Michael Richard Beschloss (born November 30, 1955) is an American historian. A specialist in the United States presidency, he is the author of nine books.
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.
Beschloss has been a frequent 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 board of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. He has been a trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), the Urban Institute, the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He also sits on the advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was a 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. He started a Twitter account, @BeschlossDC, in October 2012. It appears on Time magazine's list of "Best Twitter Feeds of 2013". He also contributes columns on history to The New York Times.
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". He has also received the Williams College Bicentennial Medal, the State of Illinois's Order of Lincoln (the State's Highest Honor), the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, the Ambassador Book Prize, the Rutgers University Living History Award, the New York State Archives History Award and the Founders Award of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He has received honorary doctorates from Lafayette College, Williams College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Saint Peter's College, Governors State University and Allegheny College.
Michael Beschloss was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2004 in the area of Communications and Education.
Beschloss is married to Iranian-born Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, who is President and CEO of the Rock Creek Group, a Washington, D.C. 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. 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. They also attended the Clinton White House dinner celebrating the 200th anniversary of the White House on November 9, 2000. They were guests of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House dinner for Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on November 2, 2005.