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VINE VOICEon April 27, 2003
"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly," G.K.Chesterton once remarked. Despite his considerable poundage, no one took himself more lightly than GKC. In this tiny tome, Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, takes on a big subject--the 300 pound Victorian writer G.K.C.. Daunting as the task may be, he succeeds in giving a birds' eye view--Peter Pan style--flying as it were over twelve of the prolific author's best-known and most-loved books, lighting here and there to briefly explore historical and cultural connections.
Ahlquist in person takes himself as lightly as GKC, as anyone who has heard his lectures can attest, but here he comes off as earnest, at times even strident, as against the buoyant wit of his subject. The reason is that he has simply given Chesterton all the good lines, and been content to play straight man to his humorous star. He further straight-jackets himself by confining himself to GKC's nonfiction work, and we all know how many funny lines are scattered throughout the fiction.
No matter. Chesterton emerges as firmly on the side of the angels, applying, impossible as it may sound, the same light touch and genial sensibility to the pressing problems of our times--or rather his times nearly 100 years ago. All in all, here's the best intro to not only the man Chesterton, but a dozen of his best books.
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VINE VOICEon March 13, 2004
I have had a curiousity about Chesterton for a number of years. Before I chose one of his works, I decided to purchase this book to determine first of all, whether I wanted to spend time with Chesterton, and secondly, if I did, where do I start. Ahlquist has done an excellent job in drawing me in. I am hooked and will begin in earnest. I was fascinated to read passages that Chesterton wrote in the early 20th Century that apply just as well to events in the world today. Common sense is timeless.

There is so much to quote from. For instance..."Chesterton says men do not grow tired of evil but of good. They stop worshipping God and start worshipping idols, their own bad imitations of God, and they become as wooden as the thing they worship. They start worshipping nature and become unnatural. They start worshipping sex and become perverted. Men start lusting after men and become unmanly."

And this was written nearly 100 years ago...Get yourself this book and get hooked on common sense.
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on July 2, 2005
Though I had heard about Chesterton for a number of years, I could never find anyone who had read him who could give me some reasonable idea about the man or about what he wrote. Well, if you're like me, this is the book that you should definitely buy and read. Even if you have read Chesterton or other books about him and his writing, you should buy and read this book to gain perspective on and insight into the man and what he wrote. Ahlquist is like one of those great high school or university teachers who not only knows his subject very well, but who knows just what to emphasize and how to explain his subject so as to enlighten and to educate his students and thereby to get the students to delve into the subject more. Ahlquist's style of writing is clear, very informative and humourous, and, no doubt, reflects the influence of Chesterton's writing style. This book would be a useful companion to anyone who has read or who might want to read Chesterton.
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on July 22, 2005
This book is a wonderful overview of Chesterton and his work. If you are just discovering the works of this amazing writer this book is a good place to start. With a great summarization of some of his best works you will have a better I idea of what you want to read next. This book places emphasis on Chesterton's works that defend Christianity and the Roman Catholic faith.
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on December 29, 2005
If you want to read Chesterton, and don't know which book to start with, start with this one. It isn't *by* Chesterton, but will help you decide which book of Chesterton's you'd like to read first.

There are a lot of good Chesterton quotes, and a lot of plain common sense written in this book, it is easy to read, and I recommend it.
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on November 3, 2007
Friends, do you know who G. K. Chesterton. is? If the answer is no or if you only know a little about him, then it is time to buy this book. It is time to learn about the champion of the common man. It is time to learn about the champion of common sense. It is time to learn about the champion of life, liberty, and property. Chesterton fought for truth throughout his life using the most powerful weapons possible: truth, common sense, and laughter.

Dale Ahlquist is one of the foremost Chesterton authorites in America, and although you did not know it before now, he has done you a tremendous favor by writing this book. Chesterton wrote over a hundred books in his life, and for the beginner it can be a daunting task to figure out where one should start. Ahlquist provides a nice description of Chesterton's works in this book and how they fit in the larger scheme of Chesterton's philosophy and writing. If you are about to take the plunge into the writings of Chesterton, or if you have just started to read the writings of Chesterton, then you need to buy this book. You won't regret it.
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on May 23, 2007
Dale Ahlquist book about G.K. Chesterton and his major works is a great way for one to be introduced to this great writer and thinker and if one has already read Chesterton (like me), one will still find it useful and a fun book that compiles his most famous works with commentary about the relevance of Chesterton's thoughts and ideas, even for today.

Ahlquist does a wonderful job of inserting Chesterton's quotes and then demonstrating there relevance for then and now. He demonstrates the logical consistency in his arguments. Chapters that excel are "Eugenics and Other Evils", "The Everlasting Man", "What's Wrong with the World." Easy, quick, and entertaining read.
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on July 18, 2016
I am copying my review from Mr. Ahlquist's other books on Chesterton to save you looking it up:

I am copying my review from "The Complete Thinker" to save you looking it up:

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.
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on July 1, 2015
Reading this book is the most excellent introduction to Chesterton on the market. Having enjoyed the EWTN series
I bought the book, which really gets into a lot more detail and provides clear, moving prose which assists in a deeper
understanding of what made G.K. Chesterton so special and why his works are so relevant today. My only complaint
is not about the book - but only for the sting of sadness one feels when it becomes clear just how much the world
could be a better place if this great man's philosophy was directly applied to society today.
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on March 1, 2008
Ahlquist's introductory text to Chesterton was a delightful, witty, and quick read which set me afire once again to read an author whom the contemporary world has lamentably forgotten - and not accidentally. I have before fallen in love with Chesterton and hope to continue to fall in love with this humble intellectual giant, the apostle of the people, of "common sense" as Ahlquist says. This text functions very well to whet anyone's appetite for Chesterton.

One of the marks of a great mind is a unity in thought, particularly over time - even when time realizes various conversions, like the life of Chesterton. In Ahlquist's bird's-eye view of Chesterton's major works, the general theme of Chesterton's levity and love for the obvious, simple paradoxes of life shines forth as a glorious beacon to the majestic thoughts of this man. The text on the whole is a delightful, yet not too serious, admixture of the author's musing with quotes of varied length from Chesterton. It is a joy to leap from subject to subject in this short overview, for that was the way that the physically massive writer would write, like the most free of angels, floating humbly above the fray of grave intellectuals. I highly recommend this text to all, from the complete Chesterton novice, to the junior who perhaps needs a re-expansion of his Chestertonian horizons, to the scholar of Chesterton who too can only benefit from stepping back to look at the great masterpiece that is collected works and mind of Chesterton.
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