The Martyrdom of Man was a history of the world from an entirely new viewpoint, and was a prominent freethinking text of the late Nineteenth century. It is not an exaggeration to say that it provided a view of History as revolutionary as Darwin's view of Science - an entirely new and non-religious way of looking at the subject. It was very popular and influential on publication in the 1870's and long after - Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and George Orwell were all heavily influenced.
Even Sherlock Holmes said "Let me recommend this book, -- one of the most remarkable ever penned. It is Winwood Reade's 'Martyrdom of Man.'"Though Watson was less impressed: "I sat in the window with the volume in my hand, but my thoughts were far from the daring speculations of the writer. My mind ran upon our late visitor,-- her smiles, the deep rich tones of her voice, the strange mystery which overhung her life."
If you, like Watson, have something as important to think about, go for it. otherwise, here it is -