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The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher: From Grocer’s Daughter to Iron Lady Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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"Anyone who really wants to know what happened between 1979 and 1990 should read this book" (John Rentoul Daily Telegraph)
"The best book yet written about Lady Thatcher" (Frank Johnson Daily Telegraph)
"Superbly researched...unlike so many others is neither hagiography nor hatchet-job, and probably gets closer to the truth than any...magnificently told" (Sunday Express)
"An enormously useful achievement...every twist and turn of her political life is here" (The Times, Books of the Year)
"[A] thorough biography... brought together in a useful abridged paperback version... Campbell is a leading political biographer... Campbell's vivid account is easy to read" (Financial Times)
"thorough biography... Campbell is a leading political biographer... Campbell's vivid account is easy to read" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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'The Iron Lady' is an abridged single volume version of John Campbell's mammoth two part biography of Margaret Thatcher published in 2009. This volume skips over her rise to Downing Street and her subsequent fall from power and concentrates largely (80-90 percent of the volume) on her years in Downing street.
This remains the definitive biography of Thatcher, arguably the definitive political biography, it is extremely well researched, well-balanced, well written, fair, non-partisan and insightfull. The only criticism I can level is that it is a shame that in the condensing, much of her rise to power and her subsequent fall from grace are lost on the editor's floor.
Everyone is familiar with the Thatcher of 1975-90, which is really the story of 'Thatcherism' as opposed to Thatcher, less familiar is the story of the lower middle class, provincial Margaret Roberts of Grantham who came before; steeped as she was in Victorian values of old fasioned patriotism, puritanical Methodism, thrift, individual responsibility and public service derived largely from her father - and the Baroness Thatcher who come after this period of political dominance; a poignantly lonely, lost workaholic with no real friends and two dysfunctional grown up children.
The main insight that I gained from the book (a point that Campbell makes in a variety of ways during the book,) was that her greatest strength - without which she would not have climbed the political ladder, in her own way her rise to prominence in the 1970s was every bit as astonishing as Barack Obama's has been in the modern era - ultimately became her biggest flaw.
Campbell effectively conveys that the very same single-mindedness which drove her to the summit of political success hardened into dogmatism/authoritarianism the longer she held top political office as her dominance grew, ultimately alienating her colleagues at home and in Europe. Thatcher had spent her life successfully fighting enemies - whether these be British socialism, international communism, class snobbery or male condescension - but did not correctly identify her greatest enemy, herself.
One of the keys to understanding how these changes took place is to learn about the woman herself. In this, there are few better guides than John Campbell. An accomplished political biographer, his two-volume biography of Thatcher is the most comprehensive, detailed, and perceptive guide into her life and the influences that shaped it. This book is an updated and condensed version of Campbell's larger work. Expertly edited by David Freeman, it retains all of the essential insights of Campbell's earlier study, expressed in clear and accessible prose. For anyone seeking to understand "the Iron Lady" and how she changed Great Britain, this is the book to read.
Miraculously researched, beautifully written and illustrated with lots of black-and-white pictures, this abridged book offers a fairly balanced, very comprehensive overview of Thatcher's life and achievements. It isn't as heavy going as her own memoirs (as readable as they are), and although I found myself sometimes disagreeing with Campbell, I still regard this as the most worthwhile unauthorised book about Thatcher that I have ever read.
Unlike a lot of the other Amazon reviews on this page, I am not a Maggie Thatcher supporter, but you can't ignore her, she was a political giant, and a woman who moved mountains. Her story from grocer's daughter in Grantham, to the highest office in the land is remarkable and inspiring. If you want to discover more about her - then this is the best biography I have ever come across.
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