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Michael Beschloss
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Michael Beschloss

CITA Michael Beschloss

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Moderator: Award-winning Chicago-based journalist and host of "Afternoon Shift" on WBEZ, Steve Edwards

Michael Beschloss has written nine books on American Presidents.  The New York Times Book Review has recently called him "clearly the most widely recognized presidential historian in the nation." The International Herald Tribune has recently called him "a national treasure."

Beschloss' most recent two books, Presidential Courage (2007) and The Conquerors (2002), were both on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Presidential Courage was #1 on the Washington Post bestseller list. The Conquerors was Amazon.com's top bestselling history book of the year.

Of Presidential Courage, the New York Times Book Review said, "Most presidential historians ... content themselves with writing biographies of individual presidents. ... And Beschloss has done that too ... But if any book can be said to epitomize the genre of presidential history, Presidential Courage does." Of The Conquerors, the New York Times Book Review said, "There is not a dull page."

Beschloss' previous books include two volumes on Lyndon Johnson's secret tapes, which a New York Times editorial called "an important event," and The Crisis Years, which David Remnick in the New Yorker called the "definitive" history of John Kennedy and the Cold War. Beschloss is currently writing a history of American presidents during wartime. Beschloss serves as NBC News presidential historian, appearing regularly on all NBC News programs, and is a commentator on the "PBS NewsHour."  

Born in Chicago, Beschloss is an alumnus of Eaglebrook School, Phillips Academy (Andover), Williams College and the Harvard Business School. He holds five honorary doctorates and frequently lectures both here and abroad. He has served as a senior associate member at St. Antony's College (University of Oxford), a visiting fellow at the Harvard Russian Research Center and a senior fellow at the Annenberg Foundation.

In 2005, he won an Emmy for his role in creating the Discovery Channel's "Decisions That Shook the World," of which he was host. He has also received the Ambassador Book Prize, the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, the State of Illinois's Order of Lincoln and the New York State Archives History Award. He is a trustee of Maret School, the White House Historical Association and the National Archives Foundation and a former trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), the Urban Institute and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Afsaneh, CEO of the hedge fund The Rock Creek Group, and their two sons, Alexander, 17, and Cyrus, 15.

Steve EdwardsSteve Edwards is an award-winning Chicago-based journalist and interviewer. 

He’s currently the host of "Afternoon Shift," a daily conversation about news, culture and ideas at WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR member station.

The show marks a return to the air for Edwards, who most recently spent several years as director of content development and program director at WBEZ.

From 1999-2008, he served as host of "Eight Forty-Eight," WBEZ’s acclaimed weekday news magazine program.  During his tenure, "Eight-Forty-Eight" was named “Best Public Affairs Program” by Chicago Magazine, and “Best Weekly Program” by public radio stations nationwide.

Edwards has also served as the moderator of numerous statewide political debates, hosted the weekly political show the "Best Game in Town," and was the correspondent for a BBC World Service documentary on the culture of political corruption in Chicago.

Edwards is the recipient of numerous journalism honors, including the Grand Award in the radio category from the National Headliner Club and a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace fellowship for mid-career journalists at the University of Michigan.  

He has a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College.

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