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The Downing Street Years

(Margaret Thatcher's Memoirs #2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,194 ratings  ·  74 reviews
This first volume of Margaret Thatcher's memoirs encompasses the whole of her time as Prime Minister - the formation of her goals in the early 1980s, the Falklands, the General Election victories of 1983 and 1987 and, eventually, the circumstances of her fall from political power. She also gives frank accounts of her dealings with foreign statesmen and her own ministers.
Paperback, 914 pages
Published March 13th 1995 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1993)
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Paul Charles Moore's three volume biography. He was her official biographer and so has access to material that other writers will not, but he also brings…moreCharles Moore's three volume biography. He was her official biographer and so has access to material that other writers will not, but he also brings in critical opinions so it isn't as one-sided as her autobiography. I've read the first two volumes and given them 5/5, as opposed to 2/5 and 3/5 for the autobiography.(less)

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Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Margaret Thatcher was a woman who rescued her nation from it's economic woes and inspired a whole generation to rise above the challenges they faced. Her courage, determination, and passion may never be seen again. In this book, she focuses on the tasks she performed while in office and explains the difficult decisions she made. Unlike Winston Churchill who valued the books he wrote just as much as his accomplishments, Thatcher didn't want her decisions recorded. It took pressure to persuade her ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I listened to this on tape and I also plan on reading the hard cover. I got the audio version from the library but bought both parts of her biographies.

I am totally fascinated with Margaret Thatcher. I've read several books on her and can't seem to get enough. She is extremely intelligent, very frank, confident, principled and was the right person for Great Britain while the U.S. had Ronald Reagan. Its amazing how things were orchestrated during their time in power. God definitely had a plan.
The Downing Street Years.
Published 1993.
The book only cost one dollar. A big hardback in near-new condition.
On reaching chapter three, 'Into the Whirlwind', page 60, I decided to move this tome to the Read list. To get through this book I'll read it in sections and when in a receptive mood. I'll jump ahead to chapters that are of more interest to me.

Twenty-eight chapters including 'Over the Shop', 'The West and the Rest', (hmmm), 'The Falklands War: Follow the Fleet', 'Disarming the Left', 'Mr
Stephen Duffy
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Like all memoirs, especially political ones, this is mostly self-serving. If you admire Margaret Thatcher, and I do, and think she was correct, and I do, then you'll find the book engaging, enlightening, sometimes entertaining, and, in parts, oddly endearing. Any "regrets" alluded to in the upcoming "Iron Lady" film are strictly fictional. Thus, any "I was wrong" statements usually apply to her errors in judgment regarding other people's advice or motives. What is remarkable about this extensive ...more
I started reading this book after the Tories were finally booted from power in 1997. I read it to consign the memory of her and her party to history and to remind myself how bad things were. [Sadly the labour Government now appear to be little more than replicants of the Tories... and equally as corrupt.]

What a self-righteous old bag.... please don't state that she did a lot of good for the country as she, and her cronies, have been responsible for the majority of avarice and greed that exists
Brett Fernau
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
This is a very well written, inspiring biography. The Lady Thatcher did her very best to bring the United Kingdom back from the ruin that socialism and the labor unions had made of it. She nearly succeeded. You will find in this book the brief triumph of conservative thought. By the end of her eleven and a half years as Prime Minister, she had helped her people and the people of the world to gain more freedom, more self-reliance and better lives for themselves and their neighbors. She was, and ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating insight into tough decisions upheld by an even tougher leader. It's a shame that she doesn't talk about her children but good to hear her admiration and respect for her husband Dennis. A remarkable woman who had the courage of her convictions, the integrity to carry the weight of her decisions and the confidence to stand by what she believed even when it was sometimes alone. Her principles of thrift and 'waste not want not' are basic and universal truths for those who believe in ...more
Joshua Bertram
Despite taking almost 3 years to finish this tome (girl needed an editor), it wasn't half bad. Entire boring as hell chapters could have been cut, but Thatcher's prose is unsurprisingly rich and humorous for a tough-as-shit orator who convinced world leaders to refer to her as "The Iron Lady." It was worth a read, if only to marvel at how thoroughly Thatcher was convinced at the righteousness of her own policies. While the West still recovers from the impacts of Thatcherism and Reaganomics 30 ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Terribly boring. It is rare that I leave any book unfinished but this was just unbearable. If you are very into this topic watch "the downing years" documentary by the BBC which includes commentaries from some of the characters involved (Thatcher herself and some others including Gorbachev).
Dec 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Excruciatingly detailed. I got about 100 pages in and she was still discussing her first weekend in power. Next.
All I can say is "I can't believe I took so long to read this!" I have owned this book for 20 years, and for 20 years it has sat on my shelf collecting dust. I have always been a fan of Margaret Thatcher, but somehow felt I was not well versed enough in British politics to appreciate Lady Thatcher's memoirs of her time as Prime Minister.

In some ways, it is very interesting to read this book now. From the outset, the Britain she faced when taking office was very much like America today:

May 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: serious history buffs
I found this not only an interesting look into one of the most influential minds of the era, but insight into how high end politicians must prioritize events, people and actions. Her version of history brought fascinating juxtapositions to light. Controversy hovered over every move of her administration. She accepted that and explains her underlying philosophies for how she made her decisions. She earned her "iron" image every step of the way and was proud of it. I admit I skimmed some highly ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's a doorstop of a book, and vast sections of it are excruciating unless you have a professional knowledge of the British government, and even then . . . but when she hits the Falklands War, and her foreign policy dealings with the French, Germans and Russians, she is fascinating. I was not a fan before I read it, and I am not convinced that her way was the only way (unlike Thatcher), but this was a terrific read overall. And unlike Bill Clinton, who seems to like EVERYONE, Thatcher has a ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read. A great woman, who loved language.

It's interesting that she structures her career around the language in her public speeches. Appropriate for a successor to Churchill, I suppose. But so different from the image-making and emotional manipulations of most U.S. politicians since 1960.
Apr 06, 2009 added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I had grand intentions of improving myself by reading this book about a woman I admire, but each night I ended up picking up my fiction novel instead. Hopefully I'll return to this when I'm feeling more earnest in the future?:)
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and good read.
Jim Bowen
I am very much a product of the 1980s. The first political act I remember was Wilson's resignation as Prime Minister in 1976 and Jim Callaghan's rise to power in his wake. Consequently Callaghan's subsequent loss to Thatcher is the first election I remember.

This book looks at the decade plus that she was in power. It's an interesting book, because she talks about the things that drew me to student politics in the late 1980s. But anyone who reads it now will find it reads more like a historical
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Half of Britain loved her the other half loathed her. Which side you sit on depends largely how she impacted on your life. One thing is for certain though, she is not the worlds greatest author. This was written in a style that typifies the woman's approach to all she did: it is methodical, precise and jaundiced. The MEMOIR is written in concise chronological order, by route, by route march indeed for it is at times laborious. Reading it feels like necrophilia for it is very dry and with little ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
In her book All Must Have Prizes , the journalist Melanie Phillips made what I once considered a very strange assertion for a right-winger: that is, essentially, that Margaret Thatcher was not really a conservative. Here it is important to note the lower case -c, as opposed to the proper noun Conservative Party. Indeed, there are plenty (perhaps even a majority) of Conservatives in the British Parliamentary Party who are not conservatives. But how could any astute political observer reach the ...more
Lord Tedric
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is all that I would want from such a book. Obviously it is written from a Conservative perspective, which clearly offends some of the other reviewers, (what did they expect?).

What you get is a thorough and detailed explanation of the major national and world events during the period of Margaret Thatcher's time as Prime Minister. At each point Mrs Thatcher explains fully her reasons for the decisions she made and policies she followed. A reader may agree or disagree with the policy or its
Ann Marie
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-people
Took me forever since I was not familiar with a lot of the governmental structure and economic implications of things, but it was very educational and brought me up to speed on a lot of things that happened when I was younger and not paying much attention to the world around me. Very aware of her viewpoint throughout, it is interesting to hear her comments about other world leaders. It is more interesting to see what she does NOT say. I have a glimpse now into things I only knew in association ...more
This book summarizes the tenure of Margaret Thatcher's eleven years as Prime Minister of Great Britain. It provides excellent insight into the economic circumstances that swept her into office as well as those issues surrounding the war in the Falkland Islands, the first Gulf War, the IRA, her friendship with Ronald Reagan, the downfall of communism, the liberation of eastern Europe and all of the remarkable successes of her administraion. The book also highlights the curious fickleness of ...more
David Latham
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
An epic undertaking of biblical proportions reading the political career of one of the most controversial leaders of the western world who divided opinion not only in the United Kingdom but the World. Whether you love her or hate her this is a worthwhile read. Of course she did try to show herself in the best of lights but what political leader wouldn’t, but I do believe that she also openly admitted when she believed she had failed in her responsibilities as leader of this nation. And when one ...more
Christina Manolescu
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
With Mrs. Thatcher's recent passing, I went searching for the copy I had bought in London, UK, so many years ago and finally read through the 800-plus page tome. What an amazing read! It makes so much more sense in hindsight. Many of Maggie Thatcher's political insights recorded at that time seem to have been prophetic. The memoir conveys the tremendous burden of making decisions while serving in public office in peace time and, particularly, in times of war. This is a personal perspective of ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What IS it about British history & culture...and the near BIBLICAL length of analysis that seems to accompany each book?!?

Ok...I don't mind THAT much...but it does make reading such books feel like a trek up Everest. What's more surprising is that (1) it's about a woman who I philosophically oppose in every way, and (2) this woman is apparently a hell of a great writer. If you're going to get someone's P.O.V. it should always be as engrossing as this memoir. The memoir to end ALL political
Tony Manera
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Self serving autobiography, but nevertheless informative and revealing. How she handled the Falklands War with Argentina, the UK financial crisis and battles with the unions, the collapse of Communism and apartheid in South Africa are some of the topics addressed in these memoirs. She comes across as a very determined leader, absolutely sure of herself, which of course she was. Her tough medicine was probably what Britain needed at the time, as it had veered too much to the left, but perhaps she ...more
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-bio
Maybe if I knew more about British politics and history, I might have found the book more interesting, but it was just too detailed for me. It's good for a detailed historical review, but if you just want an introduction to Margaret Thatcher to know what the key points of her political years were, it's a bit overkill. I got about a quarter of the way through before I decided to find a different book on her to read.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Overly long and without a hint of regret or doubt as to any of the decisions that she made. Much of it reads as "I told Ronnie [Reagan] such and such, and he agreed that I was right..."; "I told Douglas [Hurd] such and such, and he agreed that I was right...". Interesting as a document of the issues of the times but could have done with a bit of editing and a dose of self-awareness.
Jilali Mahyawi
The late writer writes .Margaret Thatcher. It was really social and political reality dangerous
Yes, the writer was writing Matharabh and that you see, especially in the world of politics by all and as a politician and a former member of the giant was vindicated by correct and especially books about the political sphere.
Michael Harris
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Friends of the HHI library find. An interesting biography of a tough lady during tough political times. She helped to transform England back to financial stability and worked on the world stage to help end the cold war. Of course she made her role very important, but it was an interesting look into British politics.
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Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the first and to date only woman to hold either post.

Born in Grantham in Lincolnshire, England, she went on to read Chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford. She was

Other books in the series

Margaret Thatcher's Memoirs (2 books)
  • The Path to Power
  • Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography
“en realidad iba directamente al núcleo de la cuestión de cuál debía ser el papel del Gobierno en una sociedad libre. Era tarea del Gobierno establecer un marco de estabilidad —ya fuera estabilidad constitucional, el cumplimiento de la ley, o la estabilidad económica” 0 likes
“El deseo de ganar nace en la mayoría de nosotros. La voluntad de ganar es una cuestión de entrenamiento. La manera en que se gana es una cuestión de honor.” 0 likes
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