Margaret Thatcher: A Life and Legacy (Oxford University Press), by David Cannadine
Humorless but hardworking, Margaret Thatcher leaped boundaries of class and sexism to become the U.K.’s first female prime minister. In his sensibly reasoned account, British historian David Cannadine describes her as an unpopular populist whose floundering political fortunes were reversed early on when she defeated Argentina’s fascist regime in the Falklands War. Single-mindedly devoted to free market ideology, she denied any connection between social unrest and economic deprivation. As the wrecking ball that smashed Britain’s quasi-socialism, Thatcher swam in the rightward tide that swept the democratic world in the 1980s. She encouraged a culture of self-interested greed, was on the history’s wrong side by backing apartheid but on the right side by supporting change in the Soviet Bloc. Her legacy continues to overshadow the U.K. as the kingdom grapples with its future.