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Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality [Paperback]

Jonathan Aitken
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 April 2014
As Britain s first woman Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought about the biggest social and political revolution in the nation s post-war history. She achieved this largely by the driving force of her personality a subject of endless speculation among both her friends and her foes.

Jonathan Aitken has an insider s view of Margaret Thatcher s story. He is well qualified to explore her strong and sometimes difficult personality during half a century of political dramas. From first meeting her when she was a junior shadow minister in the mid 1960s, during her time as leader of the Opposition when he was a close family friend, and as a Member of Parliament throughout her years in power, Aitken had a ring side seat at many private and public spectacles in the Margaret Thatcher saga.

From his unique vantage point, Aitken brings new light to many crucial episodes of Thatcherism. They include her ousting of Ted Heath, her battles with her Cabinet, the Falklands War, the Miners Strike, her relationships with world leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the build up to the Shakespearian coup inside the Conservative Party which brought about her downfall.

Drawing on his own diaries, and a wealth of extensive research including some ninety interviews which range from international statesmen like Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and Lord Carrington to many of her No.10 private secretaries and personal friends, Jonathan Aitken s Margaret Thatcher Power and Personality breaks new ground as a fresh and fascinating portrait of the most influential political leader of post-war Britain.

Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum (10 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472909208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472909206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The most readable, most entertaining book on Thatcher I ve read, and probably the most illuminating. - Alwyn Turner, Daily Telegraph

A magnificent work highly readable, carefully researched and above all brutally honest. --Chris Mullin, Mail on sunday

One day we might reach a reasonable assessment of Thatcher... This book, by an alarmingly candid friend, will go a long way towards helping find that balance. - Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

Shrewd and compelling... [Aitken's account of] the hubris, machinations and miscalculations that led to Margaret Thatcher's downfall has real dramatic pace. --John Campbell, Sunday Times

Aitken is an accomplished biographer and wordsmith. This book is highly readable and highly recommended. - Neil Hamilton, Sunday Express

Splendidly honest --Jon Henley, The Guardian

About the Author

Jonathan Aitken, a former MP and cabinet minister, is the author of 14 books including his award winning biography of President Richard Nixon.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ringside View 25 Oct 2013
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
After the recent biography by Charles Moore (vol 1)one might wonder what is the point of another book about Margaret Thatcher, especially so soon. In fact Jonathan Aiken demonstrates in his latest book there is a point.
His book is a far more personal account of Margaret Thatcher. The reader is given a ring-side seat to view her strengths and weaknesses.

Aitken's key aim is to describe what she was like as a person and prime minister, especially what she was trying to do and why, and to assess the consequences. He was a member of her cabinet and for a while very close to the Thatcher family-for 3 years he dated Caroline Thatcher before he ended the relationship. His political career ended when he was jailed for perjury (he has written two splendid books about his time in prison).

In this account Aitken describes warts and all the deceased character. She could be charming, kind yet rude, abrasive and cold. he argues, as have others, that her achievements were major, the Falklands, ending the miners strike, and getting President Reagan and Gorbachev to meet and talk.

He is very critical of Howe and Heseltine for their attack on Thatcher which eventually led to her downfall. He quotes her press secretary as saying:'probably the most tactless woman I have ever met in my life'. Aitken says she was never a fan of cabinet government (neither was Blair or Brown), 'consensus had no appeal for her'. At one cabinet meeting she told Howe (foreign secretary) 'your paper is twaddle. complete and utter twaddle'. Understandably, such outbursts in front of other ministers, no matter how accurate, caused dismay and anger. After her retirement from politics she lambasted Howe and co as traitors. Even her chosen successor, John Major, did not escape her sharp tongue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 27 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I find Jonathan Aitken a splendid writer. Clear flowing prose. Very well referenced. His 'Reflection' at end of each chapter much appreciated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars biography Mrs Thatcher 14 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most dis[passionate and insightful biography that I have read.It is unlike some biographies an easy read.The book itself is in excellent condition.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have not finished the book yet but as a long time admirer of Thatcher and being born and bred in Lincolnshire I am finding it a very good read and it tells the story of Margaret, "warts and all"
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Husbands birthday present. 2 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my husband's birthday. He is enjoying reading it. He is a great fan of Jonathan Aitkens writing.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality 14 Nov 2013
By Libby
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's basically well written and informative. There are flashes of brilliant writing. However, as it develops, the script becomes repetitive. The author repeats many set phrases and descriptions of events that become quite unnecessary; it reads like there's been a lot of copying and pasting instead of cutting - never mind the pasting. More robust editing would make this an even better book to read. Disappointing on that basis.
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