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The Everlasting Man

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  6,768 ratings  ·  561 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 agno…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: 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 re
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 some
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
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
Julie Davis
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Third time's the charm ... or rather the re-charm! This time I read the actual print version and found it just as good, if not better, than the audio I'd always used before. A few paragraphs before my day began always gave me a little nugget to ponder. This is an incredibly rich book which made me wonder if it was, in a way, Chesterton's version of City of God by St. Augustine. Not that Chesterton would do that, but having listened to a Great Course on City of God while reading this, I couldn't ...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
Jeff Miller
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read 2018-08-05

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
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
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
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apologetica
The work of Chesterton is basically to take the difficult discussions to the surface level and make it somewhat accessible for lay people to understand! I would recommend it to new converts to the Catholic faith, and young Catholics. It isn't bad at all if you don't have the time to read the works of Wolfgang Smith, Fr. Frederick Charles Copleston, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, Fr. Edouard Hugon, Thomas Woods, Olavo de Carvalho etc...
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!!
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
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
Manuel Alfonseca
ENGLISH: This is the fifth time I have read this outstanding book, which Chesterton wrote as an answer to H.G. Wells's "Outline of History," and which had a tremendous influence in the conversion to Christianity or Catholicism of other thinkers, such as C.S. Lewis.

In the first part ("On the creature called man") Chesterton reasons that "man is not just an animal." I've also written about this in the most visited post in my blog: Is man just an animal?. The second part ("On the man called Christ"
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 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
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
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
Rick Davis
10 years... It's certainly about time I read this book again. Simply magnificent. Chesterton sets forth a breathtaking philosophy for reading the story of history.


Last read January 2005.
David Withun
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Julie Davis
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My "listening notes" from audiobook reading can be found here. ...more
Corey Wozniak
I adore GK Chesterton. I expressed my love for him in my review of _In Defense of Sanity_, a collection of his essays.

_The Everlasting Man_ is not my favorite Chesterton, though there are still many gems, here.

There are a few reasons for this. This book, like _Orthodoxy_, can feel rather desultory, even random. I often get lost trying to follow the thread of his argument. This is both because Chesterton is simply much smarter than me and because he doesn't really bother to give the [less intell
I've read over a dozen books by Chesterton, but The Everlasting Man was one of the toughest to get through. Written as a rebuttal to H.G. Wells An Outline of History, Chesterton wrote the book to refute the idea that man is merely a part of the animal kingdom and that Jesus Christ was just an influential teacher.

Unfortunately the first half on the development of man and religion is quite a slog. If you can hang on until the chapter on the incarnation, "God in the Cave," you will be richly reward
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The Catholic Book...: 4. Evolution 11 17 Nov 15, 2019 06:06PM  
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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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