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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton

Thomas Nelson Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton

Amid currents of anti-Christian modernity, Chesterton was a larger-than-life cultural giant---challenging the thought leaders of 20th-century Britain with civility, erudition, and wit. Offering a powerful overview of his life and literary accomplishments, Belmonte traces his vibrant witness through works from literary criticisms of Dickens and Chaucer to Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. 320 pages, softcover from Nelson.
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Customer Reviews for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Review 1 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic Introduction to G.K.C.

Date:March 3, 2013
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Cameron Brooks
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
If you want an introduction to the life and work of one of Christianity’s most endearing thought leaders, this is it. Kevin Belmonte provides a great overview to the classic and larger-than-life writer, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.
I was first introduced to G.K. Chesterton through Dr. Ravi Zacharias, who quotes Chesterton often in his talks and clearly thinks highly of him. Since I think highly of Dr. Zacharias, it seemed obvious I should learn more about Chesterton.
So I jumped at the chance to review Defiant Joy when BookSneeze offered it to reviewers. Well, the cover image had me second-guessing for a moment, but then I remembered I’d be learning more about the inside of Chesterton’s head than the outside of it.
I was hooked by the introduction and hung on for the rest of the book. Belmonte weaves examples of Chesterton’s work in and out of his biography, focusing on key moments in his life and how they relate to G.K.’s written works.
Belmonte sifts through an enormous amount of content, artfully selecting works and quotes to acquaint readers with Chesterton without overwhelming us.
I gained insight on the joys and challenges motivating Chesterton’s diverse interests, from theology and social commentary to mystery and poetry. I also found myself relating to some of his personal struggles, like his early search for God and his passion for dialogue. I couldn’t get enough of his story!
Chesterton was as prolific as writers come, so there was naturally lots of material to cover. My reading slowed a bit near the last few chapters of Defiant Joy so I could absorb it all. At the same time, I appreciated how the book gave me a glimpse of the incredible breadth of Chesterton’s work and the tirelessness with which he poured himself onto the page.
I found Belmonte’s intro to Chesterton witty, inspiring, and memorable. Highly recommended!
— Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookSneeze® as part of their Blogger Review 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 Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 2 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Good, but not what I hoped for.

Date:May 31, 2011
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Zayne
Location:Ocklawaha, FL
Age:Under 18
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
In his work Defiant Joy, Kevin Belmonte gives an exposition of the life of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Although the life of Chesterton is one that has always intrigued me, as he is truly a literary legend, this book did not really elucidate quite what I hoped it would. I have always loved his quotes and books and really wanted to dig deeper into the life of this larger-than-life writer. But I would say it fell short. It was basically a chronological offering of Chesterton’s life and books and how they were received by the public at that time.
Although few, there were nevertheless many interesting things I had learned from the text about Chesterton that I have never known. Belmonte basically takes you through what seems to be a very outside-looking-in feel of looking at Chesterton’s life. It seemed like more fitting for a history book than an engaging biography, which does not do a literary legend such as Chesterton justice.
If you want a deep look into the intricacies of G.K.’s life, this is not for you. But if you are looking for basic details and generalization of Chesterton’s life, then Mr. Belmonte’s book will be what you are looking for. Although it was not what I anticipated, I will by no means say that this was a bad book and will still recommend it to friends and family.
Disclosure of Material Connection: 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.”
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Review 3 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Well written literary biography of fascinating man

Date:March 7, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Oconto Falls, WI
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
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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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Review 4 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K

Date:February 19, 2011
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ML Michaels
Location:USA
Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K. Chesterton by Kevin Belmonte is a biographical view of Chesterton in the words of some of his best writing.
G.K. Chesterton was a literary giant in his day whose resume included works such as Heretics (1905), Orthodoxy (1908), and The Everlasting Man (1925). This biography gets to the heart of Chesterton as a writer, a critic, and a Christian. Belmonte writes, "His life and writings are an apologetic of enduring worth to Catholics and Protestants alike. God gave him the grace to make it all work- to commend our common faith in an age marked by deep skepticism and hostility to Christianity." 1
As a writer, I delight in reading about other Christian writers to learn how their life unwrapped to create the writer they became later in life.
Chesterton was a colleague of C.S Lewis and enjoyed a great debate about social issues. Like Lewis, Chesterton was a great defender and writing commentator of the faith. As I read through the book, I felt that Chesterton's writings could be relevant today; and they are.
This book is not terribly exciting; however, it provides a plethora of information about Chesterton's life and writings. This book would be excellent for writers and avid history buffs.
1-Belmonte, Kevin. (2010). Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K. Chesterton.
Nashville, TN. Thomas Nelson.
Thomas Nelson Publishers provided this book for free as a part of BookSneeze.com book review blogger program.
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Review 5 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 17, 2011
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reader77
I am so excited to learn about G.K. Chesterton that I am trying to get some of his books at the library. I already own a copy of "Heretics/Orthodoxy" and will read it as soon as I finish this book. Love it!
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Review 6 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A New - Old Hero!

Date:February 12, 2011
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sha4dice
Location:Searcy, AR
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
Read my full review at www.blog.shafordyce.com
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
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Review 7 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A great look at a great man

Date:February 8, 2011
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ferrero51
Location:Scottsbluff, NE
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I just finished reading Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton by Kevin Belmonte, a biography laying out the life of arguably one of the greatest apologists for the Christian faith. Ever. The author takes the reader from a thanatophobic childhood and a teenage dabbling in the occult through Chesterton’s life to his ultimate impact on some of the most well-known Christian authors of our time, including C.S. Lewis and Philip Yancey. To quote Yancey’s own words about Chesterton: “G.K. Chesterton propounded the Christian faith with great wit — and sheer intellectual force.” The impact that Chesterton has made on modern Christian ideology and philosophy is indisputable.
Anytime I read a biography of a great leader – Christian or secular – it inspires me. The story of Chesterton is one that inspires me to grow and mature in my faith and understanding, honestly, to the best of my ability. Philosophy, as our author points out, is not limited to one individual or worldview. It is eternal. Chesterton dug into the nitty-gritty of philosophy and shed a new light on it. While Belmonte does a fantastic job of outlining Chesterton’s life, there are some parts (as with any biography) that tend to become dry reading. But if you can work through that, there is an abundance of good material that will challenge and inspire you to grow in your faith, theology, philosophy, etc.
If you’ve read Chesterton’s works, then by all means I recommend this book to you. It gives great background on the man whose works made such an impact in this world, and to so many people. If you haven’t read Chesterton yet, this may be a good way to get you intrigued and see just what he has to say.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 8 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

suitable for high school literature class

Date:February 2, 2011
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bookwomanjoan
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I read Defiant Joy because I wanted to know who Chesterton was. Unfortunately, this book is almost entirely about Chesterton's works and little about the man who wrote them.
Little is known of his early life. He began his formal education when he was about nine. He was “adequate” in his studies. He was involved in a Junior Debating Club. The twelve gifted young men talked about everything and they were Chesterton's lifelong friends.
Having just turned twenty one (1895), he was invited to write for the magazine Academy. He then worked for publishers, reading unsolicited manuscripts. He began to do some prose writing in the evenings (he was already composing poetry). He published two books in 1900, a book of nonsense verse and another of “unremarkable” verse. Neither launched his literary career.
In the autumn of 1896 he was smitten by Frances Blogg, who would become his wife in 1901.
His book reviews were noted and he emerged as a talented critic. He delighted in playing with language and was an artist in words.
He began writing for the Daily News in 1901. That same year he was invited to write a critical biography of Robert Browning. It was well received although he was criticized for “almost studied indifference regarding the use of dates.” (50) He seemed to quote from memory and was frequently sloppy in that memory. But he had “keen analysis and brilliant prose.” Where he had been known only as a journalist before, now he was a writer, a “man of letters.”
Belmonte goes historically through all of Chesterton's literary creations. There are long quotes from Chesterton's own biography and long quote from those who wrote about him, including biographers and critics.
Of particular interest to me was his Orthodoxy, published when Chesterton was only thirty-four (1908). Chesterton said, “It is the purpose of the writer to attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian Faith can be believed, but of how he has personally come to believe it.'” (112) “As an account of one man's journey to faith, its power to move, challenge, and inspire remains undimmed.” (112)
The Man Who Was Thursday was published two years later. One reviewer called it “'a satirical skit'” about anarchists who set out to restore chaos and take up the bomb. (133) It contained “'wit and paradox'” and was either fantasy or a sermon. (134) (Belmonte spends 16 pages on this title.)
In The Everlasting Man (1925) Chesterton set out to give an intellectual case for Christianity. C. S. Lewis read this book and it became a catalyst for his conversion.
Chesterton's lat literary achievement was his Autobiography, published shortly after his death (1936).
Those wanting to know of Chesterton's personal life (as I did) will be disappointed. Those looking for an extensive commentary on the evaluations and impact of Chesterton's writing will find this to their liking. Belmonte did tons of research (603 footnotes, the list being 28 pages long). His quotes from other authors are frequent and long, often a page or more in length.
If you want to teach a high school literature course on Chesterton, this would make a good text book. If you want to know Chesterton, I'd look elsewhere. Of Chesterton, John Kennedy (a New York Times Correspondent) said, “The man was a paradox personified.” (271) It's too bad Belmonte didn't capture that person.
This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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Review 9 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Missed the Mark

Date:February 1, 2011
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John Chancey
Location:Linden, NC
Age:25-34
Gender:male
G. K. Chesterton is one of my favorite authors to read. His work never ceases to stimulate the mind. How many other writers can take mundane items, habits, or points of culture and transform the way you think about them? At times, after reading one of Chesterton's wonderfully famous "paradoxes", the book falls limp into my lap while I throw my head back and offer up a laugh that is a mixture of joy at getting the profound joke and of puzzlement about how I could have let something so simple escape my notice.
However, I was terribly disappointed by this biography. It is really a biography of the [selected] WORKS of G. K. Chesterton more than of the man himself. Very few details of his life emerge outside of his literary accomplishments and their critical reception - which is discussed at great length. There was not even a clear telling of the time of Chesterton's conversion or a lengthy discussion of his family.
The author takes great pains, however, to defend Chesterton's works and skill - I felt as though the book could have been written by someone who was Chesterton's father or mother. At times, praise for G.K.C.'s literary offerings bordered on "gushing", and became very tedious to wade through.
One other negative item was the issue of block quotes. There are HUNDREDS of them, nearly two on every page. They severely disrupt the flow of the book. I appreciate the author's research and effort, but the block quotes made reading his book a chore. (Just a pet peeve: most block quotes began with an interruption. Here's an example. The quoted passage begins in normal type: "The main thing," Chesterton once wrote, [then proceed after this with the block quote]. It seems trivial, but it drove me crazy!)
This is not the book to buy if you are looking for detailed information about the MAN. But if you are interested in the impact of his works during his lifetime, you will find it interesting.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers through Booksneeze. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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Review 10 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 16, 2011
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KeithGorman
Location:Henderson, TX
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Chesterton said, "What a man can believes depends largely on his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century". This is a great introductory quote to a great towering intellect. Chesterton could be describe as defiant in his reaction to the world. He sought not to live incognito or unaware but after reading this book, he seems to give the impression of living with eyes wide open and staring out at you through his works. Kevin Belamonte has written a highly readable and entertaining biography of a man that is known to have influenced CS Lewis, no small feat.
Chesterton was known through his words and works. A writer of fiction and non fiction, he had quite a sharp wit and sense of humor that played out through his characters and stories. This biography begins literally at the beginning of Chesterton's life and takes the reader through the highs and lows of a life filled with much thought and reflection. A perusal of the table of contents sufficiently licks the reader's hungry mind to want to read a bit more and stay up slightly later than he has already.
A word of caution to the reader though, this is just an introductory book not an exhaustive biography. It, at least to me, seems to be a casual coffee book house that can be read quickly and stick in your mind enough to make you want to read more and deeper.
Overall, a great introduction to the life of a very remarkable man.
Note: I received this book for review for free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review of it.
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Review 11 for Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Defiant Joy by Kevin Belmonte

Date:January 5, 2011
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mustlovetoread
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Defiant Joy
By: Kevin Belmonte
I received this book, Defiant Joy, from Booksneeze in exchange for writing a review of it. This book is about G K Chesterton, who lived from 1874-1936. He was an English writer, and one of his many accomplishments was to influence C S Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. C S Lewis is the author of the Narnia series. G K Chesterton authored biographies, apologetics, poetry, novels, and literary criticisms. The object of this book is to “introduce a life and legacy that should be better known.”
This book accomplishes its purpose. I was expecting a bit more on the biography side of G K Chesterton, but what I read was excerpts from his many different works. These were introduced in each section and talked about, and then you got a piece of the work in question. For instance, the chapter on his critical studies talks about Mr. Chesterton’s Charles Dickens’s: A Critical Study. First you learn that this book is “marked by great intuitive insights into Dickens’s works.” Chesterton can be both entertaining and instructive. Then, Kevin Belmonte tells you about the review by the New York Times. The reviewer wasn’t too positive with the review, but then another reviewer, Hamilton Carr, came back with a more positive and insightful review of the work. This is how the book is set up. If you are looking for a biography on G K Chesterton, I would not recommend this book. However, if you would like to read about his many different works, and they were received, this is the book for you! I did enjoy this book, and will keep it as part of my library for future reference.
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