MARGARET THATCHER by Margaret Thatcher

MARGARET THATCHER

The Collected Speeches
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The most comprehensive and representative collection to date of the former British prime minister's landmark speeches, edited by longtime Thatcher adviser Harris. The book ranges in scope from Thatcher's Bruges speech on the European Economic and Monetary Union (considered the most important of her career) to the Falklands Debate and the Brighton speech on the IRA, a blueprint of British neoconservatism. The ``Iron Lady,'' unlike her American counterparts, emerges here as an unflinching policy-maker, not a mere partisan propagandist. Though Thatcher at times sacrifices cogency for flourish, her scripts overall are pithy and well paced. As with all good oratory, they ride on the driving force of their convictions; the author wisely decides against sophistry and mudslinging. Still, she does occasionally hit below the belt, albeit cleverly: ``I sometimes think the Labour Party is like a pub where the mild is running out. If someone does not do something soon all that is left will be bitter, and all that is bitter will be Left.'' True to form, she decries her usual bugbears: communism, the welfare state, and tax-and-spend big government. Likewise, she invokes familiar Tory mantras: laissez-faire economics, self-reliance, ``a democracy of ownership, freedom [capital] with security [nuclear weapons],'' thrift, and personal responsibility. Complete with her oddly stilted resignation speech, and her charged post-tenure addresses to the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the New Atlantic Initiative in Prague, and the CNN World Economic Development Congress, this tome covers the gamut. For scholars and historians, a useful reference; for ardent politicos, a topical guide to Thatcher's creed; and for the layperson, a transcript that merits a flip-through but packs fewer thrills and insights than a day on C-SPAN. Scoop-seekers are somewhat better off with Thatcher's memoirs.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-018734-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




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