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Will the real Margaret Thatcher ... ?
on 4 January 2009
Mrs Thatcher once told a TV interviewer that one of her girlhood ambitions had been to become an actress. As Campbell shows, there's no evidence to support this claim, although, paradoxically, it may be the best clue we have to understanding the "real" Margaret Thatcher.
Grocer's daughter, schoolgirl, scientist, lawyer, Tory lady, politician, tigress, milk-snatcher, iron lady, housewife-superstar or, as, many Americans thought, "quite a dame". Will the real Margaret Thatcher, please stand up?
Like his subject, Campbell has done his homework and stuck closely to his brief. No stone is left unturned, no claim unquestioned and no fact unverified. The result is a detailed and well-balanced account of Margaret Roberts' journey from the now legendary corner shop in Grantham to steps of Number 10.
The focus is very much on Mrs Thatcher herself. Current events, politicians and family are only mentioned inasmuch as they affect her personal and political development. Whilst this gives the book a strong narrative feel, it assumes some background knowledge of post war Britain. Readers who weren't around at the time or are unfamiliar with that era's politics may find that some of the minor players merge into an amorphous mass of men in grey suits (although, come to think of it ...)
A good solid five-star read.