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Martyrdom of Man

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By: (1838-1875)

William Winwood Reade (1838 - 1875) was a British historian, explorer, and philosopher.

His most famous work, the Martyrdom of Man (1872)—whose summary running head reads "From Nebula to Nation"—is a secular, "universal" history of the Western world. Structurally, it is divided into four "chapters" of approximately 150 pages each: the first chapter, "War", discusses the imprisonment of men's bodies, the second, "Religion", that of their minds, the third, "Liberty", is the closest thing to a conventional European political and intellectual history, and the fourth, "Intellect", which discusses the cosmogony characteristic of a "universal history"

Cecil Rhodes, an English-born South African politician and businessman, said that the book "made me what I am". Other admirers of The Martyrdom of Man included H. G. Wells, Winston Churchill, Harry Johnston, George Orwell, Susan Isaacs, A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, and Michael Foot. A laudatory reference is made to the book by Sherlock Holmes in the Sign of the Four.


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