October 20th, 2012 21:32 EST
The Complete Thinker
In a review of Maisie Ward`s classic biography of modern literary giant Gilbert Keith Chesterton, the Oct. 11, 1943, issue of Time magazine described G.K. Chesterton`s writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories -- first carefully turning them inside out."
In THE COMPLETE THINKER, available now from Ignatius Press, author Dale Ahlquist leads readers on a tour of Chesterton`s works -- and thoughts. The book is available now in paperback and as an ebook.
From the late 1800s until his death in 1936, Chesterton wrote on an amazing variety of topics -- philosophy, art, literature, politics, social issues, Christian apologetics and many others. He published poetry and was an accomplished journalist. He also became just as well-known for his public lectures and debates. Upon his conversion to Catholicism, Chesterton said, "To become a Catholic is not to leave off thinking, but to learn how to think" (The Catholic Church and Conversion, CW 3:106).
Ahlquist is familiar with the vast, timeless territory Chesterton covered, serving as president and co-founder of the American Chesterton Society. Ahlquist has written and lectured extensively on Chesterton for more than 20 years. "This book combines a wide range of topics because Chesterton combines them," Ahlquist said. "As a complete thinker Chesterton is the model thinker, worth emulating. He is very much the antidote to the broken and fragmented thinking of the modern world."
Ahlquist masterfully combines Chesterton`s works with his own analysis to show how and why Chesterton was, indeed, THE COMPLETE THINKER. The book expands Ignatius Press` library of Ahlquist`s works on Chesterton to four. The others include Lepanto, Common Sense 101 and The Apostle of Common Sense. He also co-edited (with Joseph Pearce and Aidan Mackey) In Defense of Sanity, a collection of Chesterton essays.
In THE COMPLETE THINKER, Ahlquist provides an ambitious look at Chesterton`s perspectives on life issues, which remain relevant today -- more than 75 years after his untimely death in 1936. Chapter titles include How to Think, The Seven Deadly Sins, War and Peace, Sickness and Death and The Exception Proves the Rule.
Consider this thought from Chesterton on evil: "Men do not differ so much about what things they will call evil; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable" (Illustrated London News, Oct. 23, 1909).
And this, on war: "A war is not one thing. It is two things which contradict each other.... It is not a corporate act of will, but a conflict of two wills. If one will is trying to do something wicked, the will resisting it is thereby inevitably doing something just" (Illustrated London News, Nov. 16, 1916).
And this, on abortion -- from 1922! "(Abortion is a) more than usually barbaric form of birth control. (It should) be called by its own name, which is murder at its worst; not only the brand of Cain but the brand of Herod" (Illustrated London News, June 3, 1922).
"There is a reason he writes with such strength and assurance," Ahlquist says of Chesterton. "As he points out, `faith` and `confidence` are derived from the same word: fides. Chesterton is a giant of the faith, and a model of confidence in the truth. He puts it all together."
Early reviews suggest Ahlquist has done much the same thing with THE COMPLETE THINKER.
"To write a book about Chesterton is a bold act since GKC`s books render most commentary superfluous," said Robert Royal of the Faith & Reason Institute. "But Dale Ahlquist has not only had the courage to make the attempt; he has the wit, the learning, and the grace to make his book worthwhile reading alongside the works of the master himself."
"Dale Ahlquist is well known for his championing of the thought and writings of the great English writer and apologist G.K. Chesterton," said Ian Ker, author of G.K. Chesterton: A Biography. In this book he has distilled years of reading and studying the writings of his hero. It will surely attract many new readers to Chesterton. Ahlquist himself has all the zeal of the convert and he will make many new converts with this trenchant study."
"Dale Ahlquist is a delightful student of Chesterton who has learned well from the Master," said well-known Catholic writer and blogger Mark P. Shea, author of The Heart of Catholic Prayer. "He combines Chesterton`s amazing gift for being funny and profound, showing how everything from pork to pyrotechnics bears witness to the Maker of All in the great symphony of creation and redemption. Pure reading pleasure!"
Ignatius Press has published a critically acclaimed biography of Chesterton by Joseph Pearce. Wisdom and Innocence -- A Life of G.K. Chesterton is available in paperback at www.ignatius.com/Products/WI-P/wisdom-and-innocence.aspx.
Ignatius Press also is the publisher of the major series of Chesterton writings, The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton. Get more information on the series at the Ignatius Press website: www.ignatius.com/Products/CategoryCenter.aspx?SearchTerm=G.+K.+Chesterton.