Thatcher intermingles in-depth policy discussions with informative accounts of her relationships with other MP's and associates in this interesting account of her years as Prime Minister. With Thatcher leading a revived Tory party conservative policies are given an authority that they did not always have with Heath or Major (though to be fair, their periods in office were somewhat different.) Persuasiveness matched with occasional flashes of keen insight characterize this book's better moments. What she truly did well is here - a crusader against the Soviet Bloc, moderating union power, and privitizing nationalized industry. Explanations of these and other issues are intertwined among a broad spectrum of historical narrative.
Margaret whipped some unnecessarily bureaucratic mindsets into line, and more streamlined governing was the result - one interesting proof of that shift can be seen after Blair came to power; he moved the labour party right, abandoning several of His parties far left ideas which Thatcher's successes discredited.
Margaret generally made good headway during her tour as PM, but she never really had absolutely clear sailing - we are given several glimpses of what seems to be a rotating set of her own MP's displeased with some aspect of her leadership. Its a sad and fast paced accounting that Mrs. Thatcher gives of her final period days in Number 10. We would all hurry through our embarrassing moments, but to her credit she lingers long enough to give the story - of her Downing Street Years - a proper and not-so-happy ending. Her words just before the final vote - "I fight on, I fight to win," - I remember well.
Some will perhaps underestimate Thatchers ultimate influence. This work is a good, though not perfect, reminder of that influence and history. It is interesting to read of her late night debates with Gorbachev at Number 10, Husband Dennis' advice, her relationship with Mr. Reagan, speech preparation and policy "white papers", and her rotating inner-circle. As I have mentioned in another review ("Path to Power") it is a bit sad to read of several of her Tory MP confidants falling out of her favor. One is given view's of a variety of policy battles in "Path," while there tends to be more expression given to policy formulation and refinement in "Downing Street". All the narrative on her travels and relations with foreign leaders has its place, but it never seems to overshadow her most effective role as policy maker and communicator. In "The Downing Street Years," Mrs. Thatcher extends that role in a thought provoking and memorable way.