The Song of Roland

#72- G. K. Chesterton’s What I Saw In America


This week, Scott and Karl read and heartily discuss G.K. Chesterson’s What I Saw In America.

Chesterson was a prolific English journalist and author who traveled to America on a lecture tour of the US in 1921.  What I Saw In America begins as a travelogue of his journey but eventually becomes an extended reflection on what makes a nation a nation.

Chesterton is often referred to as the “prince of paradox” and his opening line doesn’t disappoint.  He writes, “I have never managed to lose my old conviction that travel narrows the mind.”

Throughout his travels, the main question on Chesterson’s mind— what does it mean to be an American?

As Scott points out, “He’s a perpetual outsider who sees everything clean.”

Tune in for a fascinating discussion on the American ideal, the drawbacks of progress, and what Chesterson deems to be the greatest guarantor of political and economic liberty.

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  1. Michelle Beltrano

    Loved the discussion as always!! GK Chesterton is one of my favorites! I’ve read some of his non-fiction and enjoyed it very much, but my favorite of his is probably his fiction “The Man Who Was Thursday.” Read it when I was young and totally creeped me out!! Fun stuff!
    Thanks for the interesting conversations!! Hope you both are doing well!

    1. Scott Hambrick

      All’s well with Karl and me! Thanks for listening. Meanwhile, I’ll add this “The Man Who Was Thursday” to the infinity stack.


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