From 2008 through 2016, I was on the board of the American Chesterton Society, a literary society dedicated to the revival and renaissance of the works of one of the great writers of the early 20th century. There was a time when most every school child and certainly most literate adults in England and the United States might have read him, but he was almost forgotten by the modern decades. The author of over 80 books and over 5000 newspaper columns, he wrote about everything and wrote well. His poetry was recited by soldiers in the trenches of WWI. Considered by many to one of the great Catholic apologists, he was loved by Protestant and Jewish theologians — and even atheists. (There’s a great story about C. S. Lewis, who was an atheist until he read Chesterton, and is quoted as saying, “A committed atheist cannot be too careful on which books he reads.”) The socialist and agnostic George Bernard Shaw and Chesterton constantly battled it out in debates but they were the best of friends. Upon Chesterton’s death in 1936, Shaw said, “The world is not thankful enough for G. K. Chesterton.”

The renaissance for Chesterton’s work is going strong. There’s an entertaining and thought-provoking television show on EWTN called The Apostle of Common Sense that’s just completed its seventh season. Many books have been published in recent years about the man and his work. Three favorites are The Apostle of Common Sense (based on the TV series) by Dale Ahlquist, Common Sense 101 also by Dale, and Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, a Chesterton biography by Joseph Pearce. To learn more, visit The American Chesterton Society website.

SaveSave