Verso Books is the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing one hundred books a year.
“Anglo-America's preeminent radical press.”—Harper’s
“The scale of the achievement of New Left Review and Verso, which turns forty this year, is now clear.”—Nation
“A rigorously intelligent publisher.”—Sunday Times
New Left Books was launched by New Left Review in 1970, and took as its logo the Tatlin Tower—a planned monument to the Third International. Focusing initially on translating works of European political and social theory, economics and philosophy, the list during that decade included Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Lucio Colletti, Henri Lefebvre, Georg Lukács, Ernest Mandel, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre and Max Weber, as well as major original works by Perry Anderson, Terry Eagleton, Tom Nairn and Raymond Williams. NLB’s list challenged established opinions both in the United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective satellites, as well as providing important critical analyses of China, India and South America. The publishing house was always intended to be far broader in its reach than NLR. An early bestseller was Against Method by Paul Feyeraband.
Verso—the left-hand page—was launched as a paperback imprint at the end of the seventies. Since becoming NLB’s sole imprint, Verso has published landmark books by Tariq Ali, Benedict Anderson, Robin Blackburn, Robert Brenner, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Mike Davis, Isaac Deutscher, Paul Feyeraband, Norman Finkelstein, David Harvey, Eric Hobsbawm, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, Rebecca Solnit, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Erik Olin Wright and Slavoj Žižek. New translations have included Jean Baudrillard, Régis Debray, André Gorz, Jürgen Habermas, Rigoberta Menchú, Roberto Schwarz and Paul Virilio.
During the nineties Verso set up an office in New York, and secured its reputation in a number of established and emerging fields. Major advances were made by Giovanni Arrighi and Immanuel Wallerstein in historical sociology, Fredric Jameson and Franco Moretti in cultural and literary theory, Robin Blackburn in the history of slavery, Robert Brenner in economic theory, Roberto Unger in social theory, Peter Gowan and Gopal Balakrishnan in international relations, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in political theory, and with David Harvey's rethinking of geography and capital. A new edition of the Communist Manifesto, on the 150th anniversary of its original publication, quickly became a global bestseller. Perry Anderson's essays on world politics, the trajectory of intellectuals, and the decline of Europe—in A Zone of Engagement and English Questions—became important reference points, not just for the Left.
Mike Davis and Michael Sprinker's brilliant Haymarket series led to definitive works on Whiteness studies by David Roediger, Alexander Saxton and Theodore Allen, Latino history and culture by Carlos Munoz and Rodolfo Acuña, Black politics by Manning Marable, feminist analysis by Michele Wallace, US history by Michael Denning and Paul Buhle, labor studies by Kim Moody, and postmodern geography by Edward Soja.
Since 2000, against the backdrop of America’s Long War, Verso has made landmark interventions in international politics, the Middle East, and South America, whilst also establishing a growing list of fiction, biography and memoir titles. Tariq Ali’s The Clash of Fundamentalisms offered a definitive account of the US wars on the Middle East, followed up in Bush in Babylon, and challenged mainstream interpretations of the War on Terror. On the ground reporting from the new war zones has come from Patrick Cockburn and Gideon Levy, while Joshua Phillips has documented the effects of torture on US Army protagonists as well as civilian victims. Emir Sader, Forrest Hylton, Gregory Wilpert, Peter Hallward and Richard Gott have explored the roots of the ‘left turn’ in Central and South America, as well as its global potential.
Shlomo Sand in The Invention of the Jewish People, Norman Finkelstein in The Holocaust Industry, and Avi Shlaim, Arno Mayer and Gabriel Piterberg, have all changed the face of Israeli history. Perry Anderson’s monumental analysis of post-Cold War European history and culture in The New Old World follows his panorama of the intellectual and political field in Spectrum. Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums set out a new field of study, synthesizing development and urban theory in the wake of globalization and the new imperialism. Ellen Wood has moved back in time from The Origin of Capitalism to the groundbreaking social history of political thought in Citizens to Lords. Benedict Anderson has explored the long history of nationalism and anarchism in Under Three Flags, and Sheila Rowbotham has recast the history of feminism in Dreamers of a New Day. Slavoj Žižek reconceptualized apocalypse and revolution in Living in the End Times and In Defense of Lost Causes, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière and others have proposed and debated the Communist Hypothesis, and Simon Critchley has explored philosophical anarchism in Infinitely Demanding.
André Schiffrin has bookended the decade with diagnoses and possible cures for the malaise of publishing and other media, in the The Business of Books and Words and Money. New fiction from John Berger, Georges Perec and Wu Ming, alongside diaries and memoirs from José Saramago, Sara Paretsky, Mike Marqusee, Ghada Karmi and Rossana Rossanda, have all crossed and re-crossed the boundaries between culture and politics. Daniel Barenboim reflected on music, politics and life in Music Quickens Time, while Hal Foster, Julian Stallabrass and Chin Tao Wu have deconstructed the art world. Intellectual histories and biographies of Ernest Mandel, Ernest Gellner, Edward Carpenter, Muhammad Ali, and The Eitingons have thrown new light on the twentieth century. As part of this project, Verso is proud to undertake the publication of the complete works of Rosa Luxemburg—one of the most gifted theorists and activists of the early twentieth century, brutally murdered in 1919 by the forebears of German fascism—in collaboration with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung and Karl Dietz Verlag.
Verso’s New York office moved over the East River in 2007, and we now have editors in Brooklyn, London and Paris. Present at all major bookfairs, our books are translated into dozens of languages worldwide. With a strong list and radical commitment, all at Verso Books hope that the launch of this new website will strengthen our links with our readers and authors.