A Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, he published biographies of , Sr. and Alexander Hamilton, among other historical and political figures. He received the National Book Award for The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance.
He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1970.
He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Washington: A Life.
He was married to Valerie S. Chernow from 1979 until her death in 2006.
His biography of Alexander Hamilton was nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle Award in 2004.