Cover image for Reagan and Thatcher
Reagan and Thatcher
Smith, Geoffrey, 1930-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, 1991.
Physical Description:
viii, 285 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E877.2 .S64 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 4

Booklist Review

London Times columnist Smith draws on interviews with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and others in their respective administrations to support his analysis of the "special relationship" between Reagan and Thatcher--and hence Britain and the U.S.--certainly the most notable political liaison of the 1980s. From their first meeting when Reagan was still the governor of California to the Falkland's crisis, the invasion of Grenada, and their tenuous trust of Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Smith outlines the two leaders' common goals, ideals, and aspirations as well as their differences, which often centered on competing national interests. He compares their personal and public friendship with that of Roosevelt and Churchill, albeit without the same historical impact as "they did not have a world war to fight." In contrasting these two personalities--Thatcher's intellectualism and Reagan's idealism, her lack of public appeal with his capacity for warming the hearts of the masses--Smith consummates this depiction of the "dawn of the New Right." ~--Ivy Burrowes

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing on interviews with both leaders and their advisers, Smith traces the course of a relationship that was warmer personally and closer ideologically than that between any previous American president and British prime minister. Their mutual admiration often translated into mutual aid: U.S. assistance in the 1982 Falklands war, for instance, was reciprocated by permission to use British bases in the Libyan air strike in 1986. While their most public dispute, according to Smith, was over the Grenada invasion in 1983 (Thatcher was enraged when Reagan launched it), their most deep-seated disagreement arose from Reagan's efforts toward a denuclearized Europe. The author, a columnist for the London Times, emphasizes the prime minister's influence over the president, and explains how her political position at home as well as her international clout was continually strengthened by her partnership with ``Ron.'' Suggesting that Thatcher's most significant role was as matchmaker between Reagan and Gorbachev, Smith shows how their three-way interaction set international affairs on a new and more hopeful course. The book offers a fresh view of President Reagan from the British viewpoint and illustrates the importance of personal chemistry in high-level diplomacy. Photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Smith, a political commentator for the London Times , has written a well-informed but sycophantic account of the warm relationship that developed between President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980s. The reader is left with the impression that Reagan and Thatcher saved the civilized world with their policies of tax reduction, trade union reform, and privatization. ``In their very different ways,'' he observes, ``they combined to extend democracy and to make a market economy the mark of a successful state.'' Smith's analysis fails to go beyond journalistic cliches. For a more profound perspective, see Joel Krieger's Reagan, Thatcher, and the Politics of De cline (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1986). Previewed in Prepub Alert LJ 11/1/90 as A Very Special Relationship: Reagan and Thatcher. --Kent Worcester, Columbia Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Smith, well-known political journalist for The Times (London), writes of the close and warm relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher based on the personal chemistry that began when these leaders first met in 1975, on the major ideas they shared, on their many common interests, and on the political help they gave each other. Although they differed on some specific policies and on some economic matters, the two leaders agreed on many other issues discussed by Smith. These included reducing the role of the state and centralized planning in economic life through privatization or deregulation, cutting income tax, encouraging free markets as one aspect of a free society, changing political attitudes about public expenditure, controlling inflation, increasing the military strength of the West, and supporting the perestroika policy of Gorbachev. Smith discusses the memorable personalities of Reagan and Thatcher and their different political and intellectual qualities. This readable book is based less on scholarship than on interviews with the two leaders and with their advisers and numerous politicians and officials in the US and in Britain. For the general public as well as those interested in US and British politics. -M. Curtis, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Campus