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Common Sense 101: Lessons from Chesterton Paperback – April 1, 2006
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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
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
Top customer reviews
If you are embarking on reading G.K Chesterton you should consider "The Complete Thinker" along with Dale Ahlquist companion books 'The Apostle of Common Sense" and "Common Sense 101". These are an excellent introduction when beginning what will likely become a lifetime passion of enjoying the writings of G.K. Chesterton. I had read Orthodoxy (Chesterton) and was impressed but puzzled. As I heard in a lecture by Mr. Ahlquist on your first reading you end up underlining the entire work, you read it again and realize you missed something and also that it appears to be even more profound than your first reading and by your third read you enjoy it even more. The works by Mr. Ahlquist put you into the Chesteron 'fast lane' from the start. Read these then start reading Chesteron. You will not regret a moment.
If you do not ask the questions, you cannot get the answers. Chesterton was passionately concerned about the mystery of life and death, good and evil and all the issues that faced the society of his day. In short he was involved. In his search for answers, nothing escaped his interest and his voluminous writings on every topic under the sun defy one's imagination.
Like Chesterton, Dale Ahlquist is a convert and unashamedly wants to show the relevance of Chesterton's wisdom as we try to grapple with the realities of today.
As Dale Ahlquist said in an interview, on publishing this book in 2006, he tried to portray the world through Chesterton's eyes and hoped to give people a new and fresh and, I must admit, refreshing perspective.
Dale Ahlquist has an unbelievable knowledge of his hero's life and writings. Dale writes with eloquence and easy readability.
As most of the other reviewers have already written, this book is an excellent and quotable read.
It reinforces one's interest in Chesterton and is an ideal gift for those who would like to have a challenging and entertaining experience.
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.
The book is broken into segments based on general subjects that G.K. has written on, which Ahlquist fills with long excerpts of representative passages, along with the editor's own succinct insights into Chesterton's philosophy and wit. He Ends the book with an extensive Chesterton bibliography, so that the initiate can see and continue reading the vast and diverse writings of this great (and nearly forgotten) author.