Sunday, November 5, 2017

November 2017

Saving Monticello: The Newsletter
The latest about the book, author events, and more
Newsletter Editor - Marc Leepson

Volume XIV, Number 11                                                                   November 1, 2017

WORLD HERITAGE: Can you name the only residential structure in the United States listed as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site? Hint: It’s also the only presidential home in the U.S. on the list.
No shock to readers of this newsletter that the singular site is Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Jefferson’s “Essay in Architecture” was named to UNESCO prestigious list of worldwide sites in 1987, along with another of his architectural achievements, the University of Virginia’s original grounds, what Jefferson called his “Academical Village.”
UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization—began the World Heritage site program in 1972. Since then, scores of landmarks—mostly geographic areas—across the globe have been added to the list. World Heritage site buildings are chosen, UNESCO says, because of their “architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape.” They also must be “of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science,” represent “a masterpiece of human creative genius,” and exhibit “an impor­tant interchange of human values.”

All World Heritage sites are deemed “of outstanding universal value.” They include—to name a few—the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and Yellowstone, Everglades, Grand Canyon, and Mesa Verde National Parks in this country; Machu Picchu in Peru; Mount Kenya National Park; the Historic Center of Florence in Italy; the Taj Mahal; the Acropolis in Athens, Chartres Cathedral and Mont St. Michel in France; the Great Wall in China, and the Sydney Opera House; and Monticello. All are deemed by UNESCO as sites for the “international community” to protect.

Why is UNESCO in the news now? You may have heard that on October 12 the White House announced that the United States will withdraw from UNESCO at the end of 2018. The reason: what the present presidential administration deems its “anti-Israel bias,” along with the fact that UNESCO is in need of “fundamental reform.” The nation of Israel also announced it was leaving UNESCO.

Not surprisingly, the news of pending U.S. abandonment of UNESCO did not go over well at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello. According to an article in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, the Foundation was “disappointed” with the announcement.

“This decision will have no impact on Monticello’s inscription on the World Heritage Site List, nor on our commitment to jointly host with UNESCO an international symposium on the interpretation of slavery, in Charlottesville, in 2018,” the foundation said in a statement.

“UNESCO is a global steward of world culture that bridges, celebrates and protects the rich diversity of human creative genius,” the foundation also pointed out. 

For more, go to

EVENTS: Here’s a rundown on my November speaking events, including talks on Saving Monticello. For info on my new book, Ballad of the Green Beret, please go to

·         Tuesday, November 14  – Talk on Saving Monticello and book signing for the Colonial Daughters’ Ancient Planters Chapter meeting Fair Oaks, Virginia
·         Thursday, November 16 - Talk on What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key a Life and book signing at the monthly meeting of the Stone Bridge DAR Chapter in Ashburn, Virginia
·         Tuesday, November 28  – Talk on Saving Monticello and book signing at the monthly meeting of the George Mason DAR Chapter, Springfield, Virginia

If you’d like to arrange an event for Saving Monticello—or for any of my other books, including Ballad of the Green Beret—please email me at

For details on other upcoming events, go to

GIFT IDEASWant a personally autographed, brand-new paperback copy of Saving Monticello? Please e-mail me at I also have a few as-new, unopened hardcover copies.
Or go to to order copies through my local bookstore, Second Chapter Books in Middleburg, Virginia. We also have copies of Desperate Engagement, Flag, Lafayette, and What So Proudly We Hailed, and Ballad of the Green Beret.