The martyrdom of man, (1872)(Books Google full view of text) by Winwood Reade (1833-1875, buried 51.567, -1.086) was an important book to the adolescent development of several of the most celebrated people of the early 20th century. Winston Churchill claimed it and so did Arthur Conan Doyle and Cecil Rhodes, therefore it seemed like an important book for me to read. It’s a longish book at 543 pages and sometimes wanderingly verbose commentary on civilization and the precise historical accuracy can occasionally be contested but it is obvious when reading it why those late Victorian men valued it so highly. It is an adventure story of history aimed at non-conformist young men who have a lust to change the history of the world themselves. It is an overview of advice to adventurers rather similar to Machiavelli‘s, History of Florence.
If your goal is to rule the world this is a good book to read but not so much for others because it might change you.