In this book, Chadwick combines different historical perspectives, namely social and intellectual history, to shed a light on the secularisation of society. This is a preliminary enquiry into the nature of secularisation and it's causes and is not meant to provide the final answer. Among other topics, Chadwick describes the rise of the labour movement, the origin of liberalism from religious toleration and the role of Darwin as a symbol for positivistic science.
Chadwick has a sharp english writing style, amusing the reader that is at home in the English language. However, for those that are not, the text can be relatively dense and hard to follow. Distinguishing between Chadwicks opinion and that of other people can sometimes be a real pain. With that said, one must not forget, that this an academic work. It is not a read in the bus or train- kind of book.
All in all an amazing historical work with profound impact for one who wants to understand the society we live in today.