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Joy de Menil
Director of Belknap Publishing
“I am eager to publish scholars at the top of their fields who want to communicate their knowledge to a broad readership, and young and original thinkers with a strong voice on the page. I look for books with ideas that matter. I am particularly interested in history, psychology, and books having to do with environmental issues. I work closely with my authors to structure and shape the final manuscript and guide them through every aspect of publication, with an eye towards securing maximal coverage.
I have recently published two important histories of race in America, Traveling Black by Mia Bay and Justice Rising by Patricia Sullivan, and will soon be releasing a magisterial reconsideration of the chequered record of American psychiatry by Andrew Scull. Last year I published an alarmingly timely book on the cutting-edge science of Healthy Buildings by Joseph Allen from the Harvard School of Public Health and John Macomber from Harvard Business School. Joe became a leading voice in the public dissemination of authoritative science throughout the coronavirus pandemic. I also published a computer scientist’s bracing rebuttal to the overblown claims of AI enthusiasts, a timely study of bystander inaction and what it takes to be a “moral rebel” by social psychologist Catherine Sanderson, a narrative history of a landmark environmental case by Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus, a beautifully crafted story of fascism’s conflation of the personal and political by Columbia historian Victoria de Grazia, and a groundbreaking reconsideration of Renaissance political thought by Harvard intellectual historian James Hankins. Many of my books have won prizes and been chosen as book of the year: Island on Fire won the National Book Critics Circle award, The Perfect Fascist and Virtue Politics won the Marraro Prize, and Julian Jackson’s De Gaulle won the Duff Cooper prize.
I spent twenty-five years as a trade publisher before joining Harvard University Press, working at Random House and Viking, where I published Andrew Roberts’s Churchill and Napoleon; Dan Jones’s The Plantagenets, The Wars of the Roses, Magna Carta, and The Templars; Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity; Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects; Sonia Purnell’s Clementine; William Stixrud and Ned Johnson’s The Self-Driven Child; Megan McArdle’s The Up Side of Down; Alec Ryrie’s Protestants; Mike Lofgren’s The Party Is Over and The Deep State; Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919; Ann Wroe’s Pontius Pilate; Bernard Lewis’s The Crisis of Islam; Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues; and Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, among others.”