Michael Beschloss is an award-winning historian of the American Presidency and the author of eight books, including his most recent work, bestseller Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989.
Called "the nation's leading Presidential historian," by Newsweek, Beschloss has made history himself, serving as the first Presidential Historian for NBC News—the first time any major network has created such a position. Appearing regularly on Meet the Press, The Today Show, and all NBC network programs, he provides expert analysis of the executive branch and is often featured on PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2005, he won an Emmy for his role in creating and hosting the Discovery Channel series Decisions that Shook the World.
His New York Times best-seller The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 was lauded as "vigorously written" about "history as it was spoken at the time, and there is not a dull page," in a front-page review in The New York Times Book Review. Amazon.com also praised it as one of its best-selling history books of the year.
Beschloss debut of a highly praised trilogy of best-selling books on the first year of Lyndon Johnson's presidency and the newly-released secret tapes, Taking Charge was called "sheer marvelous history" by The Wall Street Journal and "an important event" by The New York Times. The second volume, Reaching for Glory, was called "an incomparable portrait of a President at work" by The New York Times Book Review.
Beschloss's first book, Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance, started as his senior honors thesis at Williams College. His book, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair, was called "a grand narrative...crowded with well-drawn portraits" by The New Yorker. The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963, which won the Ambassador Book Prize was heralded by The New Yorker as the "definitive" book on John F. Kennedy and the Cold War.
Beschloss co-wrote At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War with Strobe Talbott. As literary executor for the late Newsweek columnist Meg Greenfield, he edited her posthumously-published book Washington, which was a New York Times best-seller. He is now working on a history of Abraham Lincoln's last days and his assassination.
An alumnus of Eaglebrook School, Andover, Williams College and Harvard University, Beschloss has been an historian on the staff of the Smithsonian Institution, a Senior Associate Member at Oxford University in England, and a Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Foundation in Washington, DC.
In the spirit of the season, a home run! Michael Beschloss was charming, funny and informative, and he kept the crowd rapt. Hit all the right notes. Thanks to you and all at WSB for your professionalism and responsiveness throughout.