Margaret Thatcher: Volume One: The Grocer’s Daughter

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Random House, Jun 30, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 528 pages
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When Margaret Thatcher unexpectedly emerged to challenge Edward Heath for the Conservative Party leadership in 1975, the public knew her only as the archetypal Home Counties Tory Lady, more famous for her hats than for any outstanding talent: she had a rich businessman husband, sent her children to the most expensive private schools and sat in Parliament for Finchley.

Yet almost overnight she reinvented herself. Journalists who set out to discover where she came from were amazed to find that she had grown up above a grocer's shop in Grantham. Within weeks of her becoming Tory leader an entirely new image was in place, based around the now famous corner shop beside the Great North Road; the strict Methodist upbringing; and her father, who taught her the 'Victorian values' which were the foundations of her subsequent career.

In the first volume of the first full-scale biography of Margaret Thatcher since her fall from power - and the first thoroughly to explore her early life - John Campbell re-examines the mythology and suggests a more complex reality behind the idealised picture accepted by Lady Thatcher's early biographers. He portrays an ambitious and determined woman ruthlessly distancing herself from her roots, until the moment in 1975 when they suddenly became a political asset.

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About the author (2011)

John Campbell is recognised as one of Britain's leading political biographers. In addition to Edward Heath, which won the NCR Award in 1994, his subjects have included Lloyd George (1977), F.E. Smith, Lord Birkenhead (1983), Roy Jenkins (1983) and Aneurin Bevan (1986). His most recent books are If Love Were All: The Story of Frances Stevenson and David Lloyd George, and Pistols at Dawn, published by Jonathan Cape in June 2009. He is currently writing the authorised biography of Roy Jenkins.

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