This is the 3rd edition of Robertson's classic "History of Freethought," of which there were 4 editions. McCabe writes about Robertson the following:
"Mr. Robertson has been the most considerable force in English Rationalism since the death of Bradlaugh, to whom he was greatly attached. His works on comparative mythology, as bearing on the problem of Christ (whose historicity he denies —see his Christianity and Mythology, 1900, and Pagan Christs, 1903), are works of impressive learning; and his Short History of Christianity (1902) and Shorl History of Freethought (2 vols., 1915) are equally
valuable on the historical side. He drastically rejects religion in every shape, and has been for decades a powerful Rationalist and Ethical lecturer. He is at the same time a very able and critical economist, a weighty writer on certain fields of English literature, a good linguist, and an outstanding figure in the political world. No man has rendered higher service to British
Rationalism in the last four decades, and few, especially among self-educated men, have attained such reputable command of so many branches of culture." Quoted from McCabe's "Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists."
Quoted from the author's "Preface."
"THIS, the third edition, represents a considerable expansion of the second (1906), which in its turn was a considerable expansion of the first (1899). The book now somewhat approximates, in point of fullness, to the modest ideal aimed at. Anything much fuller would cease to be a "Short History."
"The process of revision, carried on since the last issue, has, I hope, meant some further advance towards correctness, and some improvement in arrangement — a particularly difficult
matter in such a book. As before, the many critical excursus have been so printed that they may be recognized and skipped by those readers who care to follow only the narrative. The
chapter on the nineteenth century, though much expanded, like those on the eighteenth, remains, I fear, open to objection on the score of scantiness. I can only plead that the ample
and excellent work of Mr. A. W. Benn [see above for Benn's work] has now substantially met the need for a fuller survey of that period."