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jfp

Everything She Wants (The Authorised Biography of Margaret Thatcher, Part II))

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The first chapter of Part II of Charles Moore’s presumably definitive biography of Margaret Thatcher is entitled “Liberal imperialist”. The title of the last chapter is “The last victory”. The titles are astutely chosen: this second volume covers the five years between the British victory in the Falklands War (1982) and Mrs Thatcher’s third general election victory (1987).

 

 

Charles Moore’s biography is to be seen as a labour of love: not necessarily love for its subject, but most emphatically love for the biographer’s art. A work of art it certainly is, with painstaking attention to the slightest detail, abundant notes and an impeccable index (not the easiest of achievements...)

 

 

Some may prefer to skip over what they may consider the excessive detail of certain (nevertheless) key elements of the years 1982-1987, which include negotiations over the future status of Hong Kong, the UK’s stance on South Africa, monetarism… and may, like me, prefer the chapters focusing on domestic policy. The penultimate chapter, “What they saw in her”, as the 1987 election drew close, paints a devastating picture of the extent to which Mrs Thatcher was detested by many prominent figures in the UK.

 

 

And it should be pointed out that this biography is no hagiography: Charles Moore never venerates his subject, and sometimes states quite clearly that it can be argued, in such and such an area, that she made the wrong decisions. Her vulnerability and her loneliness are often brought centre-stage.

 

 

This book can be read by those who adored Mrs Thatcher and by those who loathed her. One way or the other, it is impossible not to continue to respect her single-mindedness… or to continue to criticise her bloody-mindedness.

 

*****

Edited by jfp

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