Lionel Leventhal

Lionel Leventhal is a British publisher of books on military history and related topics, whose eponymous company was established in 1967.


After working in a bookshop (1954-1956),[1] Leventhal joined the publishing company of Herbert Jenkins Ltd, best known as the publisher of P. G. Wodehouse,[2] and published his first military book in 1960. After a short time with Paul Hamlyn (1964-1966) he set up Arms & Armour Press in 1966.[3][4][5][6]

Lionel Leventhal Limited came into being in 1967 as the holding company for the various publishing and other book related companies run by its eponymous owner.

Arms and Armour Press

Founded at a time when few new publishing houses were being established, Arms and Armour Press began on Leventhal’s kitchen table, but grew rapidly to be one of the UK’s leading publishers of militaria and military history, with a stable of authors including some of the most renowned specialists in the field, including Ian V. Hogg, David G. Chandler and Steven Zaloga. In 1984 Arms & Armour Press was sold to Link House Books, which owned seven publishers, including Blandford.[6][7][8][9][10]

The London Book Fair

In 1971 Leventhal organised The Specialist Publishers’ Exhibition for Librarians, with 22 exhibitors displaying titles on tabletops. Subsequently, now with business partner, Clive Bingley, he saw the Fair grow and go through a number of development and name changes, finally becoming The London Book Fair in 1977. The London Book Fair was sold in 1985 to Industrial & Trade Fairs (which later became Reed Exhibitions), by which time the number of exhibitors had increased to 520.[5][6][11][12] [13] He was video-interviewed at The London Book Fair 2017 as part of a surprise celebration of his 80th birthday.

Ken Trotman

1976 saw the acquisition of Ken Trotman Limited, the leading specialist bookseller of books on militaria, which was sold to its manager, Richard Brown, in 1984.[5]

Greenhill Books

In 1984 Leventhal started a new publishing imprint, Greenhill Books. Contractually precluded from publishing any new books for a period, he started with three series of reprints of classic aviation, crime and science fiction titles. In 1985, Greenhill launched the Napoleonic Library series of classic military reprints and soon abandoned fiction publishing to concentrate on military history. As with Arms & Armour Press, the imprint grew, eventually reaching a total of almost 700 titles published and attracting a renowned group of authors, including Chaim Herzog, John Elting and Kenneth Macksey. Additionally, the company undertook European and Commonwealth distribution for a number of overseas military history publishers. Lionel Leventhal's son, Michael, joined Greenhill Books in January 2003 and become a Director the following year. In 2007 Greenhill Books split, with contracted but as yet unpublished titles passing to Frontline Books, an imprint of Pen & Sword Books. Lists distributed on behalf of overseas publishers became the basis of a new company, Casemate UK. Lionel Leventhal Limited retains ownership of stocks and copyright licences of books published under the Greenhill Books and Chatham Publishing imprint.

The only new Greenhill Book between 2007 and 2016 was The Hand of History, a compilation of history quotes and commentaries raising money for Parkinson's UK. The book is edited by Michael Leventhal and includes contributions from Antony Beevor, Asa Briggs, Tim Newark, Richard Holmes, Gary Sheffield, Ian Kershaw, Stephen Turnbull and illustrations by Chris Riddell.[5][8][9][10][14][15]

In 2017 Greenhill Books began publishing new military history books with new work[16] by J. P. Cross, John Hussey, Anthony Rogers, Peter G. Tsouras and Martin Pegler. In 2018 Greenhill Books published the first English language translation of the memoir of the Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko and the memoir of Elena Rzhevskaya, the Russian SMERSH agent who found Hitler's teeth in the Berlin bunker in 1945.[17]. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the PoW breakout from Stalag Luft III in March 1944 - the mass escape which inspired the film The Great Escape, Greenhill Books published new editions of the memoirs of the successful escapees Bram Vanderstok (also known as Bram van der Stok) [18]and Jens Müller [19].


In 1985 Leventhal purchased, with partner Clive Bingley, the STM publishing house of Charles Griffin, which specialised in publishing books on statistics. Griffin was sold 18 months later to Hodder Arnold.[11]

Lund Humphries Publishers

In 1985 Leventhal and his partner, Clive Bingley, also purchased Lund Humphries Publishers. Lund Humphries began life as part of the Bradford printing company Percy Lund, Humphries & Co, formed in 1895, but became a specialist publisher of contemporary British art and sculpture subjects. Leventhal’s partner retired in 1992 and Lund Humphries Publishers was sold in 1999 to Ashgate.[10][11]

Chatham Publishing

In 2003 Lionel Leventhal Limited acquired the leading specialist publishing house for naval and maritime books, Chatham Publishing, which had been established in 1996 and had a fine reputation for high-quality publications. In 2007, with the breakup of Greenhill Books, contracted but as yet unpublished titles passed to Seaforth Publishing, an imprint of Pen & Sword Books. Lionel Leventhal Limited retains ownership of stocks and copyright licences of books published under the Chatham imprint.

Green Bean Books

In 2018 Michael Leventhal established a new imprint publishing Jewish children's books. To date, the imprint has published five books, including works by Shira Geffen, David Polonsky, Rinat Hoffer and Shoham Smith. [20]. Interviewed by The Bookseller magazine at the Bologna Book Fair in April 2019, Michael Leventhal noted the children’s imprint “was a certainly a change from the Battle of the Bulge and books about snipers”.[21]


Lionel Leventhal, On Publishing: A Professional Memoir, London: Greenhill Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1-85367-517-2 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN..


Napoleonic Series website, 27 May 2002; Publishers Weekly, 17 June 2002.


  1. Leventhal, Lionel (13 August 2004). "Bookselling Can Kill You". The Bookseller.
  2. Leventhal, Lionel. "Tail Piece: A Profession for Gentlemen". Greenhill Books. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
  3. Martin, Ruth (22 September 1973). "Meet the Young Publishers". WH Smith's Trade News.
  4. "Lionel Leventhal - Thirty Years of Publishing". The Bookseller. 30 March 1990.
  5. Chernofsky, Jacob L. (2 July 1990). "An Ideal Speciality for a Small Publisher". AB Bookman's Weekly.
  6. Sanderson, Caroline (25 February 2000). "A Baby to be Proud Of". The Bookseller.
  7. Leventhal, Lionel (29 September 2000). "'Hello English!'". Publishing News.
  8. Leventhal, Lionel (13 June 2003). "Reading the Waves". Publishing News.
  9. Leventhal, Lionel (September 2007). "Publishing on the Napoleonic Wars". First Empire.
  10. "The Doyen of Miltaria". Publishing News. 9 June 1995.
  11. Leventhal, Lionel (2002). "And Another Thing ... Working with the Soviets". Logos. 13 (2). doi:10.2959/logo.2002.13.2.117. ISSN 0957-9656.
  12. Casoy, Beatriz (18 April 2007). "The Way it Was". Publishing News.
  13. Tagholm, Roger (Spring 2019). "Greenhill Books Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of a Real-Life 'Great Escape'". Publishing Perspectives: 27.
  14. Newark, Tim (22 June 2001). "Militaria Publishing and the Battle for New Sales". Publishing News.
  15. Leventhal, Lionel (October 1998). "When I Got 11 Marks to the Pound". Publishing News.
  17. Tagholm, Roger (Spring 2019). "Greenhill Books Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of a Real-Life 'Great Escape'". Publishing Perspectives: 27.
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