White House press secretary James Brady once declared "[i]t took a crowbar" to separate President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher. Biographer Wapshott (Thatcher) assesses the nature of that sometimes testy but always close freindship. As Reagan put it, they were "soul mates when it came to reducing government and expanding economic freedom." Not content with biography, Wapshott also provides a political history of the post-WWII period and the 1980s. Elected under similar circumstances, the two faced many of the same trials: assassination attempts, striking workers and tensions with the Soviet Union. Wapshott's attention to Reagan and Thatcher's compatibility sometimes comes at the expense of a deeper analysis of the ideas that united them. On their economic conservatism, Wapshott is insightful and exhaustive; on the ideas driving their foreign policy, he is less thorough, and more detailed comparison of Thatcher's cold Methodism and Reagan's sense of God's purpose after his attempted assassination would have been welcome. Throughout, Wapshott favors the nitty-gritty, painting a portrait of the friendship that shaped the 1980s and the alliance that won the Cold War. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
I can recommend a rattling good read with lots of new material on their previously private meetings and correspondence.
New York Sun
Briskly written, perceptive, and, ultimately, moving.
When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher met for the first time in 1975 in London, writes veteran biographer Wapshott (Peter O'Toole), the moment was nearly as significant as the first meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in 1941. Thatcher was then the newly elected Conservative Party leader, while Reagan, just done with his second and final term as governor of California, had set a course for the White House. This dual biography centers on the personal friendship and political partnership between Thatcher and Reagan, who, as prime minister and president, were of course to alter the politics of Britain and the United States as leaders of the West in the final years of the Cold War. Wapshott wrote an earlier biography of Thatcher, although most of his books have been on actors and entertainers. Here he writes just well enough to intermittently engage a popular readership, his primary audience. He relies mainly on secondary sources, his research is too thin, and his thesis too overreaching for academic readers. Optional for public libraries.
From the Publisher
"Simon Vance straddles the gap between presenting history and creating a dramatic story.... His approach makes for an interesting listen that doesn't distract from the details." AudioFile