The Reading List: Margaret Thatcher

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The Independent Culture

Last week saw the release of the first trailer for 'The Iron Lady'. Here's your background reading for Phyllida Lloyd's Thatcher biopic.


'The Downing Street Years' by Margaret Thatcher, £16.99, HarperCollins

Thatcher's oeuvre includes Statecraft and a memoir of pre-premier life, The Path to Power. But her most notable work is The Downing Street Years, which delves into most nooks and several crannies of her rule – from the Falklands to her 1990 defenestration.


'The Abridged Margaret Thatcher' by John Campbell, £14.99, Vintage

A combination of two Campbell titles on Thatcher, this account details how a grocer's daughter became Britain's first female PM before being ousted by her own party, and extensively analyses the lady herself. A fascinating peek behind the handbag.


'Mrs Thatcher's Revolution – The Ending of the Socialist Era' by Peter Jenkins, out of print, Pan

Described by one writer as the "definitive" account of Thatcher's time in office. Written three years before the Cabinet revolt that ousted her, Jenkins – The Independent's former associate editor – took on Thatcher's will ("ambition, in small-town girls and boys, is... a demonic force") and argued that the revolution of the book's title was occurring only in half of Britain.


'The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lillian Townsend' by Sue Townsend, £7.99, Penguin

The third Mole book also featured the imagined thoughts of a young Thatcher. Originally published in the New Statesman, Townsend paints the young Lady as an overzealous, class-conscious teen. Though satirical, it's obvious that Townsend admired Thatcher's fortitude. She later said: "She walked alone and friendless to school and back... She took these experiences with her to Downing Street and had her revenge."


'Thatcher & Sons' by Simon Jenkins, £9.99, Penguin

Not the inside track on Mark and a secret twin but an "argued history" in which Simon Jenkins traces Thatcher's influence on the ambitious young bucks – Messrs Blair and Brown included – who followed her reign.