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The Martyrdom of Man [Illustrated] (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Winwood Reade

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Illustrated with 10 unique illustrations.

In 1862-3 I made a tour in Western Africa, and afterwards desired to revisit that strange country with the view of opening up new ground and of studying religion and morality among the natives. I was, however, unable to bear a second time the great expenses of African travel, and had almost given up the hope of becoming an explorer when I was introduced by Mr. Bates, the well known Amazon traveller and Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, to one of its Associates, Mr. Andrew Swanzy, who had long desired to do something in the cause of African discovery. He placed unlimited means at my disposal, and left me free to choose my own route. I travelled in Africa for two years (1868-70) and made a journey which is mentioned in the test. The narrative of my travels will be published in due course; I allude to them now in order to show that I have had some personal experience of savages. I wish also to take the first opportunity of thanking Mr. Swanzy for his assistance, which was given not only in the most generous but also in the most graceful manner.

With respect to the present work, I began it intending to prove that 'Negroland' or Inner Africa is not cut off from the main-stream of events, as writers of philosophical history have always maintained, but connected by means of Islam with the lands of the East; and also that it has, by means of the slave-trade, powerfully influenced the moral history of Europe and the political history of the United States. But I was gradually led from writing the history of Africa into writing the history of the world. I could not describe the Negroland of ancient times without describing Egypt and Carthage. From Egypt I was drawn to Asia and to Greece; from Carthage I was drawn to Rome. That is the first chapter. Next, having to relate the progress of the Mohammedans in Central Africa, it was necessary for me to explain the nature and origin of Islam, but that religion cannot be understood without a previous study of Christianity and of Judaism, and those religions cannot be understood without a study of religion among savages. That is the second chapter. Thirdly, I sketched the history of the slave-trade, which took me back to the discoveries of the Portuguese, the glories of Venetian commerce, the revival of the arts, the Dark Ages, and the invasion of the Germans. Thus finding that my outline of universal history was almost complete, I determined in the last chapter to give a brief summary of the whole, filling up the parts omitted, and adding to it the materials of another work suggested several years ago by The Origin of Species.

One of my reasons for revisiting Africa was to collect materials for this work, which I had intended to call The Origin of Mind. However, Mr. Darwin’s Descent of Man has left little for me to say respecting the birth and infancy of the faculties and affections. I therefore merely follow in his footsteps, not from blind veneration for a great master, but because I find that his conclusions are confirmed by the phenomena of savage life. On certain minor points I venture to dissent from Mr. Darwin’s views, as I shall show in my personal narrative, and there is probably much in this work of which Mr. Darwin will disapprove. He must therefore not be made responsible for all the opinions of his disciple.


A book of the author's thoughts on the history of the world, with inclusion of some remarkable predictions for the future. Includes chapters on war - Western Asia, the Persians, Carthage and Rome, the Arabs, etc; religion - Arabian, Mecca, Israelites, the Jews, etc; liberty - Ancient Europe, the German Invasion, the Portuguese Discoveries, Abolition, etc.; and intellect. This classic work first published in 1872. Reade was an explorer and a disciple of Darwin who acknowledged that Descent of Man had left him little to say 'respecting the birth and infancy of the faculties and affections'. His The Martyrdom of Man, an essay in 'Universal History', dealing with war, religion, liberty, and intellect, was informed not only by Darwin, but the many other authors listed in the introduction . Reade declared his own atheism in defiance of 'the advice and wishes of several literary friends and his publisher.' The book takes us from Africa and throughout the world. Winwood Reade (1838-1875) was an atheist, traveler, and controversialist who traveled extensively through Africa, covered the Ashanti War, wrote against Roman Catholicism and other established forms of religion.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1514 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 574 Seiten
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B001O5BIRE
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #494.607 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.3 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Still A Worthwhile Read 23. Dezember 2009
Von London Fog - Veröffentlicht auf
That this book reamins relevant so many years after it's publication does say much about the validity of the content. It is a thought proviking read even when so many other, more modern authors have argued similar subjects, and regardless of religious belief (or lack therof), I think, there is still much that can be taken from this. Again, a fascinating read that I did not expect from the original publication date and has rivaled or rises to the level of much of the modern humanist literature. If you have any interest in humanism/atheism, this is a surprisingly easy read, and one of my favorites on the subject.
14 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Remarkable Journey 26. November 2008
Von ScipioColumbus - Veröffentlicht auf
Although one may not agree with the author's religious beliefs, or lack thereof, his keen insights into human nature and man's journey through time are quite remarkable. This book is difficult to put down once started, and likely to be read many times once read for the first time. I happened onto it by reading that it was one of Winston Churchill's favorite books. It is now one of mine.
24 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Basis and Structure of Civilization 29. August 2000
Von n.r.lenehan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The above would be an appropriate title for this concise and unpretentious account of human development.
My first reading of the book was many years ago and was invaluable in formulating an understanding of how civilization began and particularly in withstanding the nonsense produced by the present day "anthropologists" who make the definition of civilization a shifting target.
If this book were to be the basis of a definition of civilization it would begin a useful science of anthropology and a reaming out of the nonsense that has inundated this area of endeavour.
The style in which the book is written makes surprisingly absorbing and light reading considering the scope and weight of the topic .
The sombre title is witness only to an unassuming presentation of an Author sympathetic to his subject.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting that both Winston Churchill and Arthur Conan Doyle considered this their favorite book. An extraordinary read 28. Februar 2015
Von Maestro Snaporaz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The author makes a strong historical case for the necessity of a dramatic shift away from Christianity in order for humanity to grow properly. In light of recent events I'm confident the author would have included Islam in his warning since the same type of rabid dogmatism is shared by both so called religions. It is difficult to find fault with the well reasoned and thoroughly researched writing and equally difficult to believe anything could come of all his work. Ignorance operating under the guise of faith and the will to power hidden beneath the promise of heaven and the dread of hell are as prevalent in our day as in his. Interesting that both Winston Churchill and Arthur Conan Doyle considered this their favorite book. An extraordinary read.
8 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Only If you like Victorian poetry, ethnocentrism, and flawed logic. 2. November 2013
Von MaryB - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
There is a lot of material in this book. Reade seems to be trying to write down everything he knows and all of his beliefs in this one volume. He sweeps through the history of the world, not just the West but Africa, the Middle East and Asia. As a history, it's a beautifully written, poetic view of the past. But his opinions are not so lovely.

Keep in mind that this book was written in 1872, so when he says that Europe should conquer Asian and African people because it will improve them, we can all be glad that the sun finally set on the British Empire.

Likewise, his predictions about the future progress of civilization turn out to have been tragically mistaken. He imagines a virtuous wonderful future world based on truth and service to mankind. Since this book was written, we had WW 1, WW2, the Holocost, the A bomb, etc. I heard that Winston Churchill liked this book. If so, he must have read it before 1946.

In many places Reade's logic is badly flawed. He describes world wide human error from prehistory to 1872 but then concludes that the problem is Christianity, essentially because he thinks it corrupts Europeans. When he says Christianity should be destroyed, his reasons sound like something right out of the Book of Isaiah, or something Jesus may have said to the scribes and pharisees. Like most atheists, he has selected the most simplistic form of Christianity to criticize but in a novel twist on atheism, he thinks that in Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, religions are more acceptable because of the mental state of their adherents. He's a good poet but his tirade against Christianity should have been directed towards human nature - especially his own.
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