Following the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, I felt impelled to read something about her life. But on looking in the local library and on Amazon, all I could find were hefty tomes. What I was looking for was a slim volume that I could devour in just an hour or two. That was when I came across Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady by Terry Warner, part of the BiteSize Biography series, published by Collca.
The book was perfect for my needs - a quick run through of the Iron Lady's life. It starts chronologically, with her early years and her relationship with her parents, particularly her father, Alfred Roberts, who had such an influence on the young Margaret. We have her meeting and marrying Denis Thatcher. Then we have Thatcher's role in Edward Heath's government and its downfall at the hands of the miners' unions in 1974. We have her time in opposition and her appointment as Conservative party leader and the murder in 1979 of her friend and political mentor, Airey Neave. Of course, that was the year that Thatcher came to power and began her eleven and a half year's reign as prime minister.
At this point, the narrative very sensibly takes a thematic approach. So we have her domestic politics, with particular attention given to the miners' strike of 1984-85. We have her foreign policy, which includes the Falklands War of 1982 and her role in helping to win the Cold War and her relationship with the US, particularly Ronald Reagan. We have her views on Europe and the various comings and goings of her cabinet colleagues.
This of course all leads inevitably to Thatcher's downfall and her tearful departure from No.10 Downing Street in November 1990. Warner guides us through her years of retirement, her continuing but diminishing influence on the Conservative party and the sometimes overbearing attention on her successor as prime minister, John Major.
Terry Warner's Thatcher did indeed provide a handy, bite size account of her life without too much effort on my part as the reader. It provides a few brief biographies of the most influential people in her life, including cabinet members, her children and her father. And it finishes with a useful timeline of Mrs Thatcher's life.
At the time of publication, Margaret Thatcher was still alive, so of course a future edition would have to include her death and her funeral, and the controversy she managed to elicit even in death.
For a brief look at this amazing if divisive woman, you need look no further.
Having grown up in the Thatcher years, I wanted something to bolster my childhood memories with a bit more context without having to wade through one of the bigger volumes on her. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and came away much better informed, well worth the price.
I was very pleased by this book. It's eminently readable, rattling along at a good pace, whilst giving an impressive amount of information. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Thatcher and it would be a very useful read for any students studying her.