Bestselling presidential historian Michael Beschloss, most recently the author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How they Changed America, has left Simon & Schuster to sign a deal with Crown, a division of Random House, according to several publishing sources.
Mr. Beschloss’ last book for Simon & Schuster was edited by Michael Korda, who has since retired. Before that, he worked with Alice Mayhew. At Crown, sources said, he will be edited by Sean Desmond.
Mr. Beschloss is the fifth bestselling writer who has recently left Simon & Schuster’s formidable stable of non-fiction authors: Evan Thomas, assistant managing editor of Newsweek, has gone over to Little, Brown; Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine, is now working with Tim Duggan at HarperCollins; James B. Stewart, author of Den of Thieves, is at The Penguin Press; and New York Times columnist David Brooks moved to Random House.
Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg dismissed the notion that those departures were an indication of a larger trend, arguing that it in modern publishing, authors routinely move from house to house.
"That’s the marketplace at work," Mr. Rothberg said. "We make bestselling authors here. Success attracts attention. There’s a whole marketplace of publishers out there who notice the success. They want bestselling authors on their list, and frequently they’re willing to pay a ‘free agent premium’ to attract those authors."
Mr. Rothberg noted that Simon & Schuster has recently renewed existing contracts with Bob Woodward, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Peter Galbraith, and Walter Isaacson, and brought in new authors like Richard Engel, Zachary Karabell, Robert Mnookin, Romesh Ratnesar, Philip Pan, and Richard Schlesinger.
A spokesperson for Crown did not respond to requests for comment.