Michael Beschloss is an award-winning historian and the best-selling author of numerous books. He also co-authored with Caroline Kennedy the New York Times best seller “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy” (2011).
Newsweek has called Beschloss “the nation’s leading presidential historian.” He is the NBC News Presidential Historian, the first time any major network has created such a position,and appears regularly on Meet the Press, Today, and all NBC network programs. He is a regular commentator on PBS NewsHour. In 2005, he won an Emmy for his role in creating the Discovery Channel series Decisions that Shook the World, of which he was the host.
Beschloss was born in Chicago. An alumnus of Williams College, he also has an advanced degree from the Harvard Business School. He has been an historian on the staff of the Smithsonian Institution (1982-1986), a senior associate member at Oxford University in England (1986-1987) and a senior fellow of the Annenberg Foundation in Washington, D.C. (1988-1996).
In 2007, Simon and Schuster published his best-selling book, “Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989.” “Taking Charge” (Simon & Schuster, 1997) Beschloss’ first volume on President Lyndon Johnson’s newly released secret tapes and the sequel, “Reaching for Glory” (Simon & Schuster, 2001), were both national best sellers.
Beschloss’ first book, “Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance” (Norton, 1980), started as his senior honors thesis at Williams College. “Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair” (Harper, 1986), was called “a grand narrative…crowded with well-drawn portraits” by The New Yorker. “The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963” (HarperCollins, 1991), won the Ambassador Book Prize and was called by The New Yorker the “definitive” history of John Kennedy and the Cold War. Beschloss also co-wrote “At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War” (Little, Brown, 1993) with Strobe Talbott. As literary executor for the late Newsweek columnist Meg Greenfield, he edited Greenfield’s posthumously published book Washington (PublicAffairs, 2001).
Beschloss holds honorary doctorates from Williams College, St. Mary’s College (Maryland) and Lafayette College. He has also received the State of Illinois’s Order of Lincoln and the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from Independence, Missouri. He is a trustee of the White House Historical Association, the National Archives Foundation and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their two sons.