Jay Winik is one of the nation’s leading public historians, renowned for his gifted and creative approaches to history; an acclaimed best-selling writer; and a frequent television and radio guest. He is the author of the award-winning, April 1865, which was a New York Times and number one national bestseller. One of those rare books to be considered an instant classic, April 1865 received wide international acclaim and became an award-winning History Channel documentary special, watched by more than 35 million people. It has even been an answer on the popular game show Jeopardy! His most recent book, The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, was a New York Times bestseller, was glowingly reviewed by three distinguished Pulitzer Prize winners, and was selected as a Best Book of the Year by USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, and the prestigious Financial Times of London. A regular contributor of history reviews to The Wall Street Journal, Winik’s writing also appears frequently in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Among the nation’s historians, Winik uniquely stands at the nexus of history and politics: President Bill Clinton, an avid fan, has given copies of April 1865 as gifts and discussed Lincoln at length with Winik, while president George W. Bush carried April 1865 with him to camp David following the 9/11 attacks and in 2008 had a one-on-one lunch with Winik. On the eve of the bombing campaign against Afghanistan, VP Cheney had Winik to dinner to discuss lessons from history for the war in terror, and Winik has discussed both his works at length with Majority Leader Harry Reid. Winik has been the subject of major media features around the world, ranging from the New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and the Washington Post. His readers include a wide cross-section of America, such as moviemakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the last three presidents, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer, the late Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Secretaries of State Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton, baseball superstar Mike Piazza and tennis superstar Andre Agassi, as well as Carlos Slim, the world's richest man.
He serves on a number of boards having to do with history and education, including for American Heritage magazine and the National Endowment for the Humanities, a presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation. An elected Fellow of the Society of American Historians, he lives with his wife, Lyric, the writer, and their two sons, in Chevy Chase, MD.