Michael Beschloss

Michael Beschloss
Michael Beschloss
Born November 30, 1955 (1955-11-30) (age 55)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Historian
Nationality American
Subjects United States presidency
Spouse(s) Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss

Michael Richard Beschloss[1] (born November 30, 1955) is an American historian. A specialist in the United States presidency, he is the author of nine books.


Early life

Beschloss was born in Chicago, grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois, and was educated at Eaglebrook School, Andover, Williams College and Harvard University. He majored in political science, working under James MacGregor Burns at Williams, from which he graduated with Highest Honors, and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, with the original intention of writing history while serving as a foundation executive.[2]


Beschloss is a regular commentator on the PBS NewsHour and is the NBC News Presidential Historian. He is a trustee of the White House Historical Association and the National Archives Foundation and he also sits on the boards of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. He was formerly a trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), the Urban Institute and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He also sits on the advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and is a former member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. He has served as a historian at the Smithsonian Institution, a Senior Associate Member at St. Antony's College (University of Oxford), a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University Russian Research Center, a Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Foundation and a Montgomery Fellow and Dorsett Fellow at Dartmouth College.

Beschloss has appeared on The Daily Show in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010. He was portrayed by Chris Kattan on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on February 14, 1998.[3]


Beschloss received a 2005 News & Documentary Emmy Award for the Discovery Channel's Decisions That Shook the World, of which he was the host; the category was "Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research."[4] He has also received the Williams College Bicentennial Medal, the State of Illinois's Order of Lincoln, the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, the Ambassador Book Prize and the New York State Archives History Award. He has received honorary doctorates from Lafayette College, Williams College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Saint Peter's College and Governors State University.[citation needed]


In recent years, he has lectured at numerous colleges and universities,[citation needed] including Dartmouth, Northwestern, University of Virginia, University of Texas, Ohio State, Purdue, Texas A & M, Rutgers, University of Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Indiana University, Auburn, Texas Christian University, University of Kansas, University of Oklahoma, Kansas State, Louisiana State, Ohio University, Seton Hall, Penn State, Virginia Military Institute, University of Georgia, Drake University, Lawrence University, Creighton University, Colorado College, Illinois State, Gettysburg College, University of Illinois, University of Nevada at Reno, University of Arkansas, West Virginia University, Loyola University of Chicago, Elon College and University of Kentucky, among others. He has also lectured at the Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton Presidential Libraries.

In June 2011, Beschloss gave a history lecture to senior members of the White House staff at Fort McNair, at which he answered a question about the history of U.S. presidential re-election campaigns during periods of high unemployment.[5]

Personal life

Beschloss is married to Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, who is President and CEO of The Rock Creek Group, a Washington, DC, hedge fund, former treasurer and chief investment officer of the World Bank, and a current trustee of the Ford Foundation and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The couple are advisory board members of Resources for Inner City Children.[6] Beschloss and his wife were guests of President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House dinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair on February 5, 1998.[7] They also attended the Clintons' White House dinner celebrating the 200th anniversary of the White House on November 9, 2000.[8] They were guests of President and Mrs. Bush at the White House dinner for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on November 2, 2005.[9]


  • Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (2011), introduced and annotated by Beschloss, was a #1 New York Times bestseller.
  • Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How they Changed America, 1789-1989 (2007) was a New York Times bestseller for several months and was a #1 Washington Post bestseller.
  • The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 (2002) was a New York Times bestseller for several months and was Amazon's bestselling history book of the year.
  • Taking Charge (1997) and Reaching for Glory (2001), edited transcriptions of Lyndon Johnson's conversations, as captured by his taping system, with historical annotation and commentary. A third Johnson volume is forthcoming.
  • At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (1993); with Strobe Talbott.
  • The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963 (1991)
  • Eisenhower: A Centennial Life (1990)
  • Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair (1986)
  • Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance (1980); started as Beschloss's senior honors thesis at Williams College.

Beschloss is also the editor of Washington by Meg Greenfield (2001) and Essays in Honor of James MacGregor Burns (with Thomas Cronin) (1988).

President Clinton told People Magazine in December 1997 that the first audiobook he had ever listened to was Taking Charge by Michael Beschloss.[10] In Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, President George W. Bush is quoted as telling the author Elie Wiesel in February 2003, "I read your views on Auschwitz in Michael Beschloss's book," referring to The Conquerors.[11] Bush also refers to Beschloss's book "Presidential Courage" in his 2010 memoir, "Decision Points." [12]

John Frankenheimer's last film, "Path to War" (HBO, 2002), starring Donald Sutherland and Michael Gambon, was based in part on Beschloss's two books on Lyndon Johnson.[13]


  1. ^ "Michael Beschloss". illinoisauthors.org. Illinois Center for the Book/Illinois State Library. http://www.illinoisauthors.org/authors/Michael_Richard_Beschloss. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  2. ^ C-SPAN, "Booknotes," June 21, 1991.
  3. ^ Saturday Night Live, February 14, 1998.
  4. ^ "Awards for Decisions That Shook the World". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433283/awards. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  5. ^ NPR, Weekend Edition Sunday, September 18, 2011, Time Magazine, September 12, 2011, Scherer, Michael (August 31, 2011). "Team Obama Finds Hope for 2012 in a History Lesson". Swampland (blog). Time. http://swampland.time.com/2011/08/31/team-obama-finds-hope-for-2012-in-a-history-lesson/. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  6. ^ "Supporters, Partners, Board". Resources for Inner City Children. http://www.resourcesforinnercitychildren.org/friends.html. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  7. ^ Washington Post, February 6, 1998.
  8. ^ Washington Post, November 10, 2000.
  9. ^ Washington Post, November 3, 2005.
  10. ^ People Magazine, December 29, 1997.
  11. ^ Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 320.
  12. ^ George W. Bush, Decision Points, pp. 121-122.
  13. ^ "Path to War" (2002), Internet Movie Database.

External links

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