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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes.
I had anticipated this volume would be similar to Roy Jenkins : A Retrospective , which is a collection of essays by those who had worked with Jenkins. Hence this is not what I had expected being much more lightweight. Nonetheless, it is an interesting read revealing more of Thatcher "behind the scenes". Colleagues offer contributions about their experiences of...
Published 22 months ago by A. C. Kay

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read
Gillian Shephard gives a fascinating insight into working with and for the Iron Lady. A must for everybody interested in recent political history.
Published 22 months ago by Peter Black


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes., 15 May 2013
By 
A. C. Kay (Herts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher (Hardcover)
I had anticipated this volume would be similar to Roy Jenkins : A Retrospective , which is a collection of essays by those who had worked with Jenkins. Hence this is not what I had expected being much more lightweight. Nonetheless, it is an interesting read revealing more of Thatcher "behind the scenes". Colleagues offer contributions about their experiences of working with her but overall, I'm left with a sense of regret that the general public opinion of her is not really a true and fair one. While her strong work ethic and firm opinions are well known, she seems to have another side which is much less so....genuine kindness and consideration to others. One example..a particularly long and difficult session with a speechwriter, too late to go home...the PM says " you must stay here" and proceeds to cook the meal!
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Determined Patriot, 18 Mar. 2013
By 
Dr Barry Clayton (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is an excellent insight into Margaret Thatcher, the best British Prime Minister since 1945. Unlike Brown she is intelligent and sociable. Unlike Blair she is not economical with the truth, nor was she in office a hypocrite. She also has a backbone, something lacking, for example, in John Major. For the nearest comparison in recent years you would have to go to an Israeli prime minister.

Her record in office was remarkable given the fact that many members of her cabinet were unable and, at times, unwilling to serve under a woman. I cannot think of another British politician who, at the time, would have had the courage to stand up to the Argentinians over their invasion of the Falklands. it was a courageous action and one not entirely to the liking of the Chiefs of Staff.

Margaret Thatcher did not suffer fools gladly, and she had many to contend with. At times she could be infuriating, opinionated and tiresome. The author describes several such instances of her behavior in this respect.
Her emasculation of the unions was long overdue. Contrary to the bleetings of overpaid union barons, then and since, many manual workers welcomed her reforms, and have said so.

What many people do not know or do not wish to hear is Margaret Thatcher's kindness and consideration for others. Shepard mentions one or two examples but there were many more.

Her betrayal by Howe and other members of her cabinet is one of the most shameful episodes in recent British political history. Those involved ought to be ashamed of their actions which were treacherous. They sacrificed their leader to save their own skins. The French,in particular, were astonished at what took place.

Gillian Shepard describes the important role played by her husband. The press, in typical fashion, frequently made fun of Dennis but in fact he was a very astute and successful business man. As the author makes clear he was a formidable support for Margaret.

Four or 5 hours sleep was often the norm for Margaret. Unlike Churchill, however, she did not hold court in bed in the early hours and then stay in bed until midday while her ministers toiled at their desks. She was up very early and at her desk.

She was Britain's first female Prime Minister, and she won an unprecedented third term in office. Virginia Bottomley, a former Health Minister, is quoted by Shephard as saying she has: 'profoundly altered Britain and our place in the world'. With regards the latter, the affection and respect that President Reagan had for her must not be overlooked. Unlike Blair, she never acted the crony to the President. Her standing in America was based on respect and an acknowledgment of her bravery and determination in the face of adversity. To this day she has many, many friends in the USA who remember her staunch support of US foreign policy.

Great leaders, political and military are seldom liked or likeable. Nice ones are invariably shallow, incompetent and lacking in backbone. Margaret Thatcher was, therefore, intensely disliked by those who could not abide being told they were wrong, and knew they could not match her iron will to get the job done.

Gillian Shephard's book is an intimate insight into a very remarkable lady, and a very feminine one, who against many barriers achieved results that would have been beyond any recent prime minister.
This book is highly recommended, particularly for those who fly into a rage at the sound of Thatcher's name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 16 May 2013
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Gillian Shephard gives a fascinating insight into working with and for the Iron Lady. A must for everybody interested in recent political history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New, 4 May 2013
By 
Ronald (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book under the impression that it was a more intimate experience of Gillian Shephard's when in fact it is more a collection of other peoples memmorys and experience of working with Margaret Thatcher.I found it quite dull.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, 18 April 2013
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Within the first 25% of the book we establish without doubt the caring, personal side of Margaret Thatcher - then the remaining 75% is just more of the same. no great insight really and for such a formidable subject, dull!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very important contribution on the subject of a giant Prime Minister, 15 April 2013
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A well written and interesting collection of important views of this very important politician. A very important factor is that a scientifically trained person was making these momentous decisions- and it showed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial and unoriginal, 30 April 2013
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This review is from: The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher (Hardcover)
There seemed to be little originality in the material and too much space taken up with second hand opinions, articles, statements, quotes and even speeches or extracts from speeches. It just beat the definitive biography by Charles Moore to the bookshops by a few weeks but it adds little or nothing to the general understanding of what made the woman tick
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - great insight to a great lady., 24 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher (Hardcover)
Highly recommended.
Having grown up during Mrs T's reign, I found this book gave me a deeper understanding of the great lady herself.
Her work ethic is an example for us all to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher (Hardcover)
Interesing first hand comments and insights on her personality and manangement style from many of those who worked with Margaret Thatcher.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of stories, anacdotes etc., 22 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher (Hardcover)
Well researched book. Full of interesting stories and anacdotes from many sources about Margaret Thatcher. Dennis Thatcher also gets a mention! Like the idea of putting views of different people in one book. Attended a talk by Gillian Shephard and immediately wanted to read more from this book, her illustrations certainly whetted my appetite.Could have paid full price on day but did not particularly want her to sign a copy---this was far cheaper way to buy!!!
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The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher
The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher by Gillian Shephard (Hardcover - 18 Mar. 2013)
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