We hear of those such as Thomas Carlyle, who struggled to find some sort of faith but couldn't bring himself to believe in the religion of those around him. This religion was facing challenges from many different directions, but the response of many was to insist on sticking to the old style of belief. Others admitted that intellectually there were problems, but thought that 'going through the motions' of religion was a good thing. Even those who believed but tried to make sense of the problems of the Bible as a historical account, such as Bishop Colenso, faced expulsion from the Church. It is no wonder that many began to turn away from religion. To those in the literary world, such as George Eliot, it became natural to doubt the traditional beliefs. And in the world of science the work of Lyell, Darwin and others was constantly contradicting the claims of religious authorities.
Wilson demonstrates his wide knowledge of the era, but this is not a book for those wanting a carefully argued discussion of what happened to religion. Rather Wilson takes the reader back into the midst of the arguments which were going on at the time. If you want to get a feel for why the move away from religion happened as it did then you should take a look at this book.