Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship

Richard Aldous, Author
Richard Aldous. Norton, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-06900-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-09-953409-9
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-09-192609-0
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4464-9388-5
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-09-192608-3
Open Ebook - 978-0-393-08315-6
Hardcover - 603 pages - 978-1-4104-4845-3
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Aldous re-examines popular myths of the closeness of the political partnership between President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, drawing on recently declassified documents, interviews, and newly opened private archives. Aldous (The Lion and the Unicorn), professor of British history and literature at Bard, reveals the dynamics between the leaders who ushered in the collapse of the cold war. He presents a “complex, often fractious” and competitive relationship from 1981 through the heated disputes between the two leaders over the Falkland conflict, nuclear arms, and Soviet strategies. Aldous says that while Reagan’s style was anecdotal and without frills, Thatcher’s leadership tone was “policy-driven, analytical,” and very confrontational. “It all worked,” Thatcher once said, “because he was more afraid of me than I was of him.” Yet Thatcher feared Reagan’s willingness to engage in unilateral military actions, such as invading Grenada and retaliating after the attack on American barracks in Lebanon. Aldous shows the leaders navigating on a high wire in a hothouse political climate, agreeing to disagree while never exposing the other to ridicule. This is excellent revisionist history, giving another slant to the interaction of two political icons on the world stage. 8 pages of photos. Agent: Georgina Capel at Capel and Land (Mar.)
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