From the reviews of the second edition:
"The second edition of this well respected set is in the process of being published. This review is based on volume 1 … and there are 5 volumes expected for completion. Volume 1 contains a wealth of information, particularly in background material. … Bergey’s Manuals are well-known, authoritative works in the field of bacteriology. This new edition is no exception, and should be included in all academic libraries and collections supporting research in this field." (Teresa Bowden, E-Streams, Vol. 5 (10), October, 2002)
"At first glance, the first and second editions of the determinative Manual look reassuringly similar. … More careful examination reveals a massive transformation; systematic bacteriology has changed for ever. … Happily the changes are reflected in the growth of the introductory chapter … . The reading of these generally well-written introductory chapters is essential for the proper understanding and use of the new edition. … the manual has developed greatly, its standard of excellence remains unchallenged." (Max Sussmann, Microbiologist, Vol. 4 (1), 2003)
"The second edition of Bergey’s Manual is finally arriving on our bookshelves and promises to be well worth the wait. … The Second Edition continues the high reputation of earlier volumes in the delivery of the descriptions of taxa. … One of the delights of the book is the extensive range of beautiful photomicrographs of obscure and bizarre microbial cells. This book is an essential purchase for the library and, given the reasonable price, well worth considering by the individual microbiologist … ." (Fergus Priest, Microbiology Today, Vol. 29, 2002)
This volume includes numerous introductory chapters on the basic concepts and practice of prokaryotic taxonomy in addition to detailed descriptions of the Archaea, phototrophic bacteria and some very deep bacterial phyla. Introductory chapters include the topics of classification of prokaryotes, the concept of bacterial speciation, numerical and polyphasic taxonomy, bacterial nomenclature and the etymology of prokaryotic names, nucleic acid probes and their application in environmental microbiology, culture collections, and the intellectual property of prokaryotes."The first Road Map" to the prokaryotes is included as well as an overview of the phylogenetic backbone and taxonomic framework for prokaryotic systematics. This volume also provides descriptions of 413 species in 165 genera that are assigned to the phyla Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, Aquificae, Thermatogae, Thermodesulfobacteria, Deinococcus-Thermus, Chrysiogenetes, Chloroflexi, Thermomicrobia, Nitrospira, Deferribacteres, Cyanobacteria, and Chlorobi.
In addition, the volume contains an introductory chapter to nonoxygenic, phototropic species of bacteria belonging to the Proteobacteria and Firmicutes, which will be repeated in more detail in subsequent volumes.