🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
In this book, Aldous sets out to challenge the view that Reagan and Thatcher enjoyed a close political friendship based on shared ideology and beliefs, particularly in regard to foreign policy and the Soviet Union. He takes some of the major events of the era – the Falklands War, the US invasion of Grenada, Reagan’s Star Wars initiative – to show how in fact the two leaders were often at odds both in policy and approach.
Aldous is a very accessible author and this book, like his earlier The Lion and the Unicorn, is an enjoyable read. However, it seemed to me that his central premise was faulty to the extent that I’m not convinced that a UK audience at least ever believed that the two leaders were fully in tune on the subjects he raises. The failure of the US to provide full and early support over the Falklands crisis was publicly known at the time, as was the UK Government’s dismay over the way the US intervened in Grenada. The various disagreements in approach to arms reduction and the Strategic Defence Initiative have been discussed in many previous books, not least in Thatcher’s own autobiography The Downing Street Years, which Aldous uses extensively as one of his sources.
Despite these differences, there was no doubt that Thatcher and Reagan shared an over-arching world view particularly with regard to economic matters (which oddly Aldous barely touches on) and the on-going Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Aldous doesn’t dispute this, concentrating instead on highlighting divisions on a few less significant incidents. As a result, the central argument of the book seems both weak and unproven.
Nonetheless I feel the book is well researched and gives a good, readable account of some of the most interesting aspects of the Reagan/Thatcher era, as well as a sympathetic and often amusing view of both leaders as people, and on those bases I would recommend it as well worth reading.