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4.6 out of 5 stars
173
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 May 2017
Very well written and some revealing insights into this lady
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on 22 August 2017
As described
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on 31 December 2015
Charles Moore is brilliant and really made his subject come to life. I am now about to undertake volume 2.
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on 1 June 2013
Whatever your views on Margaret Thatcher there are 5 reasons to buy this book:

1. It is extremely well written and never less than interesting.

2. It provides the context for the events in which decisions are made, but concisely.

3. It provides original material in the form of Mrs T's comments on various documents relating to important political decisions, which in themselves tell us a lot about her and her style of managing and controlling - indirectly and critically, mainly negative and often rude.

4. It includes comments from former ministers, political advisers and civil servant, some from written sources and some from interviews all pulled together in relation to events.

5. It is balanced. It gives credit to others for aspects of Thatcherite policy, in particular Geoffrey Howe. If you did not like Mrs T before - hectoring, arrogant, know-it-all - you will not change your views. If you liked her determination and stubbornness and grasp of the demotic, you will not change your view.

Personally, I did not like her hectoring and bullying style. But I found the way Moore wove together the material - her views, others views and facts - masterful.
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on 2 June 2013
Brilliantly written & very absorbing. It seems a very impartial portrait of a hugely influential figure. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Wlli definitely buy the next volume when it's available.
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on 30 April 2013
It's probably helpful to say at the start that my political views are very different from those of Margaret Thatcher and, from what I know of his journalism, Charles Moore. However, I take my hat off to Mr. Moore for a first-class biography (well, Volume One, anyway) that is worthy of the importance of its subject.

I was hopeful of a good biography, but was conscious that Mr. Moore hadn't written a book before. It is to the credit of Margaret Thatcher and those around her that Charles Moore was chosen for this task and given such freedom (to a degree that is highly unusual in an authorised biography). Yes, he's clearly an admirer of Mrs. Thatcher. However, he brings his trademark independence of mind to the role. Once one accepts the glaring and inevitable Conservative political bias (with a big gulp, in my case), one finds his judgements invariably both thoughtful and thought-provoking. We get a wealth of detail that both humanises and deepens his subject, but he doesn't shy away from less positive aspects of Margaret Thatcher's character and actions. There is also an admirable humility in his tendency to leave the reader to make up their own mind about so much of what he reveals. This occasionally applies even when those revelations are jaw-dropping.

The diligence in research is impressive. There are some elements of luck, such as the treasure-trove of letters from Margaret Thatcher to her older sister. However, often one makes one's luck through persistence and hard work. The writing is rarely as good as Mr. Moore's journalism, but that's understandable given that he's writing in a (for him) new and more tightly-constrained format. The occasional infelicity, repetition and typo doesn't detract from a fluid and engaging narrative. I even enjoyed the occasional sly flashes of humour. I've read other biographies of Margaret Thatcher (along with many other political biographies and related accounts from this period) and yet here I learned much that was new and encountered fresh perspectives on key events. I came away feeling well rewarded for my time. Volume One is as good as I could have expected. I'm looking forward to Volume Two.
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on 24 December 2016
I will start simply by saying this is fundamentally a very good biography of one of the most polarising figures in modern British history. For those like myself who did not live through the Thatcher years (born in 1992), much of what I previously thought I knew about Margaret Thatcher was influenced by the views of my family or the occasional news report. So, whilst not completely ignorant about Thatcher my knowledge was quite limited.
758 pages later and I feel as though I have gained a real sense of Margaret Thatcher as a person and as a leader. Charles Moore has successfully weaved both a compelling and highly informative narrative that reflects years of dedication to a book. As he himself states, his authorization to write the book came from Margaret Thatcher herself, as an influential journalist who was neither a Thatcherite nor an ardent critic. All I can say to that is it turned out to be an inspired choice. What emerges is neither the usual heroic lauding of a supporter nor the alternative character assassination one might expect. Instead we get a carefully thought out run through of Margaret Thatchers life and early career through the eyes of those who knew and dealt with year. Moore himself rarely descends into any grand opinionated diatribe preferring to allow the reader to form clearer opinions based on the opinions of Thatcher's contemporaries.
The book is not without its flaws, hence why I chose not to award it 5 stars. In particular, the discussion about fiscal policy were at times difficult to follow. I have a reasonable appreciation of economics but was unable to succinctly follow these heavily layered discussion of the effects of Geoffrey Howe's economic weavings. The other point I would like to make is about the endnotes. As a historian, I greatly appreciate when time has been put in to correctly referencing footnotes/endnotes. With regard to this book, I was highly impressed by the footnotes that marred the pages, adding greater context to the narrative. However, the same cannot be said of the endnotes. Crammed together on a few short pages at the back in what seemed like a space saving exercise would make it difficult to use for academic research. Such a shame that what represents years of painstaking documentation of research was displayed in such an unflattering way.
Nevertheless, despite my minor gripes I have to say that Charles Moore should be commended on putting together such as compelling and coherent biography of Britain's first female Prime Minister. For those who have already made up your mind about Margaret Thatcher and her policies, I would highly recommend you read the book and amend your biases through the consumption of this brilliant biography. Better get started on Volume 2.
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on 12 March 2017
This is possibly one of the best researched and well written biographies I have ever read. I find the sheer industriousness which has gone into it quite staggering. It was hugely enjoyable to read, so much so that I found myself having to restrict myself to how much I was allowed to read each day, as a means of protracting the enjoyment.

Well done Charles, when is volume 3 due out?
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on 16 February 2014
A magnificent biography. Moore had access to an envious range of sources and has made excellent use them. Only slightly jarring note was his occasional tendency to 'correct' some aspects of John Campbell's previous biography - excellent in its own right - which he could do given his access to sources that were not available to Campbell. But why was Campbell's work singled out for this treatment? Surely Moore could have equally 'corrected' numerous other previous accounts in his footnotes?
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on 11 May 2013
Charles Moore has painstakingly researched every source and has had privileged access to his subject, her family, her colleagues and members of the Civil Service as well as international political figures and officials. The result is a meticulously researched thorough biography: It is certainly not a hagiographic account of her career up to 1982. There is respect and admiration but he cannot disguise his inability to like her.

Although no detail has been left out he has an excellent style that makes for easy reading

There are no other books that give so detailed account of how the UK reached its economic low point in 1979 and how Margaret Thatcher prepared to turn round the country's economic fortunes albeit without much strategy or coherent planning. She relied .more on conviction than intellectual analysis.
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