(Note: Find the post on the first volume here.)
Bente hits the ground running in the second volume of American Lutheranism with a gripping and incisive evaluation of the 1917 merger of the General Synod, General Council, and the United Synod South to form the United Lutheran Church. With the merger as the setting and fate, he gives the history of each of these three predecessor synods.
The first 11 pages are an outstanding, yet brief, overview for understanding the history of East Coast Lutheranism and what happened to the heirs of Charles Porterfield Krauth and the brief shining light of the General Council. I would suggest reading those pages, and hopefully they will inspire you to dig deeper into the history of East Coast Lutheranism. It is especially important for us to learn from these lessons as the American Lutheranism of today also flirts and fraternizes with "the sects" (as Bente likes to call the American Protestant churches). Great also is the perennial temptation to believe that if we compromise our standards by unionism and flattery (Come on, just a little bit!) so as to get closer to erring bodies--then we might change them by our influence. Of course this only betrays our lack of faith in the Word of God and reveals a false humility and Pharisaic repentance.
It is unfortunate that the intended volumes three and four were never completed and published. Bente was an outstanding historical theologian and champion of confessional Lutheranism.
It is definitely worth the time (250 pages) as a review for some and an introduction for others.