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Common Sense 101: Lessons from Chesterton Paperback – April 1, 2006
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Update: This book has become my standard gift. Bought four copies so far and the feedback has been terrific. Somewhat suprised that all Catholics have not been exposed to Chesterton. This week a friend of my parents ,a devout (attends Mass weekly at least) southern Italian Catholic who was in the hospital, said of the gift "You've opened a whole new door for me."
What she liked about Chesterton, she said, is he told her what she already knew, but in a clear, inspirational way.
Do believe if I gave Orthodoxy as a gift, it might be put on the shelf. Common Sense 101 is deep but a light. flowing read. I know those who read 101 will get Orthodoxy on their own. One lady, after finishing 101, subscribed to GK.
Dangerous and delightful indeed. In this unusually written but suprisingly well executed book, we see the genius of Chesterton at work on nearly every level. From poetry to capitalism to catholicism Alhquist extracts and applies the Chestertonian "essence" almost as if he were the man himself. He does this through substantial (but not overbearing) excerpts from Chesterton's volumous writing and careful commentary.
Alhquist seemingly pulls off the impossible: He offers a comprehensive introduction to Chesterton, includes enough direct excerpts from Chesterton's writing to effectively convey his wit and stytle, manages to apply his thinking to the present era, and does it all in under 300 pages. A remarkable feat.
Whether you come to Chesterton from his Father Brown fiction or from 'Orthodoxy' there is something for everyone here. I was repeatedly suprised by his timeless wisdom and grace. Of the half-dozen books I've read about Chesterton, Ahlquist's is the most well-rounded and interesting.
What Ahlquist has done here is remarkable. He was taken Chesterton's thoughts, and often his words verbatim, and put them together in one volume that is cohesive and addresses our age. It is an easy, but riveting, read that hooked me right from the beginning. If you are a serious Catholic, rest assured, any thought you have EVER HAD, is likely not original. Chesterton already had it; eighty years ago. He is prophetic, correct, and intimidating. After reading Chesterton you would not be alone if you concluded that no further apologetics for the faith were necessary. If people of good will read Chesterton, they will become Chestertonian Catholics.
This is a great introduction to Chesterton's thought. If one is interested in reading Chesterton, I would start with this book, and Ahlquist's "Apostle of Common Sense." Then, I would dig headlong into the master himself.
As with Ahlquist's earlier book, The Apostle of Common Sense, this book is collected from TV shows that played on EWTN. However, the reaction I continually had when watching the first series on video was "Ah! Let me write that down!" The great thing about that book (and this one) is that it is written down. Not only that, the book ends with a biography of all the books by Chesterton, with brief and very helpful annotations (notes) on each book. Most of the Chesterton I've read I found out about either from Dale's other book or his notes on books sent out by the American Chesterton Society, of which he is president.
In between these two bookends, as it were, I expected quotes from GKC, but it's more than that, with our host providing what are likely slightly revised transcripts of the shows. So you get a cornucopia of Chesterton, with footnotes of where it came from so you can track down those books, but also Dale's engaging writing. In my view, he is the Boswell if Chesterton is Johnson. It's as if he were introducing us to a particularly zany uncle or grandfather who afterwards we can not wait to visit.
Rock savvy readers will place my title as a spoken aside from "Stairway to Heaven", but this book gives the answer. "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly," quipped GKC. For all his poundage, so did he. Ahlquist invites us to that forgotten realm where easy laughter is part and parcel of common sense.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chesterton was the C. S. Lewis of his generation. Amazing insights and a tantalizing way of standing expressions on their heads so as to reveal the truth.Published 6 months ago by Cecil R. Taylor
Even the most brilliant (which I am not) devotees of Chesterton would have to concede that it is not easy to grasp the full scope of thinking encapsulated in each sentence issuing... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Brian ONeill
Amazing book! I never knew someone could explain such common info in such a unique beautiful way. Chesterton sticks up for Christianity,natural law and humanity. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Unclejesse
If for no other reason, this is a great introduction to what makes Chesterton brilliant thinking on such a multitude of topics understandable. Leads one to want more.Published on January 19, 2014 by Raymond I. Smithjr