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Michael  Beschloss

Michael Beschloss

Award-Winning Historian & Best-Selling Author


Michael Beschloss is an award-winning historian of the Presidency and the author of eight books, including the bestseller Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989. His most recent book is Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Beschloss writes a sports history column that appears in The New York Times both in print and online every Satruday, called HistorySource. Read More >

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, The Daily 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 bestseller 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.

In his keynotes, Michael Beschloss imparts his unique wisdom on the Presidency, sharing the leadership skills that led to various presidents’ successes with corporate as well as general audiences.

Beschloss’ debut, Taking Charge—a highly praised trilogy of best-selling books on the first year of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency and the newly released secret tapes—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’ 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 bestseller.

An alumnus of Williams College and Harvard University, Beschloss has been a 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. He has 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, the New York State Archives History Award and was named to Time Magazine’s list of “Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.” He has received honorary doctorates from Lafayette College, Williams College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Saint Peter's College, and Governors State University. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Michael Beschloss on Presidential Sites

Commencement Speech

Speech Topics

Leadership from the Boardroom to the Oval Office

Drawing on his years studying leadership at the Harvard Business School and as a presidential historian, speaker Michael Beschloss picks the most brilliant successes and the most lethal mistakes made in business and politics and shows audiences what they can teach us. He customizes each presentation according to his audience.

The Washington You're Not Hearing About

Using presidents, Supreme Court justices, diplomats, and members of Congress as examples and drawing on his quarter-century in the capital, speaker Michael Beschloss reveals the hidden side of important personalities and behind-the-scenes developments that may soon have a major impact on your life.

Presidential Courage

What makes a great US president? Speaker Michael Beschloss believes the answer is "presidential courage": the willingness to take a political risk that might end a president's career and the wisdom to do that for reasons that later Americans will admire. In a presentation based on his book Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989, Beschloss describes crucial times when courageous presidents took such risks and overcame obstacles to dramatically change the future of the United States. From George Washington to Ronald Reagan, the presidents Beschloss focuses on addressed some of the most paramount, abiding issues in American history - war and peace, human rights, and the proper balance between government and business. A natural storyteller, Beschloss details the outstanding traits of these presidents and compares them to the current crop of presidential candidates, offering an insightful glance into America's political future. He also translates what he has discovered about presidential courage into leadership lessons for all of us.

Great Presidents Past & Present

As a master in his field, speaker Michael Beschloss brings inspiring, humorous, and tragic never-before-told stories of American presidents - from George Washington to George W. Bush - as they struggle with war, peace, and domestic crisis. He reveals the qualities that have made great presidents in history and shows how to find leaders who have them now in politics, business, and civic life.

Books & Media


Jacqueline Kennedy