News and Events

The Columbia Review Releases a Review of Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment – Background Notes April 15 2015

From the author of “Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment – Paris 1785” (Commonwealth Books of Virginia, 2014) comes this wonderful companion volume of eighteen closely related assays: “Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment – Background Notes” by James C. Thompson (Commonwealth Books of Virginia, 2015).

As the author explains in his Opening Comment, in “Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment – Paris 1785” he sought to show “how the self- described savage from the mountains of America became immersed in the world’s most cultivated and elegant society.” On that journey, Jefferson is in Paris bearing close witness as the Assembly of Notables completes the process leading to the end of France’s bankrupt monarchy and the onset of a French constitutional government.

In this book, modestly entitled as “Background Notes,” Thompson beautifully enriches the first book with extensive commentaries, details and supplemental information.

The first seventeen assays expose the reader to various aspects of the Paris that Jefferson experienced from August 1784 to October 1789. Not a man to remain a passive observer, Jefferson immersed himself in the debates over social and economics ideas, the rights of man, and the needed political change. He experienced first hand the historic events as French society collapsed and the people stormed the Bastille. In the process, Jefferson himself was changed forever.

Most fascinating, in the eighteenth and final assay, the author traces the evolution of Jeffersonian historiography through the succeeding two centuries. This last assay contains a meticulous survey and a comprehensive analysis of much of the literature dealing with Jefferson’s philosophy. The author clearly traces the evolution of scholarship in that realm and demonstrates the emergence of a “new Jefferson” – most intriguing!

Many volumes have been written and published about the man who, more than anyone else, fueled the new American republic with his extraordinary intellectual creativity. James C. Thompson, in the two volumes culminating with this “Background Notes,” adds a fascinating, fresh perspective on the development and transformation of Jefferson’s political philosophy and ideological maturity.

Indeed, as the excellent last assay demonstrates, only through studying his Paris experience can we truly understand the man who returned to become the second president of the United States and, in many ways, transformed the nation in fundamental, lasting ways. This is an invaluable book to any student of President Thomas Jefferson, adding a wealth of new details and a deeper understanding of this most brilliant subject. Furthermore, the author’s expansive scholarly scope, coupled with careful substantiation, makes this book richly authentic and highly credible. Excellent!

Reviewed By: Avraham Azrieli
Avraham Azrieli writes novels and screenplays. His website is:

To read more please visit

Commonwealth Books of Virginia is pleased to announce that the translation of Daniel Vaugelade's Comments On Le Rochefoucauld's North American Travels has begun. February 28 2015

Carolyn Yohn of Untangled Translations in Granite Bay, California and Dr. Ivy Dykman, Adjunct Professor of French at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, will work together on the English translation, which is expected to be finished in August.

Comments on the North American Travels of Le Rochefoucauld-Liancourt 1794-1798

The duke was the clearest expositor of what life was like in America in the late-18th century." Professor Patrice Higonnet

(PRWEB) February 26, 2015

Ms Yohn and Dr. Dyckman's translation of Monsieur Vaugelade's work will be the first comprehensive summary of the duc de la Rochefoucauld's North American "voyage" printed in English since the duc’s journals were first published in 1799. Tocqueville scholar Hugh Brogan, Professor Emeritus, University of Essex Colchester, United Kingdom will provide a foreword that places la Rochefoucauld’s massive work in the context of the duc's time.    

Duke Alexandre François de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt fled France at the time of its September Massacres in 1792. He made his way from England to America, where he remained five years. During his self-imposed exile, the duke traveled from “le Haute-Canada” above Lake Ontario to Charleston, South Carolina. He returned to France following the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799, which marked the beginning of the French Consulate and reign of Napoleon.

To read the full release please visit:

Commonwealth Books of Virginia is pleased to introduce Lawrence Melton, a storyteller extraordinaire and the newest member of its author family February 28 2015

Author Lawrence Melton escaped from the supernatural world of the nation’s capital, but not before he encountered Henry Tuckahoe and learned the details of the 200-year old Indian avenger's fearful mission.

Lawrence Melton

"While I was in Washington, I noticed that some behavior was not ethical." Lawrence Melton

(PRWEB) February 26, 2015

About the Author:
Those who know Lawrence Melton agree that he is charming, witty, and extremely bright. These qualities of character survived the twenty years he spent practicing law in the District of Columbia and Virginia. His experience before the DC and Virginia bars did, however, sharpen his powers of observation and his understanding of human nature. He exhibits all of these gifts and skills in "Henry Tuckahoe's War on Washington". After writing this funny and irreverent swan song to life in the nation’s capital, Lawrence and his wife Pamela returned to her home state of South Carolina where Lawrence is an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. When not teaching, Lawrence does what we think he does best, which is to apply his vast talents and wit writing books.

To read the full release please go to: