Black Rose Books History
By 1970, one of the most historically significant decades had just ended. It was a time of ideas, of actions, and of change so dramatic and so basic that deep political and cultural roots were then implanted. These changes were to have enduring effects on the democratic consciousness. The following decade witnessed a rebirth of the women's liberation movement, of the gay liberation movement, and, significantly, of a growing awareness of increasing global environmental destruction. To some, it was important to record and publish the critical analysis that was emerging with all the turbulence of the period. The constructive ideas of how to constitute a genuinely democratic society could not go unrecorded. Having experienced history-in-the-making, Black Rose Books, from its early life, took on the task.
In 1969 we created what may have appeared as impossible in retrospect: a book publishing project. Did we appreciate the difficulties and complexities of starting a non-profit endeavour committed to publishing the kinds of books that were begging to be written and published in a marketplace dominated by commercial publishing? Clearly no. Nevertheless, we did it and more than 500 published books later we continue to do it, publishing intelligent, critical works appealing to both the general public and the academic world.
Our list of writers has come to include many key authors in the social sciences and humanities, with particular strength in politics, cultural studies, history, philosophy, sociology, and environmental and urban issues. While we support and encourage many fine first-time authors, we feel fortunate to include such thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921 – July 30, 2006), and George Woodcock (May 8, 1912 - January 28, 1995) among them. Each year we re-issue nearly-forgotten classics. We are the only publisher (so far as we know), to have published the complete works of Peter Kropotkin.
We are often asked about the origins of our name. BLACK ROSE BOOKS was proposed as a name for the new project by our celebrated author and philosopher, Murray Bookchin. According to legend, during the peasant uprisings in the middle ages, those who found freedom would also find the black rose in nature. Conversely, those who found the black rose in nature would find freedom. It was agreed that no graven image of the black rose would be encouraged. We want the human imagination to see it freely.
After forty years of being active, Black Rose Books stopped publishing in 2010. The website was left up, for the purchase of already published works. In 2014, a group of young, like-minded people came on board, with the purpose to continue with the project that was recording and publishing radical thinkers. Dimitri Roussopoulos then took the task to mentor the new Black Rose Books generation. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette in 2016, he explained that it was his “moral and political obligation” to transfer the knowledge he had acquired over the years, and teach them how to continue with the project that is Black Rose Books.
In today's world of press, television, and mass-market publishers an alternative point of view is more important than ever. The creation of this website marks a new avenue for Black Rose Books. With each new season, we proudly invite you to celebrate creative publishing at its best and without compromise.