Beacon Press

Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association.[3]

Beacon Press
Beacon Press logo
Parent companyUnitarian Universalist Association
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationBoston
DistributionPenguin Random House Publisher Services (US)
Publishers Group UK (UK)[1]
New South Books (Australia)[2]
Key peopleHelene Atwan, director


Under director Gobin Stair (1962–75), new authors included James Baldwin, Kenneth Clark, André Gorz, Herbert Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, Howard Zinn, Ben Bagdikian, Mary Daly, and Jean Baker Miller. Wendy Strothman became Beacon's director in 1983; she set up the organization's first advisory board, a group of scholars and publishing professionals who advised on book choices and direction. She turned a budget deficit into a surplus. In 1995, her last year at Beacon, Strothman summarized the Press's mission: "We at Beacon publish the books we choose because they share a moral vision and a sense that greater understanding can influence the course of events. They are books we believe in."[4] Strothman was replaced by Helene Atwan in 1995.

In 1971, it published the "Senator Gravel edition" of The Pentagon Papers for the first time in book form, when no other publisher was willing to risk publishing such controversial material. Robert West, then-president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, approved the decision to publish The Pentagon Papers, which West claims resulted in two-and-a-half years of harassment and intimidation by the Nixon administration.[5] In Gravel v. United States, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution's "Speech or Debate Clause" protected Gravel and some acts of his aide, but not Beacon Press.

Beacon Press seeks to publish works that "affirm and promote" several principles:

the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in society; the goal of the world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence; and the importance of literature and the arts in democratic life.

Beacon Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses.[6]

Books and authors

BeaconPress MtVernonSt Boston 2010
Beacon Press building, Beacon Hill, Boston, 2010

Beacon Press publishes non-fiction, fiction, and poetry titles. Some of Beacon's best-known titles are listed below.

Title Author(s)
Notes of a Native Son[7] James Baldwin
Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun[8] Geoffrey Canada
Gyn/Ecology[9] Mary Daly
The Transsexual Empire[10] Janice Raymond
The Power of Their Ideas[11] Deborah Meier
Man's Search for Meaning[12] Viktor Frankl
Without a Map[13] Meredith Hall
Resurrecting Empire[14] Rashid Khalidi
American Freedom and Catholic Power[15] Paul Blanshard
All Souls: A Family Story from Southie[16] Michael Patrick MacDonald
One-Dimensional Man[17] Herbert Marcuse
Thirst[18] Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems: Volume One[19] Mary Oliver
Race Matters[20] Cornel West
The Court and the Cross[21] Frederick Lane
Toward a New Psychology of Women[22] Jean Baker Miller

The King Legacy Series

In 2009, Beacon Press announced a new partnership with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. for a new publishing program, "The King Legacy."[23] As part of the program, Beacon is printing new editions of previously published King titles and compiling Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including new introductions by leading scholars.

Beacon Broadside

Beacon Press launched its blog, Beacon Broadside, in late September 2007.[24]


In 1992, Beacon won a New England Book Award for publishing.[25] In 1993, Beacon was voted "Trade Publisher of the Year" by the Literary Market Place.[26]

See also

  • Skinner House Books, another book publisher of the UUA, specializing in books for Unitarian Universalists


  1. ^ Publishers Group UK – Publishers
  2. ^ About NewSouth Books
  3. ^ "Beacon Press Celebrates 150 Years of Publishing". UU World: The Magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. September–October 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
  4. ^ Wilson, (2004), p. 209.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2010-12-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Association of American University Presses Membership Directory". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
  7. ^ Baldwin, James (July 9, 1984). Notes of a Native Son. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6431-3.
  8. ^ Canada, Geoffrey (January 31, 1995). Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0423-4.
  9. ^ Daly, Mary (November 12, 1990). Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1413-4.
  10. ^ G., Raymond, Janice (1979). The transsexual empire : the making of the she-male. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0807021644. OCLC 4529467.
  11. ^ Meier, Deborah (November 12, 1995). The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-3113-1.
  12. ^ Frankl, Viktor (June 14, 2006). Man's Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1429-5.
  13. ^ Hall, Meredith (April 11, 2007). Without a Map. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7273-8.
  14. ^ Khalidi, Rashid (April 15, 2005). Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0235-3.
  15. ^ Blanshard, Paul (1948). American Freedom and Catholic Power. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Revised 2nd edition 1958.
  16. ^ MacDonald, Michael Patrick (October 4, 2007). All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7213-4.
  17. ^ Marcuse, Herbert (October 1, 1991). One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1417-2.
  18. ^ Oliver, Mary (September 2, 2007). Thirst. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6897-7.
  19. ^ Oliver, Mary (November 15, 2005). New and Selected Poems: Volume One. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6878-6.
  20. ^ West, Cornel (May 25, 2001). Race Matters. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0972-7.
  21. ^ Lane, Frederick S. (June 1, 2008). The Court and the Cross. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. 288 pages. ISBN 978-0-8070-4424-7.
  22. ^ Miller, Jean Baker (1987). Toward a New Psychology of Women. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-080702909-1.
  23. ^ "Beacon Press to reissue Martin Luther King Jr.'s books". UU World blog. June 1, 2009.
  24. ^ Philocrites: Beacon Press launches 'Beacon Broadside' blog
  25. ^ "New England Book Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
  26. ^ History and Mission

Further reading

  • Wilson, Susan. "Beacon's Modern Era: 1945–2003," Journal of Scholarly Publishing (2004) 35#4 pp. 200–209 online

External links

A Critique of Pure Tolerance

A Critique of Pure Tolerance is a 1965 book by the philosopher Robert Paul Wolff, the sociologist Barrington Moore Jr., and the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the authors discuss the political role of tolerance. The book has been described as "peculiar" by commentators, and its authors have been criticized for advocating intolerance and the suppression of dissenting opinions.

Carl McIntire

Carl Curtis McIntire, Jr. (May 17, 1906 – March 19, 2002), known as Carl McIntire, was a founder and minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church, founder and long-time president of the International Council of Christian Churches and the American Council of Christian Churches, and a popular religious radio broadcaster, who proudly identified himself as a fundamentalist.


A demagogue (from Greek δημαγωγός, a popular leader, a leader of a mob, from δῆμος, people, populace, the commons + ἀγωγός leading, leader) or rabble-rouser is a leader who gains popularity in a democracy by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so.Historian Reinhard Luthin defined demagogue thus: "What is a demagogue? He is a politician skilled in oratory, flattery and invective; evasive in discussing vital issues; promising everything to everybody; appealing to the passions rather than the reason of the public; and arousing racial, religious, and class prejudices—a man whose lust for power without recourse to principle leads him to seek to become a master of the masses. He has for centuries practiced his profession of 'man of the people'. He is a product of a political tradition nearly as old as western civilization itself."Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, it is possible for the people to give that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population. Demagogues usually advocate immediate, forceful action to address a national crisis while accusing moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness or disloyalty.

Dreaming the Dark

Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics is a 1982 book by Starhawk about magic, spirituality, politics, ethics, and sex.

Incest taboo

An incest taboo is any cultural rule or norm that prohibits sexual relations between closely related persons. All human cultures have norms that exclude certain close relatives from those considered suitable or permissible sexual or marriage partners, making such relationships taboo. However, different norms exist among cultures as to which blood relations are permissible as sexual partners and which are not. The sexual relations between related persons which are subject to the taboo are called incestuous relationships.

Some cultures proscribed sexual relations between clan-members, even when no traceable biological relationship exists, while members of other clans are permissible irrespective of the existence of a biological relationship. In many cultures, certain types of cousin relations are preferred as sexual and marital partners, whereas in others these are taboo. Some cultures permit sexual and marital relations between aunts/uncles and nephews/nieces. In some instances, brother–sister marriages have been practiced by the elites with some regularity. Parent–child and sibling–sibling unions are almost universally taboo.

Knowing and the Known

Knowing and the Known is a 1949 book by John Dewey and Arthur Bentley.

Martin Moran

Martin Moran (born December 29, 1959), is an American actor and writer who grew up in Denver, Colorado. He attended Stanford University and is best known for his autobiographical solo show about his childhood molestation called The Tricky Part, for which he won an Obie Award and received two Drama Desk Award nominations. In 1999 he gave his final Broadway performance as radioman Harold Bride in a play called Titanic but thanks to Manhattan Concert Productions returned to it in 2014. In 2005, Moran adapted The Tricky Part into a memoir that was published by Beacon Press. In 2013 Moran debuted a second solo show All the Rage in New York, where he currently lives; in 2016, All the Rage was adapted into a memoir by Moran and will be published in May by Beacon Press.

Michel Tournier

Michel Tournier (French: [tuʁnje]; 19 December 1924 − 18 January 2016) was a French writer. He won awards such as the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1967 for Friday, or, The Other Island and the Prix Goncourt for The Erl-King in 1970.

His inspirations included traditional German culture, Catholicism and the philosophies of Gaston Bachelard. He resided in Choisel and was a member of the Académie Goncourt. His autobiography has been translated and published as The Wind Spirit (Beacon Press, 1988). He was on occasion in contention for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Notes of a Native Son

Notes of a Native Son is a non-fiction book by James Baldwin. It was his first non-fiction book, and was published in 1955. The volume collects ten of Baldwin's essays, which had previously appeared in such magazines as Harper's Magazine, Partisan Review, and The New Leader. The essays mostly tackle issues of race in America and Europe.

One-Dimensional Man

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a 1964 book by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the author offers a wide-ranging critique of both contemporary capitalism and the Communist society of the Soviet Union, documenting the parallel rise of new forms of social repression in both these societies, as well as the decline of revolutionary potential in the West. He argues that "advanced industrial society" created false needs, which integrated individuals into the existing system of production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial management, and contemporary modes of thought.This results in a "one-dimensional" universe of thought and behaviour, in which aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behaviour wither away. Against this prevailing climate, Marcuse promotes the "great refusal" (described at length in the book) as the only adequate opposition to all-encompassing methods of control. Much of the book is a defense of "negative thinking" as a disrupting force against the prevailing positivism.Marcuse also analyzes the integration of the industrial working class into capitalist society and new forms of capitalist stabilization, thus questioning the Marxian postulates of the revolutionary proletariat and the inevitability of capitalist crisis. In contrast to orthodox Marxism, Marcuse champions non-integrated forces of minorities, outsiders, and radical intelligentsia, attempting to nourish oppositional thought and behavior through promoting radical thinking and opposition. He considers the trends towards bureaucracy in supposedly Marxist countries to be as oppositional to freedom as those in the capitalist West.One-Dimensional Man was the book that made Marcuse famous.

Paul Blanshard

Paul Beecher Blanshard (August 27, 1892 – January 27, 1980) was an American author, assistant editor of The Nation magazine, lawyer, socialist, secular humanist, and from 1949 an outspoken critic of Catholicism.

Pentagon Papers

The Pentagon Papers, officially titled Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States' political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers were released by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study; they were first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of The New York Times in 1971. A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration "systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress".More specifically, the papers revealed that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scope of its actions in the Vietnam War with the bombings of nearby Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media.For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property, but the charges were later dismissed after prosecutors investigating the Watergate scandal discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg.In June 2011, the entirety of the Pentagon Papers was declassified and publicly released.

Six Days or Forever?

Six Days or Forever?: Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes is a 1958 book on the Scopes Trial by Ray Ginger, first published in hardcover by Beacon Press and later reprinted in paperback by Oxford University Press. Ginger, later a Professor of History at Brandeis, Wayne State University, and the University of Calgary and at the time a New York trade book editor, had written about Eugene Debs and the city of Chicago in the time of John Peter Altgeld before tackling the Scopes trial. In the conclusion of Six Days or Forever? Ginger wrote his book had two purposes: First, getting "the facts straight" in order to correct "many mistakes in previous accounts of the episodes," believing his book "comes much closer than do those accounts to telling what actually occurred." Second, Ginger "tried to view the Scopes trial in the broadest possible context" (242).

Ginger's primary reference sources were the published stenographic transcript and Leslie H. Allen's edited 1925 version, Bryan and Darrow at Dayton: The Record and Documents of the 'Bible Evolution Trial', along with the scrapbook files on the case of the ACLU and Kirtley F. Mather, one of the scientists who went to Dayton to testify on behalf of the Scopes defense. Ginger made use of the available biographies of various participants as well as full-length studies of Fundamentalism and anti-evolution, histories of Tennessee, official records of the Scopes appeal, and books on various scientific and religious topics. Ginger also pointed out that "in the interest of factual accuracy," John T. Scopes had read portions of the manuscript (242-48). Reviews of the book praised Ginger's account of the trial as well as his assessment of the shortcomings of both Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan.

Skinner House Books

Skinner House Books is a book publisher run by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), specializing in books for Unitarian Universalists—meditation manuals, worship and church resources, and books on theology, UU history, and social justice concerns. The editorial direction of Skinner House is provided by the Skinner House Board, a body of UUA staff and non-staff.

The publisher began as an imprint of Beacon Press in 1976, and later split off, with its own name. Skinner House Books is named after Clarence Skinner (1881–1949), a Universalist minister, writer, and social activist who was Dean of the Crane Theological School at Tufts University.

Speech or Debate Clause

The Speech or Debate Clause is a clause in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1). The clause states that members of both Houses of Congress

...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

The intended purpose is to prevent a President or other officials of the executive branch from having members arrested on a pretext to prevent them from voting a certain way or otherwise taking actions with which the President might disagree.

A similar clause in many state constitutions protects members of state legislatures in the United States. Legislators in non-U.S. jurisdictions may be protected by a similar doctrine of parliamentary immunity.

The Protest Psychosis

The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease is a 2010 book by the psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl (who also has a Ph.D. in American studies), and published by Beacon Press, covering the history of the 1960s Ionia State Hospital—located in Ionia, Michigan and converted into the Ionia Correctional Facility in 1986. The facility is claimed to have been one of America's largest and most notorious state psychiatric hospitals in the era before deinstitutionalization.

Metzl focuses on exposing the trend of this hospital to diagnose African Americans with schizophrenia because of their civil rights ideas. He suggests that in part the sudden influx of such diagnoses could be traced to a change in wording in the DSM-II, which compared to the previous edition added "hostility" and "aggression" as signs of the disorder. Metzl writes that this change resulted in structural racism.

The book was well reviewed in JAMA, where it was described as "a fascinating, penetrating book by one of medicine's most exceptional young scholars." The book was also reviewed in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychiatric Times, The American Journal of Bioethics, Social History of Medicine, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Journal of African American History, Journal of Black Psychology, Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.

The Straight Mind and Other Essays

The Straight Mind and Other Essays is a (1992) collection of essays by Monique Wittig.

It was translated into French as La Pensée straight in 2001.

The Transsexual Empire

The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male (1979; second edition 1994) is a book critical of transsexualism by the American radical feminist author and activist Janice Raymond. The book is derived from Raymond's dissertation, which was produced under the supervision of the feminist theologian Mary Daly.

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