Margaret Thatcher will have the final word on her life and times when a new autobiography, produced in accordance with her wishes, is published later this week.
HarperCollins is to rush-release Margaret Thatcher - The Autobiography 1925-2013 as an eBook, with a print edition and audiobook set to hit stores in the next fortnight.
The book is a newly edited, single-volume edition of Lady Thatcher’s two previous memoirs, The Downing Street Years and The Path To Power.
The 1,344 pages of the original volumes, published in 1993 and 1995, have been condensed to a brisk 832 pages. Lady Thatcher approved the release of an abridged version to follow her death.
Martin Redfern, Editorial Director of HarperPress, said: “For the autobiography, we have condensed the memoirs down to some of the most fascinating times, and arranged it chronologically.
“It is a long time since they first appeared, and it was her wish that this book should come out following her death, that it would be a testament to her.
“What really comes through is her voice - it is a short, sharp self-portrait, and she is honest about every detail. You see the real woman. This will be a very important book for us, and I am pleased it is finally available digitally for the first time.”
Waterstones reported a 300% surge in sales for The Downing Street Years, since the former Prime Minister’s death was announced on Monday. Books by or about her controlled five of the top 10 slots on Amazon.co.uk’s “movers and shakers” chart.
Not For Turning, the authorised biography, written by Charles Moore, who was given full access to Thatcher’s private papers and interviewed her extensively, will be published next Thursday, the day after her ceremonial funeral.
Moore was commissioned to write the book in 1997 on the understanding that it would not be published during her lifetime.
Publishers Allen Lane, which is part of Penguin Books, promised that the first volume “supercedes all earlier books written about her”.
However Robin Harris, Lady Thatcher’s former speechwriter and the co-writer of her autobiography, has also written “the defining book about this indomitable woman.”
His biography, also called Not For Turning, is published on 25 April. “I can think of no-one better placed than you to tackle the subject,” wrote Lady Thatcher to Harris when he embarked upon the project.
A Waterstones spokesman said: “There’s been a huge amount of interest already with people wanting to read about her life in detail. We expect Charles Moore’s book to do particularly well as it’s been described as the definitive work.”