The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher, from Grocer's Daughter to Prime Minister
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The Iron Lady, the definitive Margaret Thatcher biography, is available just in time for the movie starring Meryl Streep as one of the most infamous figures in postwar politics.
Whether you love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher's impact on twentieth-century history is undeniable. From her humble, small-town upbringing to her rise to power as the United Kingdom's first female prime minister, to her dramatic fall from grace after more than three decades of service, celebrated biographer John Campbell delves into the story of this fascinating woman's life as no one has before. The result of more than nine years of meticulous research, The Iron Lady is the only balanced, unvarnished portrait of Margaret Thatcher, one of the most vital and controversial political figures of our time.
was the heroic period of privatisation, with the successful sell-off of whole utilities undreamed of in the first term; it was the time of deregulation in the City of London – the so-called ‘Big Bang’ – when quick fortunes were suddenly there to be made by young men in red braces known to the press as ‘yuppies’; a time of tax cuts, easy credit and rapidly increased spending power for the fortunate majority able to enjoy it, leading to a heady consumer boom which helped float the Government back
this almost certainly exaggerates her role. The truth is that the Americans were already reassessing their own approach, at least from the time Shultz became Secretary of State, and Reagan personally was as keen as she was to engage the Soviet leaders. From the moment he became President he sent a series of handwritten letters to his opposite numbers in Moscow, trying to strike a human response. From Brezhnev and Andropov he received only formal replies, but he did not give up.87 When Mrs
she became increasingly irrational and harder to deal with. Ministers would look forward to a vigorous discussion, one recalled, only to find themselves subjected to a one-sided tirade: they became afraid to mention this or that subject for fear of setting her off on some hobby horse.4 Her briefing was now not always so well focused. Mrs Thatcher prided herself on liking a good argument; but she argued to win – or, as she told Nigel Lawson bluntly during their difference about the exchange rate
Community. Second, she was afraid that a neutral or demilitarised Germany would leave a gaping hole in NATO’s defences against a still-nuclear Soviet Union.Third, she feared that the loss of East Germany (and the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact generally) might destroy Gorbachev and thus jeopardise the biggest prize of all, democracy in the USSR. All these were rational arguments for caution. But they were underpinned in Mrs Thatcher’s mind by another, inadmissible reason – her virulent and
invasion of Iraq, in defiance of most of his party, public opinion and the United Nations. She herself at the height of her relationship with Ronald Reagan was never obedient to American leadership. r On the specific question of Iraq she wrote, ‘There will be no peace and security in the region until Saddam is toppled.’ She was hesitant about attacking him unless he could be shown to have been involved in the atrocities of 11 September. ‘But if he was, he must be made to pay the price.’62