This series of books (originally published between 1910-1915 in twelve shorter volumes; now most often published in fewer volumes, such as this 4-volume set) is reportedly the source for the term, "fundamentalist." (Liberal preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick preached a famous sermon in 1922 entitled, "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?") The series was privately financed, and edited by R.A. Torrey, A. C. Dixon "and others."
This is a set of 90 essays intended to defend traditional Christian beliefs against what were considered to be "heretical" and/or "liberal" ideas on subjects such as the Inspiration of the Bible; the Virgin Birth; the Deity of Christ; the Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit; the Atonement, etc. 300,000 copies were sent out free to "ministers of the gospel, missionaries, Sunday School superintendents, and others engaged in aggressive Christian work throughout the English speaking world."
This much is well-known, and has been repeated often. However, it is very interesting to simply read the works and evaluate them on their own merits. The series takes a strong stand on its "fundamental" issues, of course (e.g., biblical critics are "men with a strong bias against the supernatural"; David F. Strauss' "Life of Jesus" was "weak and bungling," etc.), but it is interesting to see the broad scope of the series. In addition to the "fundamental" doctrines, criticism of "higher" biblical criticism and evolution, etc., articles are included on such subjects as "Modern Philosophy," "The Church and Socialism," "The Sunday School's True Evangelism," "The Place of Prayer in Evangelism," and Foreign Missions, as well as criticisms of Catholicism ("Romanism"), Charles Taze Russell's pre-JW "Millennial Dawn" group, the Mormons, Christian Science, and Spiritualism.
Some of the opinions expressed may surprise a modern evangelical; for example, James Orr said in his article Science and Christian Faith' that "it is made certain that the world is immensely older than the 6,000 years which the older chronology gave it." He added that "There is no violence done to the narrative in substituting in thought 'aeonic' days -- vast cosmic periods -- for 'days' on our narrower, sun-measured scale." In Arno Gaebelein's article on "Fulfilled Prophecy," he also seemingly predicted the return of the Jewish people to their national homeland.
As a collection, the series will strike most modern readers as somewhat repetitive (unavoidable when integrating the efforts of dozens of different authors) and prolix, and many of the articles on then-current events seem quite "dated" now. Nevertheless, in the best articles the arguments are still sharp and well-expressed (e.g., "the object is not the inspiration of the men but the books---not the writers but the writings"; "where is there ... a founder of religion, such as Confucius, or Mohammed, who could ... have predicted the future of even his own people?"), and of value to modern Christians (if only to see that modern apologists aren't quite as ORIGINAL as we might have thought).