|Parent company||Perseus Books Group|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York, New York|
Basic Books is a book publisher founded in 1952 and located in New York. It publishes books in the fields of psychology, philosophy, economics, science, politics, sociology, current affairs, and history. Basic Books also publishes new works in African and African-American studies under the imprint Basic Civitas.
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. By the time Harper & Row purchased the company in 1969, Basic was renowned for producing intellectual books that appealed to both the academic and trade markets.
In 1997, HarperCollins announced that it would merge Basic Books into its trade publishing program, effectively closing the imprint. That same year, Basic was purchased by the newly created Perseus Books Group, of which it is still a member.
Basic's list of authors includes Christopher Andrew, Anthony Appiah, Isaac Asimov, Robert Axelrod, Susan R. Barry, Daniel Bell, John Bradshaw, Allan Brandt, Richard Brookhiser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, William F. Buckley, Stephen Carter, Iris Chang, George Chauncey, Stephanie Coontz, Dinesh D’Souza, Devra Davis, Richard Dawkins, Hernando de Soto, Jared Diamond, Michael Eric Dyson, Thomas B. Edsall, Richard Evans, Graham Farmelo, Niall Ferguson, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Robin Lane Fox, Sigmund Freud, Howard Gardner, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Clifford Geertz, George Gilder, Barry Glassner, Robert Harms, Judith L. Herman, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Hofstadter, Samuel P. Huntington, Jacqueline Jones, June Jordan, Leszek Kołakowski, Lawrence Krauss, Irving Kristol, George Lakoff, Edward Larson, Christopher Lasch, Mary Lefkowitz, Lawrence Lessig, Claude Levi-Strauss, Bernard Lewis, Robert Jay Lifton, Jeff Madrick, Nelson Mandela, Benoit Mandelbrot, Ernst Mayr, Walter A. McDougall, John McWhorter, Dana Milbank, Alice Miller, Walter Mosley, Charles Murray, Richard John Neuhaus, Donald Norman, Robert Nozick, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., James T. Patterson, Orlando Patterson, Jean Piaget, Steven Pinker, Karl Popper, Samantha Power, Diane Ravitch, Eugene Rogan, Juliet Schor, Brent Scowcroft, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Lee Smolin, Timothy Snyder, Thomas Sowell, Ian Stewart, Cass Sunstein, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Lester Thurow, Sherry Turkle, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Michael Walzer, Elizabeth Warren, George Weigel, Steven Weinberg, Cornel West, Frank Wilczek, A.N. Wilson, James Q. Wilson, Irvin Yalom, Shing-Tung Yau, and Fareed Zakaria.
- Basic Books: A History, 1950-2000 (New York: Basic Books, 2000)
- Doreen Carvajal (August 22, 1997). "HarperCollins Selling Basic Books Unit to Venture Capital Firm". New York Times.
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