Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage

( 6 )

Overview

It is well known that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were close allies and kindred political spirits. During their eight overlapping years in office, the U.S. president and the U.K. prime minister worked together to promote lower taxes, deregulation, free trade, and an aggressive stance against the Soviet Union.

But according to Nicholas Wapshott, the Reagan/Thatcher relationship was much deeper than an alliance of mutual interests. Drawing on interviews with those closest ...

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Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage

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Overview

It is well known that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were close allies and kindred political spirits. During their eight overlapping years in office, the U.S. president and the U.K. prime minister worked together to promote lower taxes, deregulation, free trade, and an aggressive stance against the Soviet Union.

But according to Nicholas Wapshott, the Reagan/Thatcher relationship was much deeper than an alliance of mutual interests. Drawing on interviews with those closest to them, as well as on hundreds of recently declassified private letters and telephone calls, Wapshott depicts a more complex, personal, and sometimes argumentative relationship than has previously been revealed.

On the surface they had little in common, in either background or personality. Reagan, the son of the town drunk, used his genial charm to win over his enemies and always focused on the big picture rather than details. Thatcher, the daughter of a strict, middle-class shopkeeper, was a hard worker and master of details who would rather be respected than liked.

Yet from their very first meeting in 1975, they recognized each other as political soulmates, committed not just to conservative principles but to getting things done. Over the years, they discussed and debated strategies, took strength from each other, celebrated each other's triumphs, and commiserated with each other's failures. Wapshott shines new light on this unique friendship and how it changed the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
National Review
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.
Library Journal

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.
—Bob Nardini

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595230539
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/25/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 497,355
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Nicholas Wapshott is an editor at the New York Sun and the former New York bureau chief for the Times of London.

Simon Vance has recorded over four hundred audiobooks and has earned over twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for his narration of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. He is also the recipient of five coveted Audie Awards, including one for The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, and he was named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Above the Shop     1
The World of Work     22
A Taste of Power     46
The Road to the Top     70
Success at the Polls     101
The Honeymooners     126
A Lovers' Tiff     142
Outcast of the Islands     160
Cold Warriors     186
Strikebusters     209
From Russia with Love     226
The Victors     251
The Merry Widow     272
Epilogue     289
Acknowledgments     295
Notes     297
Select Bibliography     315
Index     321
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Customer Reviews

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