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Common Sense 101: Lessons from Chesterton Paperback – April 1, 2006


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Common Sense 101: Lessons from Chesterton + G. K. Chesterton:  Apostle of Common Sense + In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586171399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586171391
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

C. S. Lewis is almost certainly the most popular twentieth-century Christian apologist--almost because he is very closely rivaled, if not surpassed, by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), the English writer of all kinds of prose and verse who was the most beloved public speaker and debater of his time, adored as much by his famous sparring partners G. B. Shaw and H. G. Wells as by anyone who agreed with him. In 21 quotation-laden chapters, Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, presents Chesterton's Christianity. The most famous convert to Catholicism of his time, Chesterton stressed the permanency of the faith and its rootedness in common sense, by which he meant the ordinary human considerations conducive to family and community fellowship. Humility and humor, as much as wisdom and logic, and a candid, conversational manner suffuse his writing, and at least the manner has rubbed off on Ahlquist, thereby ensuring that this is one of the most enjoyable works of Christian "propaganda" you will ever read. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Ahlquist proves that Chesteron's commentaries and views on the continuing dehumanization of man, the so-called social sciences, the totalitarian ideologies and the intellectual fashions of his day continue to be relevant in our own age. --George J. Marlin, Editor, Collected Works of Chesterton

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Customer Reviews

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A friend recommended this book and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
2boys0girls
If one is interested in reading Chesterton, I would start with this book, and Ahlquist's "Apostle of Common Sense."
bookscdsdvdsandcoolstuff
Only downside to this book is you'll fill it up with slips of paper to mark pages you want to show others.
Essex

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Essex on June 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Only downside to this book is you'll fill it up with slips of paper to mark pages you want to show others. This was so good, I'm buying Ahlquist's "G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense" next.

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.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jason E. Smith on March 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
"This is not a book about Chesterton," Ahlquist writes. "It is a book about everything else from a Chestertonian perspective. It is an attempt to get inside of him and inhabit him like a large house so that we can see the world through the windows he provides. . . Chesterton wrote about everything. An ocean of words poured out of his pen. . . It is deep, it is dangerous, it is delightful, it is refreshing, it is full of suprises, it is full of life" (9-10).

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.

Highly recommended.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By James S. Mcpherrin on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for all people who wish to understand more fully the true nature of the human experience. Ahlquist, the head of the American Chesterton Society and publisher of Gilbert Magazine, does a lovely job of presenting Chesterton to the 21st century reader. Although Chesterton died in 1936, his words are as compelling now as they were then. An excellent primer on Chestertonian wisdom and a refreshing affirmation of the Roman Catholic Church. A splendid read.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By bookscdsdvdsandcoolstuff VINE VOICE on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
If there is anyone one the planet qualified to write this book, it is Dale Ahlquist. I have never had the privilege of reading, or seeing on TV, anyone more deeply rooted in Chesterton's thought than Ahlquist. As this book is essentially "Chesterton Updated," Ahlquist is certainly the man to do it. If the academy were not in free fall due to political correctness and liberalism, Ahlquist would be a respected and tenured Chesterton scholar tasked with teaching students Chesterton's works.

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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Tatum on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the opening chapters Dale Ahlquist gives a vivid and rich description of the captivating character that is G K Chesterton. Ahlquist, an admitted Chesterton fan, provides a guide to the world 'through Chesterton's eyes' with the focus on the question - what is really important in life? There are some hard questions asked and some blunt answers given. Not a book for those who feel wish to remain comfortable with atheist, Darwinian, Marxist, Freudian or even scientific beliefs. If you are happy to challenge your beliefs and are willing to ask questions of yourself and others, Ahlquist and Chesterton offer a wide range of ideas to debate. Easy to read, entertaining and challenging.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on December 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At six foot four, weighing in at 300 pounds, Chesterton was certainly the biggest writer of the Victorian/ Edwardian era. But why was he always laughing? "I suppose I enjoy myself more than other people because there's such a lot of me having a good time." If that doesn't make you want to read this book, nothing will. But that's only from the Introduction of this 300 page book, the tip, if you will, of the iceberg.

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.
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