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on September 3, 2015
Chesterton's description of St Francis is intended by his own admission as only an introduction to the life of this surprising catholic. It is not a definitive biography. It is a beautiful celebratory description of the impact of Francis on the Church and the revelations about the tolerance and depth of orthodox Catholic belief revealing itself in the actual event of St Francis. Chesterton does not speak so much of Francis and he speaks of what he meant in the context of a humane and living Church emerging from the Middle ages. He does not quote what Francis says, but of what Francis would mean to a modern Christian. This book is more about the depth of Christian belief than the life of the Saint and because of the soulfulness of Chesterton's prose makes much of what is said about St Francis seem superficial. Reading another biography of St Francis first may be helpful in more fully understanding this book.
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on October 13, 2017
This is a good value for the quality. I had a recent confirmandi that took the name Francis for Confirmation, and I hope that this "biography" will help him to understand the Poor One of Assisi better. I put "biography" in quotes, since this is not a strict objective/historical biography, but rather is Chesterton's attempt (successful I would say) to share the charism of St. Francis.
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on December 19, 2016
In this short bio, we can see Chesterton's admiration for Francis. The author's own love of God's creation is something that he focuses on in the Italian Saint. This work seeks to play the middle ground, as Chesterton mentions a couple of times, and neither firmly accepts or denies the miraculous claims attributed to Francis. Some of Chesterton's typical wandering into philosophical discussion breaks the flow. But he manages to tie it in well to the over-all work. The chronology does not seem to flow, but rather the author seems to approach thoughts about Francis as they come to mind. With that being said, the chronology given at the end is helpful.
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on December 19, 2013
In his typical and insightful way, Chesterton gives his view on the well known saint against the backdrop of modernist critique. I would recommend reading a biography first, but this is a well worth read and stunningly poetic at times.
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on February 7, 2016
Spoiler alert. Chesterton starts the book out by saying there are three ways to understand Francis and that he's chosen the hardest one. At least it would be if the other two weren't impossible. His clarity of thought and good humor are as fresh (and relevant) today as when he first wrote them.
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on May 29, 2010
This book is written and crafted by a genius. What came in the mail was much more than merely a biography, this is a work of precision cultural criticism and wit which can be both pointed and beautiful at the same time.

I love how Chesterton picks out his contemporaries or past thinkers and then tells us why they are wrong for thinking x. There is so much truth in this book-- I could go on and on about how relevant this work is to us in the 21st Century. When talking about Ancient Rome: "Thus the effect of treating sex as only one innocent natural thing was that every other innocent natural thing became soaked and sodden with sex" (21).

What makes Chesterton so good, though, is that he is not parading merely his own opinion throughout the book-- he is speaking with the fullness of truth backing him up. The reader will experience what happens when Jn 8:32 is applied to literature: "the truth will set you free" and you will then be free to take down that which is not true-- and do it with style.
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on September 1, 2017
St Francis explained like only G K Chesterton can.
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on August 27, 2017
A classic!
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on April 19, 2013
This is not a biography of St. Francis rather it provides an understanding of this holy man in the context of his time. Although Chesterton writes of St. Francis in the context of the Middle Ages it is not a stretch to comprehend the timeless virtues of this Saint . I read this book in the hope that I may have a greater understanding of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I will now read the Holy Father' s teachings with deeper understanding of his hero thanks to Chesterton.
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on April 26, 2014
This book is a very well written account of a truly great person. Written by a truly great person. Chesterton has depths of insight that is very much needed in our society today. We need more people whose motivation is for the "good of the people" instead of the motivation of "What's in it for me". A person has the choice of serving God or serving self. St. Francis was the very definition of serving God instead of serving self.
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