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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the Iron Lady
I would first like to say that I am not a fan of the late Margaret Thatcher, I disagreed with plenty of the things that she did during her time as prime minister. However, as someone with a keen interest in politics, I couldn't resist this book. Even if you didn't like her, this is a very interesting read.

'The Autobiography' is an abridged version of...
Published 16 months ago by ReviewBlog51

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money
Brought this book expecting MT life story, but had to return to it the company I brought it from. Its ok to start to of with, however if you have already brought The Downing Street Years then this book in the middle has the exact same pieces of The Downing Street Years with in it. You start to read what you have already read in the TDSY.

Don't buy it from The...
Published 13 months ago by mark_roey


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the Iron Lady, 26 April 2013
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ReviewBlog51 (England) - See all my reviews
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I would first like to say that I am not a fan of the late Margaret Thatcher, I disagreed with plenty of the things that she did during her time as prime minister. However, as someone with a keen interest in politics, I couldn't resist this book. Even if you didn't like her, this is a very interesting read.

'The Autobiography' is an abridged version of Margaret's two volumes of memoir, 'The Downing Street Years' (orginially published in 1993) and 'The Path To Power' (1995). I had already read the first book, so bought it primarily for the second one which focuses on her childhood and early years in politics before she became the UK's first female Prime Minister. Although I found it interesting, the second half is ultimately far superior and was worth reading for a second time.

I can see why Thatcher had decided to publish her books in reverse order. The public would definitely have been more interested in reading about her time at No.10 and for the publishers, it would have sold more copies. However, it is far better to have the story in order and for the reader to be able to follow Thatcher's life from birth to leaving Downing Street. The final chapters of the book make for very dramatic reading and finish the volume off to a satisfying end.

Despite it being abridged, all of the key moments, events, issues, exchanges and disagreements are all still included. For people wanting to have a first hand account of Thatcher's life - this must surely still be the definitive account. The whole book is very self serving (which is what you would probably expect anyway), but it is also very well written, frank and quite honest.

Whilst I would never had voted for Margaret Thatcher, I do respect the fact that she was a very intelligent woman, a great leader, public speaker and had the strength to carry out her convictions. Even though she's dead, love her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher will be remembered (for both good and bad) forever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her life in her own words, 13 May 2013
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A surprisingly good read. I bought the book as a companion to Charles Moore's authorised biography and it's interesting to get Thatcher's own take on her life. You can hear her voice in every page. The book finishes in 1990 but then I suppose it was downhill for her after then anyway... I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand what made the Iron Lady tick.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abridged, 27 April 2013
This review is from: Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
This is an abridged version of two books combined - 'The Downing Street Years' and 'The Path To Power'. - below is a quote that explains why it has been re-released in this way -

Martin Redfern, Editorial Director of HarperPress, said: "For the autobiography, we have condensed the memoirs down to some of the most fascinating times, and arranged it chronologically... It is a long time since they first appeared, and it was her wish that this book should come out following her death, that it would be a testament to her."

For me, this is a version of two books that has made the material far more appealing and accessible than it had been in its predeceasing volumes. I'm not a Thatcherite myself, nor am I anti-Thatcher, but having got involved in numerous discussions about her, since her death, so in the interests of gaining further insight, this somewhat more condensed version of events, found in this book, in her own words, has been great to read.

I can't draw a comparison between this and the original releases, as I don't know what has been omitted, however, at 700 pages, this was far less daunting a task than the 1,300+ paged alternatives would have been.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MT : In the Final Analysis - More Inspired than Inspiring, 6 Oct 2013
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This book is the abridged version of "The Path to Power" published in 1995 and "The Downing Street Years" published in 1993. It is nonetheless 738 pages of text in the paperback version with additionally a Chronlogical Index and a List of Abbreviations, both of which I found really useful.

By her own account Margaret Thatcher was a "Hands-on" Prime Minister, quite unlike say, François Mitterrand ! There was practically not a detail that escaped her personal attention from the Public Spending Borrowing Requirement to the need to ship out adequate spare parts for the Challenger Tank right away in 1990 for the 1st. Gulf War. (Apparently these tanks were known as much for their unreliability as for their maneovrability !) Indeed throughout the book which is effectively a blow by blow account of her life in parliament with relatively little addressed to her early childhood or time at Somerville College, Oxford, her competent grasp of detail in so many domaines of government is quite astonishing. However she is remembered most for her vision of Britain as a country where in a framework of law and order individual effort and enterprise should be rewarded and the socialist vision of a corporatist state should be gradually abandonned.

While - after Wilson and Callaghan - these views appealed to a broad electorate, the actual business of making progress towards realising these aims brought about bruising incidents where a clash of personalities occurred. Perhaps her first clash was with Edward Heath who sensibly would not serve under her in 1979, but subsequently many of her hand-picked cabinet ministers found life uncomfortable under her premiership : Peter Carrington, John Nott, Michael Heseltine, Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Howe, David Young, and Chris Patten to name but the most prominent. Some did resign on principle rather than from pique but the constant reshuffling is testimony to Margaret's inability to flatter and enthuse her ministers so that they performed as she required without her constant interference.

Unfortunately, in addition to these personality clashes, over the eleven years she was in office she also managed to alienate her electorate at large. Her handling of the miners' strike, Scargill and the TUC was generally seen in a positive light, but her reversal of Labour's education policies did not please everyone (particularly in the Dept. of Education), and the tide turned against her with the introduction of the Poll Tax that had to be ultimately dismantled under Major.

I quote two passages, practically at random, which underscore the abrasive nature of Margaret's stance, and explain in part why she became a figure to be rejected and reviled.
Page 586. Socialism had failed. And it was the poorer, weaker members of society who had suffered worst as a result of that failure. More than that, socialism ....had literally demoralized communities and families, offering dependency in place of independence as well as subjecting traditional values to sustained derision.
Page 614. By contrast, Council housing is the worst source of immobility. Many large council estates bring together people who are out of work but enjoy security of tenure at subsidized rates. They not only have every incentive to stay where they are : they mutually reinforce each other's passivity and undermine each other's initiative. Thus a culture grows up in which the unemployed are content to remain living mainly on the state with little will to move and find work.

All this is a great pity because I happen to believe this parliamentary autobiographer had the right ideas, but that she was too contentious, too uncompromising in their application. In a way you might say her best qualities contibuted to her undoing. Be that as it may, her book makes for fascinating reading, with only a very few truly dull passages for the general reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 4 Jun 2014
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A fascinating insight in to what happened at the start of Margaret Thatcher's life up until approximately the middle of the 1990's. Includes the Falklands and when she was ousted out as Prime Minister and Party Leader. She tells you what she thinks of people and gives her side of the stories too.

I recommend this 10 CD set for people interested in finding out more about the Thatcher years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justin, 28 Dec 2013
I like this book although I haven't started yet. Always love have one in the house and will take it with me when I will be on a long holiday in 2014 that I can read it under the sunshine.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive., 6 May 2013
By 
Jamie Pope (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
Having always been interested in Margaret Thatcher, and after her death I was curious if there was a biography. The news has always been full of the short comings of this woman, however, I wondered what it was like from her point of view. I was not around during her being in government, and there has always been two sorts of descriptions of her; those that loved her, and those that hated her. She appeared to be like Marmite!

The book is very comprehensive; this books starts from her earliest memory, through her progression through politics. I'm around 25% in at the moment, and I've only got to the mid-80s so far! Baroness Thatcher really was a very skilled writer, and very good at explaining her career. It almost feels like a privilege to be reading it.

I think if you're curious about the life and the politics of Baroness Thatcher, directly from her, then this will certainly fit the bill.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and detailed, but defensive, 28 May 2013
By 
Dr. Simon Howard "sjhoward" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
No-one can deny that Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure. As so often, I'm somewhere in the middle. To me, Thatcher has qualities that one can admire, even if one isn't supportive - to put it mildly - of everything she did. As an autobiography, it's wholly unsurprising that it is her positive attributes that tend to shine through here.

It seems a little unfair to compare prime-ministerial autobiographies, but with A Journey still relatively fresh in my mind, it is hard to resist. Poor writing makes Blair's volume difficult to consume, and it took me well over a year to plod through it in relatively short bursts. In contrast, Thatcher's is entirely readable, and very enjoyable - bordering on being a page-turner. Thatcher genuinely masters the art of making the reader feel like a close confidant, as though this is a fireside chat in book form. I get the sense that this is what Blair strives to achieve, but fails.

And yet, Thatcher's contains much more detailed political discussion. While Blair chooses to share his toilet habits, Thatcher writes long and detailed (though defensive) rationales for many of the policies she adopted. To give a single example from their respective autobiographies, I understand much more clearly Thatcher's argument for defending the Falklands than Blair's argument for invading Iraq. Where I disagree with Thatcher, I can still follow her line of argument in a way that I cannot even where I agree with Blair.

This set me thinking: perhaps the reason for Thatcher's clearer explanations is the fact that she defended her policies more often and in greater detail than Blair. The long-form wide-ranging radio and television political interviews in which Thatcher participated simply did not exist in Blair's day. I think that represents something lost at the heart of modern democracy. But I digress.

It's worth pointing out that this is an abridged combination of two volumes: The Path to Power and The Downing Street Years. While I haven't read those two volumes, it seems that the abridgement has largely been handled with skill. There are occasions where the detail of events is noticeably lacking in comparison to others, but these are rare, and don't distract from the overarching narrative.

Perhaps it's no surprise that Thatcher should write a self-assured autobiography, and it's no surprise that many will disagree with much of the reasoning contained within. But it is the quality of the writing that stands out here, and that makes this volume worthy of four-star rating.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 13 May 2013
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This review is from: Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
A peek into the mind of an amazing and determined woman. Who can fail to be inspired by a woman with two degrees and the inspiration for a better future for Britain?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, 24 Jun 2014
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Des Christian (UK) - See all my reviews
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Very interesting Bio of one of our best leaders. Sometimes a bit too much detail in certain areas, but overall a recommended listen.
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