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Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography (Thatcher Authorized Biography #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  431 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
With unequaled authority and dramatic detail, the first volume of Charles Moore’s authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher reveals as never before the early life, rise to power, and first years as prime minister of the woman who transformed Britain and the world in the late twentieth century. Moore has had unique access to all of Thatcher’s private and governmental ...more
Hardcover, 912 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2013)
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Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC radio listeners

Ah but a stab into the 912 pages but objective it is!
Mike Clarke
The lady's not for turning. We must go on and on....

And she did. Way beyond the scope of this book, a mere lightweight in its 758 pages. Years ago, before we went on a trip, my friend Andrew, knowing I was a librarian, asked me for a reading list for the holidays so he wouldn't feel so left out whilst everyone else was buried in A Suitable Boy. He must have meant several holidays because he usual fare, The Motley Fool Guide to Miser-ness and lists of tennis championships, kept him occupied most
Patricia Fawcett
Jul 05, 2013 Patricia Fawcett rated it liked it
I could hardly wait to read this book. It teems with information; packed with detail. Charles Moore spent several years researching this biography, and it shows. This is part one, which takes us up to 1982. It is not a light read; the reader owes it to the writer to attempt to assimilate the information which has so methodically been set down. I read it a few chapters at a time, interspersing my reading with lighter material, such as Les Dawson's 'Well Fared My Lovely.' Finishing reading Charles ...more
Simon Koefman
May 30, 2014 Simon Koefman rated it it was amazing
I was 11 when Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979. She was without doubt the most divisive figures in British postwar politics,and I wanted to find out for myself why she attracted such strong feelings.
The book covers her childhood, student days and political career up to the Falklands.Volume 2, published next year, covers the rest of her life. The book is (mostly) balanced and objective, and Moore takes care to focus on her failings as well as her triumphs. He also uses a lot of previously
Jakey Gee
Jul 11, 2016 Jakey Gee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Superb and nuanced... and often very gripping. Only really gets rather dull in the final Falklands chapters, so generally it's pacy and entertaining - albeit very long.

Captures her tone very well - the Kipling meets Methodist Bible talk . The obsession with clothes is pretty fascinating. Her thing with these much older, establishment men is amusingly awful. It's breaks through the caricature though: she was less imperious and controlling than we're lead to believe; a lot of the callousness seem
Allen George
Jun 16, 2013 Allen George rated it really liked it
A compelling account of the rise of Margaret Thatcher, Moore gets as close to the human legacy as one can get. This is neither a glowing acceptance of Thatcherism, nor is it highly critical of her rise and early tenure. It presents a balanced and very humanistic view of a courageous and flawed leader - only the greatest are. The downside is that this book ends with the Falklands War and the second volume is not due out for several years. This creates problems with memory. Would have preferred to ...more
Nov 21, 2013 Breakingviews rated it liked it
By Martin Hutchinson

The first volume of Charles Moore’s authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher covers the British prime minister’s life “From Grantham to the Falklands”. In his recounting of her childhood and early years in power, Moore shows her great determination, which was often needed to overcome previous mistakes.

Moore, an Old Etonian, reveals a snobbish disdain for Thatcher’s father Alfred Roberts, who by small-town standards was highly successful (he became mayor of Grantham) and a st
David Williams
Jul 29, 2013 David Williams rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Margaret Thatcher was an amazing political leader. In her own lifetime she was both admired and reviled by many. Even on the occasion of her death the responses could be quite loud. Margaret Thatcher: From Grantham to the Falklands is the first volume in a two volume biography of the Iron Lady by author Charles Moore. Moore spent many years working on this project. Lady Thatcher gave him access to her own material and encouraged others to talk to him. The only stipulation was that the book be ...more
Oct 02, 2016 Adam rated it it was amazing
An absolutely essential account for getting beyond the Thatcher caricature to reality.
Scott Jeffe
Mar 29, 2015 Scott Jeffe rated it really liked it
My how time changes your perspective! When I was a twenty-something political junkie I thought Margaret Thatcher was among the greatest world leaders of her time - or perhaps any time. As an Anglophile I loved that she had "brought Great Britain" back to (some) greatness. As a politico who looked at politics from the international relations lens I thought her fortitude and courage put her in a class above most of her peers around the world in the 1980s. I also liked her "chutzpah" and her ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Philip rated it really liked it
Not an easy read but brilliant in its depth and new insights/information about the formative years of Mrs T's reign as the Iron Lady. It is a chilling reminder of the "perfidious heart of Albion" that lurks in the British elite that worked at all times both from within the Tory Party, the government and from the ranks of her supposed allies to thwart her vision for transformation and her defence of Britain's sovereignty. The lessons for our current times are chilling, anyone in any doubt about ...more
Jul 06, 2013 Marisa rated it liked it
The author, Charles Moore, had unprecedented access to Margaret Thatchers letters, files and interviews with the subject herself for this book. As a result we learn a lot more about Britain's Iron Lady than previous books have been able to share. There is so much private information that Moore was not allowed to publish the book until after she died.

I enjoyed the insight into her youth (she liked boys - quite a few of them! - and clothes - particulary handbags!) and how she emerged as an unlike
Palindrome Mordnilap
Jan 20, 2015 Palindrome Mordnilap rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political-books
Very few biographies I've read have been as engaging, accessible and as penetrating as this first volume by Charles Moore, detailing Thatcher's life from the beginning through until her Falklands triumph in 1982. The 900 pages flew by, the experience feeling like a grand voyage rather than the 'yomp' that a biography can sometimes be. All credit to Moore for producing such a thorough account, a work that must have taken him years to assemble. And this is just the first volume; I await the second ...more
David Archer
Oct 17, 2015 David Archer rated it it was amazing
Although this is the authorised biography, and the author is an admirer of his subject, it is far from a simple hagiography. Moore presents the matter researched coherently, then he mainly lets it speak for itself. He also does not hold back from pointing out minor inconsistencies in previous accounts, including in Thatcher’s memoirs.
Moore is intelligent and diligent, and never allows his narrative to become boring or repetitive. The extensive acknowledgments, endnotes and bibliography demonstra
Sep 07, 2013 Carissa rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. I second Michael Barone's review that this is one of the best political biographies ever written. The number of people and documents which Moore consulted make the book absolutely fascinating. It is a sympathetic and admiring, but not hagiographic portrayal of Mrs. Thatcher. It is more interesting than a novel (and I generally prefer novels!)

The book sheds light on controversial episodes in Mrs. Thatcher's political career and attempts to present what really happened, rath
Avadhoot Jathar
Dec 16, 2015 Avadhoot Jathar rated it it was amazing
Very engaging account of Margaret Thatcher's rise to power. Charles Moore brings out best of autobiography writing - analysing actions based on facts and human motives, praising and criticizing historical accounts through a lens of a well researched third party; all this while keeping narrative tidy. The chapters on Falklands, Northern Ireland Policy, 1975 Leadership election of Margaret Thatcher, Approach to Soviet Union and US relations and Medium Term Financial Strategy are very interesting ...more
Aug 19, 2013 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Unlike previous biographies of Margaret Thatcher, this is the first one to be published after her death. The author did this to prove Mrs. Thatcher has no influence on the script itself. Charles Moore spent years researching, interviewing, and writing for this book. Unlike the mainstream stories that have been published, Moore was granted the rare opportunity to take a look behind the scenes and wrote about the real Margaret Thatcher.

Indeed this is a relatively long account of Mrs. Thatchers' li
Holly Donnelly
Jan 19, 2016 Holly Donnelly rated it liked it
Fascinating to read about how MT managed to combine career and a very traditional role of what a wife and mother should be in the 1950's. Denis Thatcher's views were even more traditional. Imagine the Prime Minister interrupting her work day to cook breakfast for her (retired) husband!

Thatcher was no intellectual, but you have to admire the force and effect of her managing skills.
The early parts of the book were more interesting for an American. The Falklands war seems irrelevant and far away,
M.G. Bell
Aug 05, 2015 M.G. Bell rated it it was amazing
I can't wait for the second volume, and that says it all. Some biographers get trapped in swamps of detail, and lose sight of the narrative, or multiple narratives, that are necessary if a reader is to be driven forward; but not this one. Perhaps it helps that Charles Moore was in amongst the political clan led by Margaret Thatcher and her political mentors such as Keith Joseph; he doesn't have to try to imagine what it would have been like – he was there. His closeness to his subject, and that ...more
Stephen King
Jul 05, 2013 Stephen King rated it it was amazing
This is a classic of the political biography genre. Although Charles Moore, as a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, would be expected to have a great degree of sympathy for his subject, he retains a (gentle) critical eye. He praises her lawyer's attention to detail and her conviction when all around her are wavering, yet also draws attention a number of times to her appalling management style - dressing down Ministers in front of junior staff, her hectoring and her simplistic (yet populist) ...more
Sarah Johnson
Dec 24, 2013 Sarah Johnson rated it it was amazing
I am a quarter of the way through And I can't put it down. What ever you think of the character of Margaret Thatcher or her politics, she was phenomenal - In addition her political life peaked in what I think of as my decade: the 80s. So the book is a massive nostalgia trip... I am remembering political battles I had completely forgotten!
Moore reminds us mainly by examples Of things said about Thatcher - or to her - of how hard it was for a woman to be regarded on an equal footing with male coll
Linda Rice
Sep 16, 2016 Linda Rice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-biography
Good book. On this read, it was the reader (me), not the book, that had limitations. There were British terms and ways of saying things that I didn't understand, but that was good for expanding my vocabulary and understanding of another culture. There were processes in British government that I didn't understand, but I still got the main point. And it was a little too detailed for me, but I could skim and get the major events and outcomes. It would be a great book for someone who wanted to spend ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
This book was excruciating. Although I liked the subject matter the book covered the events of Margaret Thatcher's life in nauseating detail. In fairness though, this book is written for the British. As an American I had a lot of trouble keeping all the characters straight and eventually gave up. A Brit would have the same trouble reading a book about Ronald Reagan and trying to keep all Congressmen straight. So I am not the person to be rating this book. A second volume is being written but I ...more
David Sinck
Jun 27, 2013 David Sinck rated it really liked it
This book goes into almost forensic detail of Baroness Thatcher's career. Most readers don't need to know the technical aspects of the row over the definition of money supply (for example) that went on but the early stuff is fascinating and there are real revelations. Moore is sympathetic but shows that Mrs Thatcher (as she was then ) was not as strong on (for example) the IRA hunger strikers as was made out at the time. A huge book with physical and political heft, it will become the definitive ...more
Peter Wanless
Aug 16, 2014 Peter Wanless rated it really liked it
First third of the book is excellent involving genuinely new insights as a consequence of the author having access to family papers. Some of the domestic stuff about her early years as PM gets into turgid economic detail even for someone like me who enjoyed Nigel Lawson's autobiography immensely! But the final couple of chapters about the Falklands War are very well written bringing back a mixture of memories, new perspectives and a desire to discover more. Ready for part two now.
Theodore Zachariades
Oct 24, 2013 Theodore Zachariades rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I have taken a short break from "Maggie," but I am re-acquainting myself with her.
This book is simply fantastic. The details and the interspersed humor from Moore make this text race along. Though I was a youngster when much of the story actually occurred, I am reminded of things that were prominent in the news at the time, and have faint but real memories of life in England in the late seventies.
Mar 07, 2014 Kammie rated it it was ok
I only read about 150 pages. The author is very thorough in his research. It almost gives too much detail. Would recommend if you had to do a research paper on Margaret Thatcher. I did watch the movie The Iron Lady which gives you a glimpse of her life and leadership style in family life and politics.
Paul Hughes
Jun 23, 2013 Paul Hughes rated it really liked it
Incredibly detailed account of Mrs T's life up to the victory in the Falklands. Those not politically obsessed may want to skim the passages on pay control and the public sector borrowing requirement. A very fair portrait, with few punches pulled over its subjects flaws as well has her virtues.
Nick Spencer
Mar 30, 2016 Nick Spencer rated it really liked it
Very good. A bit too long and, one senses, a bit too sympathetic - Moore is willing to point out T's faults but more willing to defend her from criticism.
He writes unfailingly well and given that, after 750 pages, we only get to 1982, it is a triumph of good biographical writing.
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Charles Hilary Moore is an English journalist and a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. He still writes for the first and last of these publications.

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Other Books in the Series

Thatcher Authorized Biography (2 books)
  • Margaret Thatcher: Everything She Wants
  • Margaret Thatcher: At Her Zenith: In London, Washington and Moscow

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“That July, on a flight to the Republican convention in Detroit which nominated him as the party’s presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan had chatted with his political guru, Stuart Spencer: ‘Spencer asked the question all political pros learn to ask their candidates early on. “Why are you doing this, Ron? Why do you want to be President?” Without a moment’s hesitation Reagan answered, “To end the Cold War.” 0 likes
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