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Seriously good writing by the most engaging thinkers of our time

A brief history of The Bodley Head

The Bodley Head publishes influential and engaging works of non-fiction by some of the leading writers and thinkers of our time, addressing a huge range of subjects: smart thinking, science, reportage, history, maths, biography, music, natural history, current affairs and economics. Our books explore the issues of today; they are books about the ideas, the people, and the human obsessions that shape our world.

We publish authors including Lisa Randall and Misha Glenny, Simon Schama and Karen Armstrong, Wade Davis, Roger Penrose and Timothy Snyder.

Founded originally as an antiquarian bookseller in 1887, The Bodley Head aspired to publish works of ‘stylish decadence’. Over time it would publish writers including George Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene (who was a director), Muriel Spark, William Trevor and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

The Bodley Head also famously published Charlie Chaplin’s memoirs, signed after a seven-year courtship of the comic actor. Chaplin was paid half a million dollars, and within three months of publication had sold the same number of copies of his book.

In 1969 The Bodley Head joined forces with Jonathan Cape and Chatto & Windus, which today remain sister imprints within the VINTAGE division. And in 2008, after a period of dormancy, it was relaunched as a new imprint under the distinguished The Bodley Head name.

Recently, writers as diverse as Stephen Witt, Ian Mortimer, Robert Caro, Edith Hall, Lewis Dartnell and Cédric Villani have joined the list – united by their originality, by their expertise and by their gifts as communicators.

Books published by The Bodley Head include:

Misha Glenny


Nick Clegg


Alison Gopnik

The Gardener and The Carpenter

Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes

Mark Thompson

Enough Said


Lisa Randall

Dark Matters and the Dinosaurs


Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Gideon Rachman


Hitler book cover by Volker Ullrich

Yanis Varoufakis

And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?

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