Jeff Shesol is a historian, communications strategist, speechwriter, and lapsed cartoonist.
A founding partner of West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategy firm, Jeff is the author of Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. The Supreme Court. His previous book, Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy and the Feud That Defined a Decade, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Washington Post Critic’s Choice. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., called Mutual Contempt “the most gripping political book of recent years.” In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani described the book as “riveting…. Writing in sharp, fluent prose, Mr. Shesol does an authoritative job of giving us a vivid, almost novelistic sense of both of his protagonists, while at the same time situating their political stands within a historical context.”
In 1997, President Bill Clinton read Mutual Contempt and invited Jeff to become one of his speechwriters. In his three years at the White House, Jeff became the deputy chief speechwriter and a member of the senior staff. He played a leading role in drafting two State of the Union Addresses, the President’s 2000 Democratic National Convention speech, and the Farewell Address, among hundreds of other speeches. He covered a range of issues from economic policy to global health, the federal budget, and the arts. He also helped lead the team of humor writers — the “Comedy War Room” — responsible for writing the President’s remarks at the Gridiron Club and other humor dinners, as well as producing the mockumentary “The Final Days,” which chronicled the end of the Clinton presidency.
A Rhodes Scholar, Jeff received his masters in history from Oxford University in 1993 and graduated from Brown University in 1991. As a student at Brown, he created the comic strip Thatch, which was nationally syndicated from 1994-1998, when it appeared daily in more than 150 newspapers. In 2002, he served as the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies at Princeton University, where he taught a course on the history of the presidential speech. Jeff publishes widely under his own byline and provides frequent commentary on TV and radio. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Rebecca, and their two children.