Every decade creates its own tumult, positing leaders as heroes and villains. Margaret Thatcher is no exception – she provokes intense feeling, ranging from loyalty to loathing – often simultaneously, and the outpouring of both respect and enmity in Britain in the days and weeks after her death earlier this month highlight the polarising and difficult legacy she leaves behind.
Depicted as ‘The Iron Lady’, Thatcher’s political career has been one of the most remarkable of modern times. The daughter of a grocer, she rose to become the first woman to lead a major Western democracy and the longest serving British Prime Minister of the twentieth century. In a new biography of Thatcher, which has been described as, ‘immediately superseding all earlier books written about her’, Charles Moore attempts to make her into a three dimensional figure for the first time. The book gives unparalleled insight into her early life and formation, especially through her extensive correspondence with her sister, which Moore is the first author to draw on. It recreates brilliantly the atmosphere of British politics as she was making her way, and takes her up to what was arguably the zenith of her power, victory in the Falklands.