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Joy de Menil

Director of Belknap Publishing

Photo of 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.”

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Cover: A Theory of Justice: Original Edition, by John Rawls, from Harvard University Press

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