About Us

About Us

Since its founding in 1950, Basic Books has shaped public debate by publishing award-winning books in history, science, sociology, psychology, politics, and current affairs. Basic’s list of influential authors includes Stephon Alexander, Isaac Asimov, Edward Baptist, H.W. Brands, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Iris Chang, George Church, Niall Ferguson, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Martin Ford, Howard Gardner, Victor Davis Hanson, Jonathan Haidt, Judith Herman, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Hofstadter, Leszek Kolakowski, Kevin Kruse, Lawrence Lessig, Claude Levi-Strauss, Alice Miller, Robert Nozick, Steven Pinker, Samantha Power, Diane Ravitch, Eugene Rogan, Thomas Sowell, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Eric Topol, Sherry Turkle, Timothy Snyder, Nicholas Stargardt, Michael Walzer, George Weigel, Bee Wilson, James Q. Wilson, Richard Wrangham, Irvin Yalom, and Shing-Tung Yau. Basic Books is an imprint of Hachette Book Group.

Lara Heimert

SVP, Publisher, the Basic Books Group (Basic, Seal, PublicAffairs & Bold Type)

Phone: 212-364-0669

Email: lara.heimert@hbgusa.com

Twitter: @laraheimert

Lara Heimert joined Basic Books in 2005. Previously, she was publisher of the trade division at Yale University Press. She has published numerous prize-winning and New York Times bestselling titles. Highlights include Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told, Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans, Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork, Victor Davis Hanson’s The Dying Citizen, Neil Price’s Children of Ash and Elm, and Jason Riley’s Maverick. A graduate of Princeton University, Lara acquires primarily in the field of history, broadly conceived—from world wars to marginalia, from culinary history to political theory, from diaspora to doodles.

Brian J. Distelberg

VP, Editor in Chief

Phone: 212-364-0655

Email: brian.distelberg@hbgusa.com

Brian J. Distelberg joined Basic Books in 2015 and acquires primarily in history. Books he has edited and published include the New York Times bestsellers Slouching Towards Utopia, by Brad DeLong, and Myth America, edited by Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer; Peniel Joseph’s The Third Reconstruction, Martha Jones’s Vanguard, Martyn Rady’s The Habsburgs, Marc David Baer’s The Ottomans, Walter Johnson’s The Broken Heart of America, and Alice Baumgartner’s South to Freedom. He also publishes a select number of books in politics, where highlights include Jonathan Metzl’s Dying of Whiteness and Jonathan Sacks’s Morality. Brian worked previously at Harvard University Press and holds a PhD in US history from Yale University.

Thomas Kelleher

VP & Editorial Director

Phone: 212-364-0657

Email: thomas.kelleher@hbgusa.com

Thomas Kelleher joined Basic Books in 2009, and publishes predominantly in science, mathematics, and economics. He has published Eric Topol, Sherry Turkle, Edward Frenkel, Thor Hanson, Eugenia Cheng, and Leonard Susskind, among many others. Recent highlights include Azra Raza’s The First Cell, Lucy Cooke’s Bitch, William MacAskill’s New York Times bestselling What We Owe the Future, Adam Becker’s What Is Real?, Stephon Alexander’s Fear of a Black Universe, Rob Dunn’s A Natural History of the Future, and Eugenia Cheng’s Is Math Real?. He is also responsible for the publishing program surrounding The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

Brandon Proia

Executive Editor

Phone: 212-364-0632

Email: brandon.proia@hbgusa.com

Brandon Proia joined Basic Books in 2023 and acquires primarily in history. Before joining Basic, he was an executive editor of history at UNC Press, where he published books including Keeanga Taylor’s Race for Profit, Johanna Fernandez’s The Young Lords, and Kelly Hernandez’s City of Inmates. He has also worked as an editor at PublicAffairs, where he published Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop.

Eric A. Schmidt

Executive Editor

Phone: (646) 741-4286

Email: Eric.Schmidt@hbgusa.com

Eric Schmidt joined Basic Books in 2024 and acquires primarily in the history and cultures of the premodern world. Before joining Basic, he was the ancient history editor at University of California Press, where he published books including Great Kingdoms of Africa, King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne, and Hoof Beats: How Horses Shaped Human History, as well new translations of Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey and The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Basho.

Michael Kaler

Associate Editor

Phone: 212-364-0636

Email: michael.kaler@hbgusa.com

Michael Kaler joined Basic Books in 2020, and acquires primarily in history and politics, with particular interests in social justice, climate change, and labor issues. He also acquires selectively in international affairs and global studies. Books he has acquired or edited include Jared Farmer’s Elderflora, Jacqueline Jones’s No Right to an Honest Living, and Hein de Haas’s How Migration Really Works. Before joining Basic, Michael worked at Liveright and New York Magazine.

Explore Some of the best of Basic