The Greatest Nation Series, published in the early years of the twentieth century contains ten volumes, and covers most of the major countries of world history. It takes a unusual approach, in that it follows the complete history of each nation, from its inception to modern times, so that, for example, its history of Greece begins in the centuries before the Persian War and continues beyond the Greek wars of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. In addition to a brief and accessible history of each nation, time lines, chronologies and pronouncing vocabularies are provided. The outstanding feature of this series however, is not its text but rather its "Magnificent Illustrations". Every other page is a full page etching or other illustration of a historical scene.
The text, by Edward Ellis and Charles Horne, is clear and succinct. All of the main historical incidents and interesting personalities are briefly covered. Because the whole text was written and edited by the same team, the tone of the whole series is uniform, and relatively brief and easily read. Even the fine prose, however, pales in comparison to the series spectacular illustrations. For this reason, several of the volume’s illustrations have been prepared in advance of the actual text.