By Helen Fessenden - 04/19/07 07:17 PM EDT
Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe. Einstein is considered the late bloomer par excellence, a genius who flourished only when free of the constraints of rote learning. Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute and former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time, maps out the scientist’s extraordinary life and explains in this ambitious biography how Einstein’s imagination had its origins in his rebellious nature. 7 p.m. Olsson’s Crystal City, 2200 Crystal Dr., Arlington, Va., (703) 413-8121.
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Hamid’s spare novel tells the story of how a young Princeton-educated Pakistani, Changez, morphs from a successful Manhattan professional into a man seething with anger toward America. The book is not just a personal tale about the genesis of hatred but a broader discussion of U.S.-Muslim relations after Sept. 11. 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, (202) 364-1919.
Linda Bridges, Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement. Buckley may have parted ways with the Bush administration on the Iraq war, but he remains a seminal figure for modern American conservatism. Bridges’s book, co-authored with John R. Coyne, narrates both the personal and political story. Bridges knows her subject well, having worked at Buckley’s National Review most of her career. 1 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, (202) 364-1919.
Jonathan Cohn, Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price. The New Republic’s Cohn makes the case for universal healthcare — something his own magazine vigorously opposed in the early Clinton years — by arguing that the current patchwork system of HMOs and employer-backed plans is too inefficient, too costly, and denies coverage to millions of Americans. 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, (202) 364-1919.
Steven Bach, Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl. In taking on Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite filmmaker and personal propagandist, Bach tackles the age-old question of whether art can succeed without a moral dimension. A relentless Nazi opportunist who used slave labor for her work and later wholly reinvented herself, Riefenstahl also happened to make two of the most influential films of the 20th century, “Triumph of the Will” and “Olympia.” 7 p.m. Olsson’s at The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter, 418 7th St., NW, (202) 638-7610.
Compiled by Helen Fessenden. Future book events may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org