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Historian Simon Schama has become one of America’s few popular intellectuals, and it’s easy to understand why: He writes history that—no disrespect intended—sounds like great dinner party conversation. In his 1989 best-seller Citizens, Schama untangled the mess of the French Revolution anecdote by colorful anecdote. His current Landscape and Memory is also a monumental book that reads as quickly as a novel, and though Schama’s conclusion—man invented the idea of “nature”—is hardly startling, he has collected stories about Sherwood Forest, Mount Rushmore, and the fountains of Rome that are a lot more fun than anything I ever read in Mr. McCune’s 12th-grade history class. At 6 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 8th & Independence Ave. SW. $12. For reservations call (202) 357-3030. (David Plotz)