Saturday, June 08, 2013

Chesterton is indeed "The Complete Thinker"

I've just read The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G. K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist.

I'd recommend that fans of Chesterton do so too - and not just because buying a copy might put a few bucks in Dale's pocket (though he deserves it).

The book is a survey of Chesterton's thinking on any number of issues and topics. Given the range of Chesterton's writings the book needed an appendix to try to fit everything in - and I suspect Dale could have added another appendix or two if he'd wanted to.

Chesterton was noted for inserting himself and his thought into everything he was writing, so it's no surprise that amidst the exploration of GKC's thoughts, Ahquist also managed to sneak in bits of his own Chesterton-colored observations about contemporary issues.

Given the volume of Chesterton's writings and the range of topics he covered, the book is by necessity only a taste of Chesterton. But it might just inspire readers to explore him more seriously and more in depth. Although I have been reading Chesterton fairly regularly for the past 20 years, I learned a few things from this book - and made some connections I hadn't before.

I found reading the book like reading Chesterton - at least for me. Some people can guzzle his writing. I find I need to sip and savor. So it takes me a while to get through any of Chesterton's books. It took me months to finish Ahlquist's book. Better minds would likely be able to get through it much quicker.

But whatever your approach, I do recommend this book. Even if you are not a fan of Chesterton, I think you'll find this book thought-provoking and eye-opening.

So buy it, and keep Dale's bank account solvent.

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