It’s his merit that he has placed Darwin himself clearly in the foreground as originator of the debate on social evolution in the second half of the nineteenth century. Against this there is the drawback that Mr Hermans has not resisted the temptation to walk every side-road he encountered in his long trail of study. He needs quite a lot of space to both distinguish and connect all the diverse currents. (…) In spite of these critical remarks, in my final verdict appreciation for this clever piece of work of Mr Hermans takes precedence.
Mr Hermans sets out … to discover the essence of social Darwinism. This results in an a-historic approach …. [Still] the investigation of Mr Hermans certainly is worth reading. For those who will not worry too much about the formulation of the historical problem to solve, this book offers a fine survey, nicely written, of the many variants of social Darwinism. It’s a valiant undertaking to add a fresh contribution to the so-called ‘Darwin industry’, even venturing to come up with something novel to it.