I started reading this book on my Kindle having no idea that it was well over 100 years since it was first published. The author, Grant Allen, lived from 1848-1899, and the book was published in 1881. Nevertheless the logic with which Allen put it together seems as fresh and enlightened as any contemporary work, eschewing the dubious records of the long-ago and often not contemporary chroniclers in favor of arcaeological discoveries, comparative linguistics, physical and cultural anthropology and cross checking of different sources for the historical record. Of course there will be later explorations in all those disciplines but Allen's work provides at the very least a starting place. Any reader of this sort of historical analysis, past or present, is wise to listen for the author's agenda, yet while knowing the religious society the work was written for I found it difficult to find much more than word choice revealing bias. Add to this that Allen provides a look at many developments in the mid 1800s when he makes comparisons to the missionaries in Hawaii, the market center of Kandahar, the agrarian communities or rather lack of them in Kirdish areas of the Near East. This book not only gave me a grounding in Anglo Saxon history but also a new respect for the social sciences of the 19th century.