Ralph C. Wood, Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God. Baylor University Press, 2011.
Ralph Wood wrote a popular book on Flannery O' Connor. He now has written a good book on G. K. Chesterton. He has tried to write a book that shows both the strengths and weaknesses of Chesterton. One can tell he has great respect for Chesterton. Wood asserts that the word, Nightmare, "recurs throughout the work of G. K. Chesterton." Chesterton is often considered an optimist. Wood"s wants to show "that Chesterton makes his deepest affirmations about God and man and the world in the face of nightmarish unbelief." Wood is successful in showing "The Nightmarish Goodness of God" according to Chesterton. One does wonder if the picture is too dark.
Chapter one discusses one of Chesterton's most popular work, Orthodoxy. It is one of my favorite books of Chesterton. Wood critiques in this chapter Chesterton battle with evolution. In chapter two and three, Chesteron's views on patriotism and militarism is discussed. Other chapters discusses Islam, the decline of the west, civilization, torture and another popular work of Chesterton, The Man Who was Thursday.
Chesterton is a good book that shows how Chesterton has something to say to the twenty-first century. Wood does a good job in showing both the strengths and weaknesses of Chesterton. The book emphasizes how Chesterton encountered nightmarish unbelief. One wonders if the joy of Chesterton is absent. The book ends with The Man who was Thursday which seems to leave the reader with a dark picture of life.