This publisher of controversial
books started in 1970 as a partnership between Peder Lund
and Robert K. Brown
, who both believed there was a market for specialized books about the military
and other adventurous topics. Brown was already publishing under the name Panther Publications, but they agreed to changed the name to Paladin Press to avoid any association to the Black Panther
Their first book, 150 Questions for a Guerrilla
, was a translation of a guerrilla
training manual originally written in Spanish
by General Alberto Bayo
, the military mentor
of pre-revolutionary Fidel Castro
. The book's successful release affirmed Lund and Brown's mission to publish detailed military information that was typically supressed.
By 1974, Paladin Press was publishing several government military manuals that were otherwise difficult to obtain, but Lund and Brown couldn't agree on which direction the company should take. Brown ended up selling his half of the business in 1975 so he could start publishing Soldier Of Fortune
magazine, while Lund stayed with Paladin to expand the subject matter of their books beyond military training.
The publisher's firm commitment to first
and second amendment
rights emboldened them to publish books on a wide variety of topics, including "identity change, credit secrets, self-defense
, personal freedom, action careers, covert surveillance, electronic eavesdropping
, bounty hunting
, knives and knife fighting
, sniping, martial arts
, and police science
". Now that Paladin's books could be applied more to everyday life, Paladin Press started to catch heat for crimes committed by people who had obviously learned it from one of their books. With books like How To Kill
by John Minnery
and detailed bombmaking manuals, even staunch freedom of speech
advocates had a difficult time standing behind the right of Paladin Press to print them.
On March 3, 1993, James Perry
applied the knowledge he learned from a Paladin Press book, Hit Man: A Technical
Manual for Independent Contractors
, and accepted a job from Lawrence Horn
Horn's ex-wife, Mildred Horn
, and their quadriplegic
seven-year-old son, Trevor Horn
, in a plan for Lawrence to collect Trevor's US$2,000,000 accidental paralysis
settlement. Perry also ended up murdering Trevor's nurse, Janice Saunders
, who was also at the scene at Mildred Horn's house near Rockville, MD
Despite following the rules of Hit Man to the letter
, the police caught on to Horn and Perry's scheme, and discovered a copy of Hit Man at Perry's apartment. Naturally, Perry and Horn were convict
ed, but it didn't end there. After the multiple-murder trial, a civil suit was filed against Paladin Press for aiding and abetting
the murderer. Initially, the judge decided that the first amendment protected Paladin Press, but it was overturned on appeal in 1997, prompting an undisclosed settlement from Paladin Press to the victims' relatives.
Paladin is still in business today, selling hundreds of books and videos through a printed catalog and through their web site at www.paladin-press.com.