cover image The Iron Lady: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher

The Iron Lady: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher

Hugo Young. Farrar Straus Giroux, $30 (569pp) ISBN 978-0-374-22651-0

Young's probing political biography reveals how Thatcher changed the face of the Conservative Party in a series of ``mighty battles'' with the old guard, tamed the trade unions, controlled inflation and unemployment and, by her conduct of the Falkland War and her dealings with Reagan and Gorbachev, emerged as a global leader. Reviewing her tenure as a combative, pragmatic prime minister with a driving sense of mission, Young, a journalist for the Guardian in England, concludes that Thatcher has displayed the virtues and vices of ``a ruthless crusading leader who knew she was right and had the supreme duty to remain in power.'' Her accomplishments have been extraordinary and yet, as Young points out, there is scant evidence that her countrymen like her, let alone love her (she does not seem to like them either, he adds). And she has demonstrated that a political leader needn't be popular to be effective. Photos. (Oct.)