Making Words Count
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Bill Strachan

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William Strachan

In nearly five decades of work in book publishing I have held senior editorial positions at a number of houses, including serving as Editor-in-Chief at Henry Holt and Carroll & Graf and as President and Director of Columbia University Press.

Though I have acquired and edited several novels (works by Martin Amis, Paul Auster, Nicholson Baker, and Colm Toibin), I have concentrated on nonfiction, especially first books by writers who have continued to produce exceptional books in building their careers.  I’m not skilled in all areas, and my focus has been on writers of natural history (Gretel Ehrlich’s The Solace of Open Spaces, James Galvin’s The Meadow, and Ellen Meloy’s Raven’s Exile); music and popular culture (Greil Marcus’s The Invisible Empire, Robert Palmer’s Deep Blues, and Timothy White’s The Nearest Faraway Place); food (Michael Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef, Jancis Robinson’s Wine Grapes, and Michael W. Twitty’s The Cooking Gene); social issues (Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, Gary Rivlin’s Broke, U.S.A., and Amy Goodman’s The Exception to the Rulers); and biography and history (John Mack Faragher’s Daniel Boone, Brad Gooch’s Rumi’s Secret, and David Wootton’s The Invention of Science). 

Other writers whom I have edited and published include Terry Gross, William Zinsser, Witold Rybczynski, David Darlington, and Stephen J. Pyne.


Bill Strachan has edited all of my books at four different publishing houses; if he hadn’t taken an interest in this one (to say nothing of many others), it literally wouldn’t exist.
— David Darlington, author of An Ideal Wine
No one can know how judicious and intelligent Bill Strachan, my editor, has been in his work because his effect is so subtle as to be invisible and yet he improved the manuscript enormously.
— Michel Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef