Maggie (Magill Book Reviews)
MAGGIE: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN POWER was published several months before Margaret Thatcher’s sudden fall. But after reading Chris Ogden’s biography, particularly the chapters on Thatcher’s third them, few will be surprised by her fate. Ogden presents a picture of a formidable leader spoiled by too many years in power. Thatcher’s autocratic manner, her refusal to tolerate even the slightest dissent, made her too many enemies within her own party. Fired ministers were treated so badly they felt like “squashed flies” (as one of them, John Biffen, put it), and with hindsight it seems inevitable that one day they would gang up to oust her.
However, Ogden also gives full weight to Thatcher’s many strengths: her powers of leadership, her extraordinary single-mindedness and capacity for hard work, her iron will when faced with a crisis. One cannot help but admire how she fought her way from lower-middle-class origins to the pinnacle of British political life, and then (single-handedly, it sometimes seems) reversed Britain’s long postwar economic decline. Also remarkable is how Thatcher, through careful cultivation of her relationships with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, brought Britain’s voice once more to the forefront of the world’s diplomatic stage.
It is an astonishing story, and MAGGIE is a highly readable biography—well-researched and full of lively anecdotes of Thatcher’s public and private life. Unlike...
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