Speaking of books

TONIGHT Dan Gilgoff, The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War. Gilgoff argues that evangelical megastar Dobson built his success the old-fashioned way — from the ground up. Dobson’s group morphed into a political powerhouse only after it had become a trusted name among Christians who turned to it for day-to-day advice. 7 p.m. Olsson’s at The Lansburgh/ Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. N.W., (202) 638-7610. MARCH 16 Giuliana Sgrena, Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent and Shot by U.S. Forces. Sgrena was an Iraq correspondent for Italy’s Il Manifesto when insurgents kidnapped her in early 2005. A month later, on the day of her release, U.S. soldiers fired on her car, killing the Italian military intelligence officer protecting her. Her sharp polemic provides fresh details on that day and a heaping dose of anger against those she holds responsible, including U.S. policymakers. 4 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W., (202) 364-1919. MARCH 19 Ismeal Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Beah’s story stands out as a rare happy ending in one of Africa’s most horrific recent wars. He was drafted into Sierra Leone’s army at age 12, rescued by UNICEF at 15 and taken to the U.S. at 17, graduating from Oberlin College three years ago. His book has dazzled reviewers and secured a distribution deal from Starbucks. 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W., (202) 364-1919. MARCH 22 Kevin Flynn, Relentless Pursuit: A Story of Family, Murder and the Prosecutor Who Wouldn’t Quit. Flynn took on the case of Diane Hawkins and her daughter Katrina, who were murdered in their Washington home in 1993. The prime suspect was Diane’s ex-boyfriend. As his book explains, Flynn found out he had a lot more in common with the subject of his investigation than he thought. 7 p.m. Olsson’s at The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. N.W. (202) 638-7610. MARCH 23 Susan Coll, Acceptance: A Novel. The college-admissions game has been raked over in thousands of how-to guides and magazines, but Coll takes it a step further in devising a witty social satire. The ups and downs of the seniors in her story are mixed up with contemporary references (Hurricane Katrina, the Larry Summers controversy at Harvard), making it a novel that offers something for everyone. 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave N.W., (202) 364-1919.