This is not "Margaret Thatcher for Dummies" - a catch-up on the essentials of a world figure. It is a vast work suitable for those who lived through or studied the 70s and 80s in Britain and are still puzzled by outcomes (grammar schools, Rhodesia) over which she presided which were clearly at odds with her beliefs. Moore provides all the fine detail and context required to understand these apparent anomalies. Importantly, although he clearly admires his subject, he admires the truth more and spares nothing in exposing episodes (such as so, so nearly selling out the Falkland Islanders) which are air-brushed from the autobiography. Sadly, the degree of scholarship applied means that we shall probably have some years to wait for the second volume.
My only complaint regards Moore's pedantic peppering of direct quotations with the annotation "(sic)". It's an unnecessary distraction (if something is presented in quotes then I shall assume that it is verbatim and...
Margaret Thatcher was an amazing political leader. In her own lifetime she was both admired and reviled by many. Even on the occasion of her death the responses could be quite loud. Margaret Thatcher: From Grantham to the Falklands is the first volume in a two volume biography of the Iron Lady by author Charles Moore. Moore spent many years working on this project. Lady Thatcher gave him access to her own material and encouraged others to talk to him. The only stipulation was that the book be published after her death. Moore is quite thorough in his work. He covers Thatcher's life in great detail. He also covers her personality. This is not an attempt to canonize the subject. Thatcher is shown to be stubborn, difficult, and at times even a bit abusive of her colleagues. Moore points out her many weaknesses as well as her strengths. The overall image is not flattering, but it does show a very human Thatcher, something that we do not see very often when she is portrayed...
Although this is the authorized biography, and the author is an admirer of his subject, it is far from a simple hagiography. Moore presents the matter researched coherently, then he mainly lets it speak for itself. He also does not hold back from pointing out minor inconsistencies in previous accounts, including in Thatcher’s memoirs. Moore is intelligent and diligent, and never allows his narrative to become boring or repetitive. The extensive acknowledgments, endnotes and bibliography demonstrate the depth of the research. Turning such a mountain range of material into a well-organized, readable manuscript is a feat, which the author probably had to pursue while keeping in mind one of Thatcher’s favorite prayers from Sir Francis Drake, which encourages persistence. There are very many books available on this subject, but to me this is a much more worthwhile a read than either a straightforward cheerleading account or a hatchet job. It is critical in the best,...
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