Basic Books

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Basic Books
Basic Books
Parent companyHachette Books
FounderArthur Rosenthal[1]
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York, New York

Basic Books is a book publisher founded in 1950 and located in New York, now an imprint of Hachette Book Group. It publishes books in the fields of psychology, philosophy, economics, science, politics, sociology, current affairs, and history.

Since its founding in 1950, Basic Books has shaped public debate by publishing award-winning books in history, science, sociology, psychology, politics, and current affairs. Basic's list of influential authors includes Stephon Alexander, Robert Alter, Isaac Asimov, Edward Baptist, H.W. Brands, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Iris Chang, Eugenia Cheng, George Chauncey, William Easterly, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Martin Ford, Robert Gallo, Howard Gardner, Adrian Goldsworthy, Adam Gopnik, Victor Davis Hanson, Jonathan Haidt, Judith Herman, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Hofstadter, Leszek Kolakowski, Kevin Kruse, Lawrence Lessig, Claude Levi-Strauss, Alice Miller, Don Norman, Robert Nozick, Judea Pearl, Samantha Power, Diane Ravitch, Eugene Rogan, Thomas Sowell, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Eric Topol, Sherry Turkle, Timothy Snyder, Nicholas Stargardt, Michael Walzer, George Weigel, Bee Wilson, James Q. Wilson, Richard Wrangham, and Irvin Yalom.[2]


Basic Books originated as a small, Greenwich Village–based book club marketed to psychoanalysts. Arthur Rosenthal took over the book club in 1950, and under his ownership it soon began producing original books, mostly in the behavioral sciences. Early successes included Ernest Jones’ The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, as well as works by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson. Irving Kristol joined Basic Books in 1960, and helped Basic to expand into the social sciences. Harper & Row purchased the company in 1969, by which time Basic was already renowned for producing intellectual books which appealed to both academic and trade markets.[3]

In 1997, HarperCollins announced that it would merge Basic Books into its trade publishing program, effectively closing the imprint and ending its publishing of serious academic books. That same year, Basic was purchased by the newly created Perseus Books Group.[4] Perseus' publishing business was acquired by Hachette Book Group in 2016.[5] In 2018, Seal Press became an imprint of Basic.[6]


Basic's list of authors includes:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vitello, Paul (2013-07-08). "Arthur Rosenthal, Academic Book Publisher, Dies at 93". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  2. ^ "Basic Books". Basic Books. 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  3. ^ Basic Books: A History, 1950-2000 (New York: Basic Books, 2000).
  4. ^ Doreen Carvajal (August 22, 1997). "HarperCollins Selling Basic Books Unit to Venture Capital Firm". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi, "Perseus sale to Hachette Book Group completed", The Bookseller, 1 April 2016
  6. ^ "Hachette Book Group Reorganizes Lines, Announces About 25 Layoffs As DiPreta Departs". Publishers Lunch. 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2018-12-30.

External links[edit]