Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship

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9780091926090: Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship

For decades, historians have perpetuated the myth of a "Churchillian" relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, citing their longtime alliance as an example of the "special" bond between the U.S. and Britain. But, as Richard Aldous argues in this penetrating dual biography, "Reagan and Thatcher" clashed repeatedly - over the Falklands war, the invasion of Grenada, and SDI and nuclear weapons - while carefully cultivating a harmonious image for the public and the media. With the stakes enormously high, these political titans struggled to work together to confront the greatest threat of their time: the USSR. Brilliantly reconstructing some of their most dramatic encounters, Aldous draws on recently declassified documents and extensive oral history to dismantle the popular conception of Reagan-Thatcher diplomacy. His startling conclusion - that the weakest link in the Atlantic Alliance of the 1980s was the association between the two principal actors - will mark an important contribution to our understanding of the 20th century.

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Product Description:

FOR DECADES, HISTORIANS HAVE PERPETUATED THE MYTH OF A CHURCHILLIAN RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RONALD REAGAN AND MARGARET THATCHER, CITING THEIR LONGTIME ALLIANCE AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE SPECIAL BOND BETWEEN THE U.S. AND BRITAIN. BUT, AS RICHARD ALDOUS ARGUES IN THIS PENETRATING DUAL BIOGRAPHY, REAGAN AND THATCHER CLASHED REPEATEDLY - OVER THE FALKLANDS WAR, THE INVASION OF GRENADA, AND SDI AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS - WHILE CAREFULLY CULTIVATING A HARMONIOUS IMAGE FOR THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA. WITH THE STAKES ENORMOUSLY HIGH, THESE POLITICAL TITANS STRUGGLED TO WORK TOGETHER TO CONFRONT THE GREATEST THREAT OF THEIR TIME: THE USSR. BRILLIANTLY RECONSTRUCTING SOME OF THEIR MOST DRAMATIC ENCOUNTERS, ALDOUS DRAWS ON RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS AND EXTENSIVE ORAL HISTORY TO DISMANTLE THE POPULAR CONCEPTION OF REAGAN-THATCHER DIPLOMACY. HIS STARTLING CONCLUSION - THAT THE WEAKEST LINK IN THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE OF THE 1980S WAS THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE TWO PRINCIPAL ACTORS - WILL MARK AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE 20TH CENTURY.

Review:

"This is excellent revisionist history, giving another slant to the interaction of two political icons on the world stage." Publishers Weekly "Vivid, fast-paced and immensely readable, Richard Aldous's new book challenges conventional wisdom and prods us to rethink the 1980s" -- Professor David Reynolds "An important study, based on a wealth of recently-released documents, which puts the Thatcher-Reagan friendship in a wholy new (and more sombre) light. It should be essential reading for anyone who cares about the history, the health and the future of the Anglo-American 'special relationship'" -- Professor David Cannadine "I can't speak for President Reagan, but I've been both praised and pulverized by Margaret Thatcher, and Richard Aldous seems to me to have captured the force of her personality. This is a valuable look behind the looking glass of public-relations politics of the special relationship." -- Harold Evans "Richard Aldous's account of the most intriguing Anglo-American double act of them all provides many surprises ... What Aldous manages to achieve is strong research with a vivid narrative style, bringing the most dramatic moments to life" -- John Kampfner Observer

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