By Helen Fessenden - 02/07/08 05:37 PM EST
Orville Vernon Burton, The Age of Lincoln. Historian Burton argues that President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy went beyond the abolition of slavery to encompass an even broader achievement: guaranteeing personal liberty through a body of law. His book also provides a sweeping view of the politics, economics and culture of the Civil War era. 2 p.m. Donald Reynolds Center Bookstore, 801 G St. NW, 202-633-5450.
Laton McCartney, The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country. This is a story of Washington influence-peddling that would make even Jack Abramoff blush. McCartney describes how oilmen helped bring President Warren Harding to power in 1920 and then used their influence — through his Cabinet, his government, the press and the Republican Party — to access oil reserves that has been slated for the Navy. 7 p.m. Olsson’s at Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. NW, 202-638-7610.
Charles Ferguson, No End in Sight: Iraq’s Descent Into Chaos. Ferguson’s 2007 documentary by the same name was nominated for an Oscar for its careful but brutal dissection of U.S. postwar planning for Iraq. He has now written a book that offers more material on how Iraq fell apart following those heady first days after U.S. troops marched into Baghdad. 8 p.m. Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. Sponsored by Politics & Prose, 202-364-1919.
Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul. Through one family’s experience, Shafak’s novel unpacks the history between Turks and Armenians. The protagonist, Amy, grows up in the western U.S. but wants to explore her Turkish roots. Meanwhile, her cousin Asya in Istanbul tries to balance tradition and modernity in a family dominated by strong, colorful women. This book’s use of the term “genocide” to describe the Armenian tragedy drew the ire of Turkish authorities, who tried Shafak for “insulting Turkishness.” 7 p.m. Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-364-1919.
Alex Berenson, The Ghost War. By day, Berenson is a reporter for The New York Times. By night, he writes novels about spooks. In his latest work, he chronicles the story of John Wells, the only CIA agent who ever penetrated al Qaeda, as he is sent back to Afghanistan to investigate a surge in Taliban activity. But his mission soon takes on much more global, and dangerous, challenges. 7 p.m., at Olsson’s-Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. NW, 202-638-7610.
Compiled by Helen Fessenden. Future book events may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org