The Most Truly Conservative Person . . .

When Margaret Thatcher died last April, the obsequies were at times almost drowned by vitriolic voices celebrating her demise.  There were howls of joy from old enemies, street parties, and a puer­ile campaign to make the Wizard of Oz song “Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead!” the top-selling pop single.  (It failed, narrowly.)  The extravagant hatred evinced shocked some people, but it was in a way an entirely suitable send-off for a woman who always loathed “consensus.”  She may be the last Conservative whose demise will evoke more than a yawn.

This is former Spectator and Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore’s first book, but it is an assured production, steeped in its subject, judicious in its handling of history, colored by the author’s journalistic instinct for revealing and amusing anecdotes.  In this first of two volumes, Moore follows his heroine from birth to what “may well have been the happiest moment in her life”: the October 1982 victory celebrations after the recapture of the Falklands.  His heroine she may have been—which is why Lady Thatcher approached him to be her biographer, on the understanding that publication would be posthumous and that interviewees knew she would never read what they had said about her—but he maintains critical distance nevertheless. ...

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