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Prometheus Books

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Prometheus Books
Parent companyRowman & Littlefield
FounderPaul Kurtz
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationAmherst, New York
Key peopleJonathan Kurtz, President
Nonfiction topicsSkeptical literature, atheism
ImprintsHumanity Books (for academic works in the humanities)
Official websiteprometheusbooks.com

Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by the philosopher Paul Kurtz (who was also the founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, Center for Inquiry, and co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry).[1][2] The publisher's name was derived from Prometheus, the Titan from Greek mythology who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man. This act is often used as a metaphor for bringing knowledge or enlightenment.[3][4]

Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, focusing on topics such as science, freethought, secularism, humanism, and skepticism. It has published in the "atheism" category since its founding in 1969, and is considered the "grandfather" of atheist publishing in America.[5]

Their headquarters is located in Amherst, New York, and they publish worldwide. Jonathan Kurtz was an executive editor of Prometheus.[6] Rowman & Littlefield acquired Prometheus Books in 2019.[7]

The publisher has roughly 1,700 books currently in print,[8] and publishes approximately 95–100 books per year.[9] Since its founding, Prometheus Books has published more than 2,500 books.[10]


Prometheus Books obtained the bulk of the books and manuscripts of Humanities Press International in 1998.[11][12] It has been building and expanding this into a scholarly imprint named Humanity Books. This imprint publishes academic works across a wide spectrum of the humanities and is now distributed by the academic division of Rowman & Littlefield.[13]

In March 2005, Prometheus Books launched the science fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr.[14] In October 2012 it launched the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books.[15] In 2018, it sold both imprints.[16]


Prometheus has been involved in two "major libel lawsuits."[17] In 1992 Uri Geller sued Victor J. Stenger and Prometheus Books for libel over his book Physics and Psychics.[18] The suit was dismissed and Geller was required to pay more than $20,000 in costs to the defendant.[19] Geller also sued Prometheus for publishing The Truth About Uri Geller [20] by James Randi, a book that he said was defamatory.[21][22]

Notable authors published[edit]

Some notable authors and books published by Prometheus include:

Steve Allen

  • Meeting of Minds : The Complete Scripts, With Illustrations, of the Amazingly Successful PBS-TV Series [23]
  • Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion and Morality [24]
  • Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking With 101 Ways to Reason Better & Improve Your Mind [25]

Molefi Asante

Isaac Asimov

  • Election Day 2084: A Science Fiction Anthology on the Politics of the Future [26]
  • The Roving Mind [27]
  • The Tyrannosaurus Prescription: And 100 Other Essays [28]
  • Past, Present and Future[29]

Jeremy Bentham

Rob Boston

  • Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State [30]
  • Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do [31]

Ludwig Feuerbach

Antony Flew

R. Barri Flowers

Martin Gardner

  • The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher[33]

Guy P. Harrison

  • 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian[34]

William R. Harwood

  • Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus[35]

Sidney Hook

  • Sidney Hook on Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays [36]
  • Sidney Hook: Philosopher of Democracy and Humanism [37]

Julian Huxley

S. T. Joshi

Dr. Jack Kevorkian

  • Prescription: Medicide, the Goodness of Planned Death[38]

John Maynard Keynes

Philip J. Klass

Leon Lederman

John W. Loftus

  • The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True [39]

Joe Nickell

  • The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead[40]
  • The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible[41]

Friedrich Nietzsche

Mario Perniola

Robert M. Price

  • Deconstructing Jesus [42]
  • The Da Vinci Fraud: Why the Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction [43]
  • The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave [44]

James Randi

David Ricardo

Michael Ruse[45]

Nathan Salmon

George H. Smith

John Steinbeck IV

Victor Stenger

  • God and the Atom [47]

Tom Toles

Ibn Warraq

Robert Zubrin

Book series[edit]

  • Contemporary Issues in Philosophy Series
  • Great Books in Philosophy
  • Great Minds Series
  • Thomas Taylor Series

Partnerships and sale[edit]

In 2013 Prometheus Books partnered with Random House in an effort to increase sales and distribution.[51]

In 2019, it was acquired by Rowman & Littlefield,[52][7] and Random House ceased sales and distribution of its titles as of June 30, 2019.[8] Its building was sold in early 2019 for over $1 Million.[53]


  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (October 23, 2012). "Paul Kurtz, Humanist and Philosopher, Dead at 86". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Oppenheimer, Mark (October 1, 2010). "Rift at Humanist Center Reveals a Deeper Division". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Pyne, Stephen J. (June 5, 2016). "Fire in the mind: changing understandings of fire in Western civilization". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 371 (1696): 20150166. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0166. ISSN 0962-8436. PMC 4874404. PMID 27216523.
  4. ^ "Prometheus Books". www.prometheusbooks.com. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Winston, Kimberly (April 12, 2013). "Atheists, the Next Generation: Unbelief Moves Further into the Mainstream". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (May–June 2020). "Promethus Unbound: Publisher of Skeptic, Freethought Books Enters a New Phase". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 44, no. 3. Amherst, New York: Center for Inquiry. pp. 6–9.
  7. ^ a b Milliot, Jim (June 19, 2019). "Rowman & Littlefield Buys Prometheus Books". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Rowman & Littlefield Acquires Prometheus Books". Rowman & Littlefield. Archived from the original on January 18, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "Working at Prometheus Books". Glassdoor. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Prometheus Books: Accepting Submissions". Authors Publish. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Prometheus Books: Spreading Freethought Worldwide". International Humanist and Ethical Union. November 1, 2003. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2008.
  13. ^ Somers, Erin (June 19, 2019). "People, Etc". Publishers Lunch. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  14. ^ Milliot, Jim (November 12, 2018). "Prometheus Sells Fiction Imprints to Start Publishing". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Patrick, Diane (June 1, 2017). "BookExpo 2017: Seventh Street Books Marks Fifth Anniversary". www.publishersweekly.com. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  16. ^ locusmag (November 12, 2018). "Prometheus Sells Pyr Imprint". Locus Online. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  17. ^ Kreidler, Marc (February 4, 2019). "History of CSICOP | Skeptical Inquirer". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Stenger, Victor J., 1935-2014. (1990). Physics and psychics : the search for a world beyond the senses. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 087975575X. OCLC 22207643.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Geller, Uri. "Uri Geller Libel Suit Dismissed". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on December 5, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2006. Self proclaimed "psychic" Uri Geller had to dismiss a multi-million dollar libel suit and has to pay over $20,000 in sanctions in an action he brought against skeptical book publisher Prometheus Books of Amherst, New York.
  20. ^ Randi, James. (1982). The truth about Uri Geller (Rev. ed.). Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879751991. OCLC 9164994.
  21. ^ Kurtz, Paul (October 29, 2010). Exuberant Skepticism. Prometheus Books. p. 193. ISBN 9781615929702. prometheus books lawsuit uri geller.
  22. ^ "CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview by George P. Hansen". www.tricksterbook.com. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  23. ^ Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1989). Meeting of minds : the complete scripts, with illustrations, of the amazingly successful PBS-TV series. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879755504. OCLC 20802027.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1990). Steve Allen on the Bible, religion, & morality. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879756381. OCLC 21876648.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1998). Dumbth : the lost art of thinking : with 101 ways to reason better & improve your mind. Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573922374. OCLC 39556411.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Asimov, Isaac; Greenberg, Martin Harry. (1984). Election day 2084 : a science fiction anthology on the politics of the future. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879752580. OCLC 11351873.
  27. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1997). The roving mind (New ed.). Amherst, New York. ISBN 1573921815. OCLC 37695729.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  28. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1989). The Tyrannosaurus prescription and 100 other essays. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879755407. OCLC 19672853.
  29. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1987). Past, present, and future. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879753935. OCLC 15108192 – via Internet Archive.
  30. ^ Boston, Rob (2003). Why the religious right is wrong about separation of church & state (2nd ed.). Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591021146. OCLC 51460712.
  31. ^ Boston, Rob (2014). Taking liberties : why religious freedom doesn't give you the right to tell other people what to do. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616149116. OCLC 854613911.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  32. ^ Ian Walkley (July 31, 2012). "Masters of True Crime by R. Barri Flowers (Editor)". The Big Thrill.
  33. ^ Gardner, Martin (1988). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher. New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879756446 – via Internet Archive., at Internet Archive
  34. ^ Harrison, Guy P. (2013). 50 simple questions for every Christian. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147273. OCLC 818827981.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  35. ^ Harwood, William R. (1992). Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9780879757427. OCLC 25713535.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  36. ^ Talisse, Robert B.; Tempio, Robert (2002). Sidney Hook on pragmatism, democracy, and freedom : the essential essays. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591020220. OCLC 50559672 – via Internet Archive.
  37. ^ Kurtz, Paul (1983). Sidney Hook : philosopher of democracy and humanism. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879751916. OCLC 9576292.
  38. ^ Kevorkian, Jack (1991). Prescription: Medicide, the Goodness of Planned Death. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0-87975-872-1 – via Internet Archive.
  39. ^ Loftus, John W. (2013). The outsider test for faith : how to know which religion is true. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147372. OCLC 818827984.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  40. ^ Nickell, Joe. (2012). The science of ghosts : searching for spirits of the dead. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616145859. OCLC 764387236 – via Internet Archive.
  41. ^ Nickell, Joe. (2013). The science of miracles : investigating the incredible. Amherst, NY. ISBN 9781616147419. OCLC 818738031.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  42. ^ Price, Robert M., 1954- (2000). Deconstructing Jesus. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573927589. OCLC 42413414.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  43. ^ Price, Robert M., 1954- (2005). The Da Vinci fraud : why the truth is stranger than fiction. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591023483. OCLC 60419877 – via Internet Archive.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  44. ^ Price, Robert M.; Lowder, Jeffery Jay. (2005). The empty tomb : Jesus beyond the grave. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 159102286X. OCLC 57344117 – via Internet Archive.
  45. ^ "Taking Darwin Seriously".
  46. ^ Smith, George H., 1949- (2016). Atheism : the case against God. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781633881976. OCLC 930446791.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  47. ^ Stenger, Victor J., 1935-2014. (2013). God and the atom. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147532. OCLC 818827986.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ Ibn Warraq. (1995). Why I am not a Muslim. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879759844. OCLC 32088699.
  49. ^ Ibn Warraq. (2010). Virgins, what virgins? : and other essays. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616141707. OCLC 466343479.
  50. ^ Ibn Warraq. (2007). Defending the West : a critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781591024842. OCLC 137306010.
  51. ^ Mehta, Hemant (January 15, 2013). "Prometheus Books is Partnering Up with Random House Publisher Services". The Friendly Atheist. Pantheos Press. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  52. ^ "Amherst's Prometheus Books sold to Maryland-based publisher". The Buffalo News. June 26, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  53. ^ Watson, Stephen T. (March 11, 2019). "Amherst building that houses Prometheus Books sells for $1.1 million". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.

External links[edit]