Any student of modern British politics or any person with an interest in the subject will at some point need an account of the Thatcher years, and this lengthy and down-to-earth biography is among the best. Save one bizarre moment when the author strongly hints that Thatcher's sympathetic attitude towards the victims of looting and riots would have appalled the electorate, whom he seems to see as a nation of John Pilgers, ever eager to support the wrong-doer, the book is also as balanced an account as is likely to be produced within the lifetime of any who remember when she was in power.
Brimming with detail, the book is also mercifully short on the very tired and oft-repeated parts of the Thatcher story, and so not a page is wasted. The thing about the book that impressed me most was the clear use of interviews with the key figures involved very wisely. This produces some very memorable anecdotes that sum up perfectly the philosophy and feelings of Margaret Thatcher. Most are neither witty nor amusing, as are most in biographies, but they are extremely revealing and enable one to get inside the heads of those who served her, those who opposed her and the lady herself to see their beliefs, dilemmas and situations. The account of the cabinet debate that finally replaced the decades-old priority of low unemployment with that of low inflation is all the more gripping and dramatic because it continues to affect us all today. The illustration of the confidence Thatcher instilled in her MPs by tearing Michael Foot's argument to pieces with masses of statistical knowledge similarly enables the reader to better appreciate the mindsets of those around her. Along with an impressive narrative which delves deep into the events of the time, a close to complete picture of Thatcher and her government emerges.
Of course, study of the Thatcher years is inseparable from study of her legacy, and the final chapter looks at this exclusively, making it the best in the book, packed with facts and observations.
It is in how he turns statistics, anecdotes and information into a narrative that the biographer's skill is revealed. To insert one's own views throughout is a post on which many fall, but Young surpasses. An authoritative account of an immensely important and interesting figure is the result.