point might be debatable, the first certainly isn’t.

There is one comment. Perhaps it has been made by others, I do not know. But I loved GK’s points about the Caveman and his drawings. Art is a refinement unique to Man and thanks to the explanation
Clare Cannon
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults, non-fiction

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
David Sarkies
May 30, 2016 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
How to explain what it is like reading G. K. Chesterton? It is having your mind blown and your imagination blessed at the same time. It is sentences that need to be re-read because they are both profound and painful. It is feeling like you are being put through a ringer but you'll be better for it at the end.
Clever, challenging, encouraging, even inspiring. That is what it is to read Chesterton. It took me a summer to get through this one but I highly value the chance I got to really dig deep.
Aug 14, 2007 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
Skylar Burris
Jan 01, 2008 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
Jun 08, 2014 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
Julie Davis
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading ... or rather relistening. I'm being blown away once again.

Original review is below.

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 umpteent
Jeff Miller
Mar 08, 2016 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
Mark Adderley
May 20, 2009 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
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mean it was C. S. Lewis who said: "for me a book is of no use if I don't read it at least two or three times".
Well, I only can agree to the uttermost with Lewis.
Particularly "the everlasting man" by G. K. Chesterton is a classic candidate for rereading it several times....
The book himself enjoys a classic status. Here Chesterton displays masterfully his keen, winning and engaging wit, and tantalizes us trough his amazing and eloquent gift as one of the best Christians apologetics writer ever!!
David Huff
Jan 01, 2017 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
May 14, 2013 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
May 19, 2014 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
Feb 24, 2010 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
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Considered a masterpiece among Chesterton’s many books, this was written to refute H. G. Wels’s endorsement of a purely natural view of the evolution of Homo sapiens and of human culture. Chesterton here argues that religion is integral and essential to understanding humanity and the world and that, of all religious systems, Christianity is alone true and Catholicism the most perfect expression of Christianity. I am not a fan of polemics; it only affords access to one side of an argument without ...more
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
David Withun
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
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
I may have finished this book, but I'm not done with it. Nowhere near. I will be thumbing back through my (many) underlined passages to try and retrace the whole argument Chesterton makes.

Essentially, Chesterton sets out to prove that "man is not an evolution, but a revolution." And that any effort to dismiss Christianity as just one among many belief systems falls short of truly seeing Christianity as the oddity that it was and is still.

Chesterton has a way of seeing the world that draws my a
Jan 27, 2009 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' --
Douglas Wilson
Jon Gill
This is an incredible read, and it will take some work to grasp it all. But it’s worth it, especially for Christians who are questioning their faith, or skeptics who want to throw Christianity out with the bathwater of religious bad behavior.

Chesterton is not like anyone else

Chesterton has a good reputation for being the master of the turn-of-phrase. He does this well in small essays (I read “All Things Considered” earlier this year, and it’s full of great quotables and short nuggets), going fr
Br Stabin John Capuchin
I read this book as part of a group reading. A really interesting book, it needs more time to read in depth. The explanations given by the group moderators helped me to read it nicely. Chesterton is really tough but enriching writer.
Kevin Schroder
Oct 24, 2015 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
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
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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
More about G.K. Chesterton

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