Reagan and Thatcher

Geoffrey Smith, Author W. W. Norton & Company $22.95 (285p) ISBN 978-0-393-02948-2
Drawing on interviews with both leaders and their advisers, Smith traces the course of a relationship that was warmer personally and closer ideologically than that between any previous American president and British prime minister. Their mutual admiration often translated into mutual aid: U.S. assistance in the 1982 Falklands war, for instance, was reciprocated by permission to use British bases in the Libyan air strike in 1986. While their most public dispute, according to Smith, was over the Grenada invasion in 1983 (Thatcher was enraged when Reagan launched it), their most deep-seated disagreement arose from Reagan's efforts toward a denuclearized Europe. The author, a columnist for the London Times, emphasizes the prime minister's influence over the president, and explains how her political position at home as well as her international clout was continually strengthened by her partnership with ``Ron.'' Suggesting that Thatcher's most significant role was as matchmaker between Reagan and Gorbachev, Smith shows how their three-way interaction set international affairs on a new and more hopeful course. The book offers a fresh view of President Reagan from the British viewpoint and illustrates the importance of personal chemistry in high-level diplomacy. Photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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