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Posted March 7, 2011
Well-written literary biography about a fascinating man
Defiant Joy by Kevin Belmonte is a literary biography of G.K. Chesterton examining his life and faith through his writings. Gilbert Keith Chesterton is an oft-quoted and still respected writer seventy-five years after his death. He was a prolific and eclectic writer ranging from essays to literary biographies to criticisms to novels, poetry, and a play. Best known for his paradoxical and eminently quotable writings, he has been a touchstone for Christians for a century. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were affected by his writings as were T.S. Eliot and good friend George Bernard Shaw. As a reader who is familiar only with Chesterton's name, this book made for an excellent introduction to the author and his works. Each chaper focuses on an individual work, and Belmonte quotes directly from the work, as well as reviews of it (contemporary and modern) while offering insight into what inspired the work and how it related to Chesterton's life at the time. It's not necessarily an easy read, but for readers who give it a try, it's well worth the effort. Belmonte gives a good look at Chesterton the man through his writing. Readers looking for a deeper biography may be disappointed, but it was perfect for me, a reader wanting to know more about Chesterton, as well as know which books of his I should seek out. Since finishing the book, I've purchased two of Chesterton's books with a list of three more I need to get, so I would say that Belmonte has fulfilled his purpose in Defiant Joy. Readers meet Chesterton, a man filled with a joyous faith and affected everyone he knew, and will be inspired to get to know him further through his writings.
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Posted February 5, 2011
A New-Old Hero! Must Buy
Defiant Joy is about the life and legacy of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an author few may have even heard of. In it, Kevin Belmonte seeks to do for G.K.C. just as the studied subject did for many others; introduce to the masses a figure that can be appreciated and studied for years to come for his wit, humor, artistry with words, and his stand for Christianity.This book appears to be aimed toward anyone that is willing to search out a new hero to look up to in a time when everything around us seems so dim. Kevin Belmonte admires Mr. Chesterton for varied reasons and presents to his readers the many facets of this supreme writer just enough to to entice us to reach out for more on our own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Mission accomplished! Belmonte does a great job of offering a case of interest for G. K. Chesterton and does in a way that seems true to the nature of who G.K.C. was in his own writing. As one of the many people that was unaware of this brilliant literary talent, I am exceedingly glad that I had the opportunity to read these pages. I want a complete collection of Chesterton's published works just based on one line from Defiant Joy. Belmonte states in the book that "One of Chesterton's best gifts was his ability to describe something highly familiar as though one were seeing it for the first time or, to put it another way-with new eyes." (page 226)
This book was very inspiring and so attractive that I did not want to put it down. I highly recommend it to anyone. You might need a thesaurus or dictionary on hand to educate yourself on some of the elegant English language throughout it, but then you will be inspired and more intelligent thanks to the author and his journey of showcasing Mr. Chesterton.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted January 31, 2011
Don't Give Up On This Book!
"Philosophy is either eternal or it is not philosophy. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon." - G.K. ChestertonWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most "normal" people have never heard of GK Chesterton. He had a profound influence on other influential writers like TS Elliot and CS Lewis. His writing is a powerful apologetic for Christian thinkers and writers.
Kevin Belmonte's book, Defiant Joy is my first real exposure to Chesterton. Many of the modern-day authors I respect (Ravi Zacharias and Philip Yancey) quote generously from Chesterton's work. So, I was intrigued to learn more about his life and work. Defiant Joy starts off slowly because it is loaded down with lots of obscure references and contemporaries of Chesterton's early life in England. Eventually, Belmonte is able to focus more on Chesterton's writing and impact. which makes the book far more interesting.
There isn't enough space to quote or comment the work of Chesterton here, but the following quotes are some of my favorite GK quotes (from Belmonte's book):
The true life of a servant flows from the discovery of an infinite debt. It is the highest and holiest of the paradoxes that man who really knows he cannot pay his debt will be forever paying it. He will be forever giving back what he cannot give back, and cannot be expected to give back. A man must have magnanimity of surrender, of which commonly only catches a glimpse in first love, like a glimpse of our lost Eden.
You say grace before meals
But I say grace before the play and the opera
And grace before the concert and pantomime.
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
If nothing else, Belmonte has encouraged me to read more Chesterton. I'm inspired to hear from Chesterton's himself. Can't wait to see what I've been missing out on all of these years.