Born in Edinburgh in 1930, the youngest of six, into a six-generation cartographic family, his interest in Nature started early; in younger years he loved to walk, run and climb the Scottish hills, observing their wildlife; his home was set in a large, wild garden. National Service in 1948-49 was spent as a Gordon Highlander in The Gambia, seconded to the West African Frontier Force. At the University of Cambridge (St Johns) he read Geology and Geography, then to graduate studies at the University of Chicago.
In the 1950s Alick was involved with the Gurdjieff/ Ouspensky work groups and in the 1960s and ‘70s was active with the heady early days of the Human Potential Movement in New York, London and Edinburgh. This personal quest, together with professional psychological training, laid the foundations for his desire to participate through his publishing initiatives in the dramatic changes taking place in society.
His half century in publishing started in 1953. After seven years in educational publishing in London and New York, he joined Houghton Mifflin in Boston, and was part of the editorial team that in 1962 published Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The book and author deeply moved him and influenced his future path. This book became the catalyst for many in the emerging environmental movement. [For more on his early influences, see Articles: “In My Own Words” and “Six Publishing Anecdotes”].
In 1971 he founded the Turnstone Press in London, his first book – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – giving the imprint a great launch. [It sold 12 million copies world-wide, 2 million through Turnstone & Pan] Turnstone broke at that time completely new ground, publishing books on earth mysteries & dowsing, radical history & archaeology, ecology, metaphysics, psychology & parapsychology, reincarnation studies, alternative lifestyles, health & healing and herbalism, by authors such as: J.G. Bennett, P.D.Ouspensky, Sir George Trevelyan, Reshad Field, David Spangler, Roberto Assagioli, Lawrence LeShan, John Seymour, Arthur Guirdham, Charles Hapgood, Richard Bach, Tom Graves and Olof Alexandersson. Its pioneering vision was to reconcile the scientific with a spiritual worldview and with practical self-help. In 1979 Thorsons Publishers bought the list. That year Alick started training as a Transpersonal Psychology therapist, going on to practise privately. For eight years he was also part of the therapy team at the ground-breaking Bristol Cancer Help Centre.
In 1984 he started Gateway Books in Bath. This list partly continued the Turnstone vision, but introduced new scientific paradigms, such as a study of the crop circle phenomenon, the scientific evidence for geological catastrophism, and Mae-Wan Ho’s critique of genetic engineering. Alick had come across Viktor Schauberger’s research in 1978. In 1992 Gateway followed Turnstone’s publication of Alexandersson’s Living Water by commissioning Callum Coats to translate and write five books on Schauberger’s research which were published in the following ten years. There was a strong stream of books on holistic and alternative themes: from Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi, Fida Hassnain, Winifred Rushforth, Alan Bleakley, Jessica Macbeth, David Icke, Viktor Schauberger, Stephen Levine and Dolores Cannon. In 1999 most of the list was taken over by Gill Macmillan of Dublin, but he retained the Gateway Books and Schauberger Books imprints.
Alick Bartholomew was the editor of Crop Circles – Harbingers of World Change (1991), and co-author with his wife, Mari, of Kombucha Tea for your Health and Healing (1994). The Schauberger Keys came out in 2002. In 2003 Floris Books published Hidden Nature – The Startling Insights of Viktor Schauberger. Alick is a member of The Scientific and Medical Network, The British Society of Dowsers and The Water Association. He has two daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.
His latest work is published in the UK by Floris Books as The Story of Water, Source of Life and in the USA by Inner Traditions as The Spiritual Life of Water, its Power & Purpose.