G.K. Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse

This 100th anniversary edition of Chesterton’s poetic version of King Alfred’s heroic defense of Christian England from the pagan Danes is an exquisite publication. It embellishes the famous narrative and provides it with the historical background of the event, explains the poetic elements of the ballad structure of the story, and offers maps and illustrations that bring history to life. The footnotes on each page explain every quaint or archaic word like “shaws” (thicket) and “hod” (container for carrying stones), explicate the allusions to philosophical references like “nihilism” and “existentialism,” and incorporate valuable pieces of historical detail (“The laws of Alfred were famous for their equable treatment of all of Alfred’s subjects”). In short, this edition makes Chesterton’s classic as lucid, graphic, concrete, and appealing as possible for readers…