Review Blog

Jul 23 2013

Not for turning: The life of Margaret Thatcher by Robin Harris

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Transworld Publishers, 2013. ISBN 9780593072868.
(Age: 18+) Margaret Thatcher broke through the glass ceiling of British politics to become the first woman to lead the Conservative Party and the country's first female Prime Minister. When she resigned in 1990, she had held the office for longer than any other British Prime Minister of the twentieth century. Readers wanting to find out how one person could achieve so much will find many answers to their questions in Not for turning: The life of Margaret Thatcher by Robin Harris.
The author was Margaret Thatcher's speechwriter and advisor but although he agreed with many of her policies, he has carefully weighed her weaknesses as a political leader against her strengths. The result is a sympathetic but not uncritical account of the former Prime Minister's rise and fall. It explains how Margaret Thatcher's steely determination took her from a modest home to 10 Downing Street, sustained her as she confronted opposition to her policies and survived a terrorist attack, then contributed to her downfall when she refused to withdraw the Community Charge, also known as the Poll Tax. Although readers will learn much about her personal life, Not for turning is essentially a detailed political biography which assumes that its audience has a sophisticated knowledge of British society and politics. A chronology, an extensive bibliography and photographs are provided, but there is no glossary. Meticulous source notes and a challenging vocabulary mark this title as the work of an academically trained author, who anticipates that his book will be selected by university and public libraries.
Not for turning is one person's interpretation of a remarkable if controversial career. It will be of interest to students of politics and economics, as well as those who want to learn more about the life of a leader whose name became synonymous with the ideology she endorsed: Thatcherism.
Elizabeth Bor

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