At First Principles, Ralph C Wood reviews Julia Stapleton’s Christianity, Patriotism, and Nationhood: The England of G.K. Chesterton:
In her still unsurpassed biography of G. K. Chesterton from 1943, Maisie Ward declared that the three great loves of the great man’s life were “his wife, his country and his Faith” (245). The question raised by Julia Stapleton’s magisterial study of Chesterton’s politics concerns their proper arrangement: Which love rightly orders the relative importance of the other two? Stapleton’s study doesn’t offer a ready answer, obvious though it might seem. She insists, on the contrary, that Chesterton’s patriotism was stitched inextricably together with his Christianity so as to form a seamless fabric. “Indeed, it is the contention here that an ancestral disposition toward patriotism was instrumental in guiding [GKC] to the Christian fold, one that he then sought to justify and strengthen in Christian terms. Henceforth his patriotism, Englishness, and Christianity were mutually dependent and reinforcing” (8).