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Thomas E. Ricks

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom

Penguin Press

Two more disparate personalities there hardly could have been, but as author Ricks observes, Winston Churchill and George Orwell followed curiously parallel paths. Orwell’s romantic view of communism and Churchill’s idealized British imperium were both doomed to shatter, and Ricks makes a number of intriguing connections along the way. Orwell drew dark inspiration from events of the 20th century (which Churchill greatly influenced) to create Animal Farm (the Russian Revolution and the purge of Trotskyism) and 1984 (the 1943 Tehran Conference and Stalinist USSR). Churchill reportedly read 1984 twice. The book’s hero—Winston Smith—was certainly not named at random.

– Bruce Collier




Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies

Narrated by Joe Mantegna

A real treat for Spenser fans, one of the best in the series since Atkins took over for the late great Parker. The Boston P.I.’s sidekick Hawk gets a lot of action in this installment, always a guarantee for success. Mantegna’s performance is, as always, spot on, and these novels always give me at least a half-dozen ideas for my next trip to the wine and spirits store.

Jeffrey Tambor

Are You Anybody?

Narrated by the Author

A masterful memoir that finds the right balance between heartbreak and triumph, and if you’re even a little interested in Tambor’s story (or, for that matter, acting), the audiobook is the only way to go. The Emmy-award winning actor has been at it for 50-plus years, but he reached late-career heights on three of the finest TV shows of my lifetime—The Larry Sanders Show, Arrested Development and Transparent. And now Tambor can add a fourth great performance to his credits.

– Chris Manson
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