|Founders||Laura Lindgren and Ken Swezey|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York, New York|
|Distribution||Publishers Group West|
|Publication types||Non-fiction books|
|Nonfiction topics||Culture, social history, medical history, landscape, language, photography|
Blast Books is a New York-based book publisher whose catalog consists of non-fiction books which focus on cultural and historical subjects, often of an obscure or unusual nature. Many of their publications include archival illustrations and photography.
Blast has published titles by John Strausbaugh, Drew Friedman, Suehiro Maruo, Hideshi Hino, James Edmonson,John Harley Warner, Ken Smith, Arne Svenson, Steve Young, Gretchen Worden, Teller, and others.
Blast has published two large-format photographic books about the Mütter Museum. The first, Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (2002), contains images of the museum's exhibits shot by contemporary fine art photographers, including William Wegman, Joel-Peter Witkin, Shelby Lee Adams, and Rosamond Purcell. The second, Mütter Museum Historic Medical Photographs (2007), focuses on the museum's archive of rare historic photographs, most of which were previously unpublished.
Another book, Hidden Treasure (2012), was published in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library. The book features artifacts from the library's private collection, dating from the 13th through the 20th century, including color-illustrated medical books; rare manuscripts; pamphlets and ephemera; "magic lantern" slides; toys; stereograph cards; scrapbooks; film stills; posters; and more. Edmonson and Warner's Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine: 1880-1930 (2009) catalogued over 100 previously unpublished archival photographs of students at prominent American medical schools posing alongside dissected cadavers in their anatomy classes.
Blast has produced three books in conjunction with the Center for Land Use Interpretation: Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy, by Matthew Coolidge (2008),Around the Bay: Man-Made Sites of Interest in the San Francisco Bay Region (2013), and Los Alamos Rolodex: Doing Business with the National Lab, 1967-1978 (2016).
Blast's 2013 book, Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals, by former David Letterman comedy writer Steve Young and musician Sport Murphy, offered the first chronicle of a neglected genre of music history: the theatrical productions staged by corporations to promote new products to their sales force. In 2016, the book rights were acquired by Amblin Entertainment, who announced development of a film production starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig.
Thomas Bernhard: 3 Days, published in 2016, chronicles a three-day park bench monologue by the Austrian novelist, playwright, and poet filmed by Ferry Radax for a 1970 documentary film about Bernhard.
In 2017, Blast published The Secret World of Renaldo Kuhler, the first collection of previously uncirculated illustrations by a prolific and idiosyncratic artist who created a vast body of visionary work without public recognition during his lifetime (1931-2013). (Renaldo was the son of famous railroad designer Otto Kuhler.)
The following year, Blast published Robert McCracken Peck's Specimens of Hair: The Curious Collection of Peter A. Browne. The book is based on "an oddball collection of animal and human hair assembled by an obsessive 19th-century naturalist [which] was at one time deemed worthless by the Academy of Natural Sciences, despite including samples from 13 of the first 14 presidents."
The company was established in 1989 by Laura Lindgren and Ken Swezey. Lindgren is a professional book designer who edits and designs Blast's titles.