Read The Downing Street Years by Margaret Thatcher Online


The first volume of the memoirs of Margaret Thatcher, this book concentrates on her years as Prime Minister - providing not only a look at the woman herself, but at the often top-secret world she travelled in and the major events that took place during her incumbency....

Title : The Downing Street Years
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060170561
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 914 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Downing Street Years Reviews

  • Benjamin
    2019-02-02 14:20

    Margaret Thatcher was a woman who rescued her nation from it's economic woes and inspired a whole generation to rise above the challenges they faced. Her courage, determination, and passion may never be seen again. In this book, she focuses on the tasks she performed while in office and explains the difficult decisions she made. Unlike Winston Churchill who valued the books he wrote just as much as his accomplishments, Thatcher didn't want her decisions recorded. It took pressure to persuade her to write the story. What I notice most profoundly is the passion she writes with trying at all costs to justify every action she made. She's a very practical woman with very little room to criticize herself. Overall, I enjoyed what I read.

  • John
    2019-02-15 14:38

    I started reading this book after the Tories were finally booted from power in 1997. I read it to consign the memory of her and her party to history and to remind myself how bad things were. [Sadly the labour Government now appear to be little more than replicants of the Tories... and equally as corrupt.]What a self-righteous old bag.... please don't state that she did a lot of good for the country as she, and her cronies, have been responsible for the majority of avarice and greed that exists in our country today.I hope that when she looks in the mirror she feels shame...I certainly hope that when she goes to bed at night that she is haunted and tormented by the wicked way in which she asset-stripped our nation and destroyed communities.In 1979 when she became PM there was still an element of repsect in authority... no-one had much and there was a sense of community... In a few years the miserable old bitch destroyed everything.I bet she still chuckles to herself about the way we fought in the Falklands so that she could get re-elected.i bet she has happy memories of the Battle of Orgreave and the destruction of our mining industry.Oh... and how amusing it must be to have stabbed the Union of Democratic Mineworkers in the back... they were scabs and deserved all they got....Maggie... rot in hell..

  • Dionne
    2019-02-07 14:26

    I listened to this on tape and I also plan on reading the hard cover. I got the audio version from the library but bought both parts of her biographies. I am totally fascinated with Margaret Thatcher. I've read several books on her and can't seem to get enough. She is extremely intelligent, very frank, confident, principled and was the right person for Great Britain while the U.S. had Ronald Reagan. Its amazing how things were orchestrated during their time in power. God definitely had a plan.

  • Stephen Duffy
    2019-02-17 17:32

    Like all memoirs, especially political ones, this is mostly self-serving. If you admire Margaret Thatcher, and I do, and think she was correct, and I do, then you'll find the book engaging, enlightening, sometimes entertaining, and, in parts, oddly endearing. Any "regrets" alluded to in the upcoming "Iron Lady" film are strictly fictional. Thus, any "I was wrong" statements usually apply to her errors in judgment regarding other people's advice or motives. What is remarkable about this extensive overview of domestic, European, and foreign affairs is the candid assessments she lays down. She gives opinions on other politicians/ leaders without any diplomatic varnish at all, but she is also willing to acknowledge admirable traits, even of long-standing adversaries. Also, parts of the book, especially in dealing with economic reforms, effectively explain aspects of her beliefs that have been twisted or misunderstood -- she's no fan of speculators, for instance. Thatcherism was/ is not a "get rich quick" scheme -- there are some solid moral and economic principles that businessmen, bankers, and brokers choose to ignore. Like it or not, Thatcher's a giant of post-war politics and a true world-figure. She changed the landscape of British politics and the economy, she was crucial to the defeat of communism in Europe, and she saved the UK from the Euro (and hopefully from rule from Brussels). Current leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have to deal with an environment that she helped create, for better or worse. Few of them have the dedication to convictions, leadership qualities, or shear resolve to achieve her stature.

  • Brett Fernau
    2019-02-04 17:27

    This is a very well written, inspiring biography. The Lady Thatcher did her very best to bring the United Kingdom back from the ruin that socialism and the labor unions had made of it. She nearly succeeded. You will find in this book the brief triumph of conservative thought. By the end of her eleven and a half years as Prime Minister, she had helped her people and the people of the world to gain more freedom, more self-reliance and better lives for themselves and their neighbors. She was, and is, an uncompromising advocate of the fact that the government that governs best is one that governs least.I am in awe of her leadership and her integrity. It was a privilege to read this book and get to know her better. Thank you, Lady Thatcher, for your service to humanity.

  • Janique
    2019-02-07 14:38

    A fascinating insight into tough decisions upheld by an even tougher leader. It's a shame that she doesn't talk about her children but good to hear her admiration and respect for her husband Dennis. A remarkable woman who had the courage of her convictions, the integrity to carry the weight of her decisions and the confidence to stand by what she believed even when it was sometimes alone. Her principles of thrift and 'waste not want not' are basic and universal truths for those who believe in sound economics and not the 'lend to have it now' philosophy. Her judgement was incredibly accurate taking into consideration the current Euro rescue plan. It was right to close businesses that were unprofitable as per the rapidly falling commodity prices of today. Perhaps she was more foresighted than even she knew. One cannot deny, when one soberly assesses, without all the misconceptions and clouding of emotion, that her logic and convictions drove Britain out of decline and onto a path of economic and social prosperity. That she is still the only British Prime Minister to hold office for 11 1/2 years is testament that the majority of the British people thought so too. It'll be a long time before we see another like her. And before anyone else condemns her to hell it is highly likely she'll actually make it to heaven, having confessed Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour, and be greeted with 'well done my good and faithful servant'.

  • Max
    2019-02-01 17:30

    Terribly boring. It is rare that I leave any book unfinished but this was just unbearable. If you are very into this topic watch "the downing years" documentary by the BBC which includes commentaries from some of the characters involved (Thatcher herself and some others including Gorbachev).

  • CJ
    2019-02-17 18:24

    Excruciatingly detailed. I got about 100 pages in and she was still discussing her first weekend in power. Next.

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-07 19:39

    All I can say is "I can't believe I took so long to read this!" I have owned this book for 20 years, and for 20 years it has sat on my shelf collecting dust. I have always been a fan of Margaret Thatcher, but somehow felt I was not well versed enough in British politics to appreciate Lady Thatcher's memoirs of her time as Prime Minister.In some ways, it is very interesting to read this book now. From the outset, the Britain she faced when taking office was very much like America today:"...the British Government soon jammed a finger in every pie. It levied high rates of tax on work, enterprise, consumption and wealth transfer. it planned development at every level - urban, rural, industrial and scientific. It managed the economy, macro-economically by Keynesian methods of fiscal manipulation, micro-economically by granting regional and industrial subsidies on a variety of criteria.""It made available various forms of welfare for a wide range of contingencies - poverty, unemployment, large families, old age, misfortune, ill-health, family quarrels - generally on a universal basis.""Labour moved Britain towards statism; the Tories stood pat; and the next Labour Government moved the country a little further left. The Tories were the corset of socialism; they never removed it."Mrs. Thatcher described the economic problems Britain faced as having evolved from the ideal of a "democratic socialist society" that Labour espoused."No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic society than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect."Fortunately for Prime Minister Thatcher, Britain's system of government meant that as long as she convinced her Tory party members to back her, she had a free hand reversing the course set by Labour. She understood that her primary goals were to set the British economy on a better footing through deregulation, privatization, debt reduction, income tax reduction, and sound fiscal policy. Another large component of her administration was to raise Britain up to, once again, a high ranking power in the world. When she left office she had accomplished these goals.I was fascinated with her chapters on improving Britain's economy, dealings with the European Council and the way she took on the trade unions. The Falkland War chapters were also enlightening. I have studied much about the collapse of the Soviet Union and it's relations with the United States, so Thatcher's discussion of these events and the repercussions to Europe were particularly interesting.One the things that kept me from reading this book for so long, was my fear that I was not familiar enough with British politics or government to fully appreciate this memoir. In some instances that was true. Lady Thatcher used so many acronyms that were lost on me. I had to look up many, and oftentimes, even when I understood what they now meant, the people and departments were still too foreign for me to fully comprehend. That said, those times were the minority.Margaret Thatcher had a keen insight about the way the world works. Her writing is powerful - her speechwriters always claimed that they never wrote her speeches, but that she wrote them and they "helped." There were many times I wanted to yell "Yes!" to an eloquent comment she made, or picked up the phone to call someone to further discuss something she had said in the book. There's an old game people play where you are asked if you could choose one person, living or dead, to sit down to dinner with, who would it be? I can most definitely say it would be Margaret Thatcher. 4 1/2 stars.

  • Joshua Bertram
    2019-02-14 17:28

    Despite taking almost 3 years to finish this tome (girl needed an editor), it wasn't half bad. Entire boring as hell chapters could have been cut, but Thatcher's prose is unsurprisingly rich and humorous for a tough-as-shit orator who convinced world leaders to refer to her as "The Iron Lady." It was worth a read, if only to marvel at how thoroughly Thatcher was convinced at the righteousness of her own policies. While the West still recovers from the impacts of Thatcherism and Reaganomics 30 years later, she as much as literally calls herself the saviour of the world. Of particular amusement to me as an educator was the way she scoffs alarmingly at "extreme" movements in education which are now accepted as basic tenets of the institution. She was a terrifying bastion of neoliberal destruction, but one I can't help have a little more respect for simply for the way she unapologetically carved out space in a club of mostly-male world leaders. Just don't expect any self-reflection.

  • Ann
    2019-02-13 13:28

    I found this not only an interesting look into one of the most influential minds of the era, but insight into how high end politicians must prioritize events, people and actions. Her version of history brought fascinating juxtapositions to light. Controversy hovered over every move of her administration. She accepted that and explains her underlying philosophies for how she made her decisions. She earned her "iron" image every step of the way and was proud of it. I admit I skimmed some highly detailed economic parts about the battle over the Euro near the end, but jumped right back in after a few pages.

  • Jim
    2019-01-25 19:31

    A wonderful read. A great woman, who loved language.It's interesting that she structures her career around the language in her public speeches. Appropriate for a successor to Churchill, I suppose. But so different from the image-making and emotional manipulations of most U.S. politicians since 1960.

  • Stacy
    2019-01-19 12:34

    I had grand intentions of improving myself by reading this book about a woman I admire, but each night I ended up picking up my fiction novel instead. Hopefully I'll return to this when I'm feeling more earnest in the future?:)

  • Duncan
    2019-01-17 12:50

    Very interesting and good read.

  • Jim Bowen
    2019-01-20 15:33

    I am very much a product of the 1980s. The first political act I remember was Wilson's resignation as Prime Minister in 1976 and Jim Callaghan's rise to power in his wake. Consequently Callaghan's subsequent loss to Thatcher is the first election I remember.This book looks at the decade plus that she was in power. It's an interesting book, because she talks about the things that drew me to student politics in the late 1980s. But anyone who reads it now will find it reads more like a historical treaties than it does anything else. I say this because much of what she writes about have become settled facts that everyone agrees on.I can remember the arguments that she had with Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Hows, the "wets" in her cabinet and the like. I also remember the heated discussions people had over the miner's strike, EMU, student loans, the poll tax and so on, but remember folks these arguments happened a quarter of a century now, so much of what she talk about feels like it happened a long long time ago, in a place that feels like, but isn't quite, England.That isn't to say that what she wrote wasn't interesting or didn't made me smile. As an example, her certainty that they'd seen off the Labour party as a party of "prolonged government" had to make me laugh, while her concerns about how a unified Germany might destablise Europe has to make you doubt her judgment.In short, this book is interesting because the "blessed Margaret" helped Britons redefine how they was themselves, but I'd say that people should read it as a piece of self-justifictory history now because, as I said earlier, much of the arguments she discusses became "settled historic facts.

  • Cocaine
    2019-02-04 15:28

    Half of Britain loved her the other half loathed her. Which side you sit on depends largely how she impacted on your life. One thing is for certain though, she is not the worlds greatest author. This was written in a style that typifies the woman's approach to all she did: it is methodical, precise and jaundiced. The MEMOIR is written in concise chronological order, by route, by route march indeed for it is at times laborious. Reading it feels like necrophilia for it is very dry and with little in the way of any real joy. I did enjoy the passages about the Falklands War and the war waged on Arthur Scargill and by consequence the miners unions and by default the communities who suffered as the two parties tore lumps out of each other. It is not a bad book, it just isn't very good. What amazes me long after the event is, apart from her success at getting Britain's finances back on track, is how focused she was. Scratch focused and replace with myopic. Her only concern appears to have been taking care of the money, of the rich letting the flow of cash act as cure-all. She was less Conservative, and by her own admission, more Gladstonian Liberal. Her passion is unquestionable. Her austere approach very questionable. Glad to see Clement Attlee beat her in to second place in the best British post war PM.

  • Timothy James
    2019-01-28 14:36

    This is all that I would want from such a book. Obviously it is written from a Conservative perspective, which clearly offends some of the other reviewers, (what did they expect?). What you get is a thorough and detailed explanation of the major national and world events during the period of Margaret Thatcher's time as Prime Minister. At each point Mrs Thatcher explains fully her reasons for the decisions she made and policies she followed. A reader may agree or disagree with the policy or its outcome but he or she will at least understand the reasoning behind it and it's intention.It is a long book to read, but each chapter has a particular theme so taking breaks and reading over an extended period is quite possible. Helpfully the chapters are subdivided into smaller sections allowing a further break up of your reading. I thought it very well written It is clear to read, quite fast paced, and contains a lot more humor than I expected. Anecdotes are included but they are all relevent to the content of the chapter and never distracting from the flow of the book.Of its type it is the best book I have yet read.

  • Ann Marie
    2019-02-02 14:36

    Took me forever since I was not familiar with a lot of the governmental structure and economic implications of things, but it was very educational and brought me up to speed on a lot of things that happened when I was younger and not paying much attention to the world around me. Very aware of her viewpoint throughout, it is interesting to hear her comments about other world leaders. It is more interesting to see what she does NOT say. I have a glimpse now into things I only knew in association with pop culture like the Sex Pistols, Adam Ant, movies and BBC shows....Boy, I was ignorant. And I still have so much to learn! Read another review that talked about how she spends most of the book trying to justify why she was right, and I see their point. However, that's why I read the book --- for her take on things, not an impartial review of facts.

  • Chuck
    2019-01-17 17:43

    This book summarizes the tenure of Margaret Thatcher's eleven years as Prime Minister of Great Britain. It provides excellent insight into the economic circumstances that swept her into office as well as those issues surrounding the war in the Falkland Islands, the first Gulf War, the IRA, her friendship with Ronald Reagan, the downfall of communism, the liberation of eastern Europe and all of the remarkable successes of her administraion. The book also highlights the curious fickleness of British politics. This is a worthwhile and interesting history book told in the first person by the "Iron Lady".

  • David Latham
    2019-01-27 18:23

    An epic undertaking of biblical proportions reading the political career of one of the most controversial leaders of the western world who divided opinion not only in the United Kingdom but the World. Whether you love her or hate her this is a worthwhile read. Of course she did try to show herself in the best of lights but what political leader wouldn’t, but I do believe that she also openly admitted when she believed she had failed in her responsibilities as leader of this nation. And when one sees how she came to her convictions over 11 ½ years as PM and how she helped change this nation. A true must read.

  • Christina Manolescu
    2019-02-06 13:48

    With Mrs. Thatcher's recent passing, I went searching for the copy I had bought in London, UK, so many years ago and finally read through the 800-plus page tome. What an amazing read! It makes so much more sense in hindsight. Many of Maggie Thatcher's political insights recorded at that time seem to have been prophetic. The memoir conveys the tremendous burden of making decisions while serving in public office in peace time and, particularly, in times of war. This is a personal perspective of history in which Thatcher explains her motivations, describes her successes and acknowledges her failures throughout 3 decades of public service.

  • Tony Manera
    2019-02-13 14:44

    Self serving autobiography, but nevertheless informative and revealing. How she handled the Falklands War with Argentina, the UK financial crisis and battles with the unions, the collapse of Communism and apartheid in South Africa are some of the topics addressed in these memoirs. She comes across as a very determined leader, absolutely sure of herself, which of course she was. Her tough medicine was probably what Britain needed at the time, as it had veered too much to the left, but perhaps she overdid it, something that she would no doubt challenge.Tony Manera

  • Simon
    2019-01-25 18:38

    It's a doorstop of a book, and vast sections of it are excruciating unless you have a professional knowledge of the British government, and even then . . . but when she hits the Falklands War, and her foreign policy dealings with the French, Germans and Russians, she is fascinating. I was not a fan before I read it, and I am not convinced that her way was the only way (unlike Thatcher), but this was a terrific read overall. And unlike Bill Clinton, who seems to like EVERYONE, Thatcher has a lively interest in revenge upon political enemies and even a few soi-disant supporters.

  • Daniel Kukwa
    2019-01-17 12:50

    What IS it about British history & culture...and the near BIBLICAL length of analysis that seems to accompany each book?!?Ok...I don't mind THAT much...but it does make reading such books feel like a trek up Everest. What's more surprising is that (1) it's about a woman who I philosophically oppose in every way, and (2) this woman is apparently a hell of a great writer. If you're going to get someone's P.O.V. it should always be as engrossing as this memoir. The memoir to end ALL political memoirs!

  • Kirstie
    2019-02-06 18:29

    Maybe if I knew more about British politics and history, I might have found the book more interesting, but it was just too detailed for me. It's good for a detailed historical review, but if you just want an introduction to Margaret Thatcher to know what the key points of her political years were, it's a bit overkill. I got about a quarter of the way through before I decided to find a different book on her to read.

  • Jilali Mahyawi
    2019-02-10 13:30

    The late writer writes .Margaret Thatcher. It was really social and political reality dangerousYes, the writer was writing Matharabh and that you see, especially in the world of politics by all and as a politician and a former member of the giant was vindicated by correct and especially books about the political sphere.

  • Michael Harris
    2019-01-18 18:50

    Friends of the HHI library find. An interesting biography of a tough lady during tough political times. She helped to transform England back to financial stability and worked on the world stage to help end the cold war. Of course she made her role very important, but it was an interesting look into British politics.

  • Nick
    2019-01-22 15:33

    Overly long and without a hint of regret or doubt as to any of the decisions that she made. Much of it reads as "I told Ronnie [Reagan] such and such, and he agreed that I was right..."; "I told Douglas [Hurd] such and such, and he agreed that I was right...". Interesting as a document of the issues of the times but could have done with a bit of editing and a dose of self-awareness.

  • Lupeng Jin
    2019-01-18 11:35

    What an Iron Lady! I was embarrassed while reading her stories, especially that reflected her determination when difficulties fell down upon her shoulders. No matter what she had done were right or wrong, only time could make a justification.

  • Jeff
    2019-02-01 19:43

    Normally memoirs written by politicians about their years in office are self-serving crap. While this book is clearly self-serving (what would you expect?) it is also quite honest and amazingly well written.