This is the "definitive" 4th edition of Robertson's classic "History of Freethought." This 4th edition, revised and expanded, includes an eleven page account of the author's life and achievements by J. P. Gilmore, and "Appreciations" by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner, Ernest Newman, and John A. Hobson.
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 "definitive" edition of the History of Freethought, so far as the author is concerned, follows upon his complete re-writing, on a much larger scale, of the nineteenth-century section of the original work. In the present case, though there has been complete revision, and a good deal of expansion, no such complete re-writing has been attempted; the original scale, as reached in the third edition, having been in keeping with his gradually matured ideal, and his powers. Bulky as the record has become, it remains perforce a relatively short
record of a very large and long evolution, though the word "Short" disappears from the title."