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Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship Hardcover – March 19, 2012
"Hitler's Forgotten Children" by Ingrid von Oelhafen
The Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program. Learn more | See related books
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“Starred review. This is excellent revisionist history, giving another slant to the interaction of two political icons on the world stage.” (Publishers Weekly)
“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. She did have an emotional understanding of Reagan and her of her that in its essence, in my judgement, was warmer than between Churchill and Roosevelt. But her fury was incandescent over the invasion of Grenada, a member of the Commonwealth, as was the wimpiness of the initial American reaction to the seizure of the Falkland Islands. This is a valuable look behind the looking glass of public-relations politics of the special relationship.” (Harold Evans, author of The American Century)
“Vivid, fast-paced and immensely readable, Richard Aldous' new book challenges conventional wisdom and prods us to rethink the 1980s.” (Prof. David Reynolds (Cambridge), author of America, Empire of Liberty)
“An important study, based on a wealth of recently-released documents, which puts the Thatcher-Reagan friendship in a wholy new (and more somber) light. It should be essential reading for anyone who cares about the history, the health and the future of the Anglo-American 'special relationship'.” (David Cannadine, author of The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy and Mellon: An American Life)
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Praise for REAGAN AND THATCHER: THE DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP:
'This well-informed account casts new light on the heroic version of the two leaders' association.' New York Times 'Editor's Choice.'
"This gripping account of their difficult relationship reads like a thriller." Sunday Times "Must Reads" and Best Books of the Summer.
"This wonderful new history by Bard College professor Richard Aldous makes clear that the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was far more challenging and complex than is widely recognized." Christian Science Monitor Best Books of 2012.
"This brilliant book reminds readers of the simple lesson that in diplomacy, interests often trump ideology -- and spin trumps both." Foreign Affairs
"A well-researched, well-written and revisionist double portrait." Wall Street Journal
"It is a remarkable story, which deserves the fresh account that Richard Aldous, a professor of history at Bard College, gives it in Reagan and Thatcher. His book casts new light on the heroic version in which two great leaders continued the struggle for freedom waged for generations past by 'the English-speaking peoples.'" New York Times
"Aldous deserves nothing but credit for the masterly way in which he weaves accounts from published memoirs and recently declassified US material into a pacey, almost thriller-like account of the meetings and telephone calls between these two political giants. This is a work of history that can be read at one sitting." Sunday Times (London)
"Reagan and Thatcher, a wonderful new book by Bard College professor Richard Aldous, makes clear that their alliance was far more challenging and complex than is widely recognized." Christian Science Monitor
'Intelligent, authoritative and extremely readable.' The Spectator (London)
"What Aldous manages to achieve is strong research with a vivid narrative style, bringing the most dramatic moments to life." The Guardian (London)
"An accurate picture of the Reagan-Thatcher dance does us all a favor." Daily Beast "Hot Reads".
"This is excellent revisionist history, giving another slant to the interaction of two political icons on the world stage." Publishers Weekly (starred review).
"This is a well-researched, highly readable book that effectively analyzes the relationship of the two leaders." Washington Times
"Aldous makes a compelling case ... The book offers a well-researched, well-written account of two friends in the heat of battle." Dallas Morning Post
"The portrait of these powerful figures is well drawn and particularly gives the reader a new view of Reagan as a more effective leader than some have portrayed him in the past. In scholarship it supersedes other works on the Reagan-Thatcher relationship." Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Thorough and engaging new history." Slate.
"Aldous makes a thorough and compelling case that the Reagan-Thatcher relationship was as difficult as it was 'special'." The Hill.
"This eminently readable and fascinating book." Irish Times.
"Richard Aldous has written a vivid, jaunty and highly readable account of the working relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher." The Tablet.
"Vivid, fast-paced and immensely readable, Richard Aldous' new book challenges conventional wisdom and prods us to rethink the 1980s."
David Reynolds, author of 'America, Empire of Liberty'.
"Throughout, Aldous carefully and persuasively demonstrates the elaborate care each took to "handle" the other, precautions unnecessary had the relationship been as close as publicly portrayed ... A revealing look at the political marriage of two titans, who, like Roosevelt and Churchill, will be forever linked in history.'
"An important study, based on a wealth of recently-released documents, which puts the Thatcher-Reagan friendship in a wholy new (and more somber) light. It should be essential reading for anyone who cares about the history, the health and the future of the Anglo-American 'special relationship'."
David Cannadine, Author of 'The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy' and 'Mellon: An American Life'.
"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. She did have an emotional understanding of Reagan and he of her that in its essence, in my judgement, was warmer than between Churchill and Roosevelt. But her fury was incandescent over the invasion of Grenada, a member of the Commonwealth, as was the wimpiness of the initial American reaction to the seizure of the Falkland Islands. This is a valuable look behind the looking glass of public-relations politics of the special relationship."
Harold Evans, author of 'The American Century'.
Praise for THE LION AND THE UNICORN: GLADSTONE VS. DISRAELI
`Mutual loathing made their bruising encounters a riveting spectacle, richly enjoyed by the British public and recaptured, with great zest, by Richard Aldous in The Lion and the Unicorn.' New York Times.
'A cracking good read which captures the battle between these two extraordinary personalities.' Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor.
`It does full justice to the drama inherent in a battle for political supremacy that was central to British history for decades.' Sunday Times.
`With The Lion and the Unicorn, this epic showdown has found a worthy champion.' Literary Review
'Aldous's enthralling narative is notably judicious.' Independent on Sunday.
'Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone are the subjects of this engaging and gracefully written book. Why should Americans care about the rivalry between two British politicians who died more than a century ago? Because the events described in this book remind us of an important and timely truth.' National Review.
'Why such a book as this? Well, for enjoyment, among other things. Aldous is a gifted writer ... Still their story more than entertains. It instructs.' Weekly Standard.
`Connoisseurs of political rivalry have had much to enjoy this year, not least a history of the struggle for power between Gladstone and Disraeli.' Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year.
`The result is a hugely enjoyable joint biography.' The Independent.
`Aldous's smooth pacing and adroit writing bring a forgotten world back to life and demonstrate how two forceful if warring personalities can create a history that neither could have achieved acting alone.' Publishers Weekly.
`A rousing portrait of 19th-century England's most venomous political rivalry, featuring a highly readable exploration into the dueling natures of two powerful men.' Kirkus Reviews.
`Aldous deftly analyses this peculiar relationship, but also dramatises it - and does so with great panache.' Daily Telegraph.
`This lively joint biography makes clear they utterly loathed each other.' The Guardian.
`Richard Aldous has written an entertaining and thought-provoking book.' The Spectator.
`Aldous describes the different episodes of the rivalry with vividness, capturing the particular flavour of 19th-century political and social life.' New Statesman.
`Richard Aldous has set this drama with just the kind of care and skill these two extraordinary adversaries, authors and politicians undoubtedly deserve.' Irish Times.
'The Lion and the Unicorn - surprisingly, the first attempt at a double-biography of the great Victorian rivals Gladstone and Disraeli.' The Independent, Books of the Year
Top Customer Reviews
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 (of whom I'm one) 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 in a few less significant incidents.Read more ›
Overall, I found this to be an absolutely fascinating book. It does a great job of presenting the history of the 1980s as it was experienced by the two leaders and their governments. I was quite interested in the squabbles that they had, and also how they did, nonetheless, work together. In many ways their relationship was like a marriage - two people working together, though often struggling with going in two separate directions, and yet working together.
If you want to really understand what happened in the 1980s, then I would highly recommend that you check this book out. You won't regret it!
In the epilogue Aldous does finally almost admit to his overemphasis when he quotes Lord Palmerston's famous comment that "Countries have neither permanent allies nor permanent enemies, just permanent interests." Quite true and it really goes a long way to explaining that, yes, Reagan and Thatcher did, at times, have some major disagreements. I think Aldous was an author in search of rancor and he very much overemphasized the disagreements that occurred during the Reagan - Thatcher years.
Having said that I do have to give the author very high marks for writing a spellbinding history of the 80s. He does a remarkable job of demonstrating the complicated and dynamic events and politics that shaped these years. One cannot read this work without being overwhelmed by the complexities that existed on the world stage and how the participants, most of the time, successfully navigated them.
Overall, an excellent work well worth reading; as is his "Lion and the Unicorn," which covers the Disreali - Gladstone years of the 19th century.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you truly possess disdain for the accomplishments of Thatcher or Reagan enough so that you find their History offensive you will like this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Benjamin R Ellickson
A great insight into politics plus a little scary about who's in charge of us little soulsPublished 9 months ago by Diane Clifton
In Richard Aldous’s Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship, Aldous proves that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher never possessed the Churchillian “special relationship”... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Reviewer R2D2
The trouble with this book is that it misses the point. Yes, Reagan and Thatcher had a strained relationship at times, but in her biography Margaret repeatedly mentions how much... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Nissa
Very informative information about the rocky relationship between the strongest alliance in history. Read morePublished on April 20, 2013 by samman45
Today is former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's state funeral in London. One either likes the memory of her public service in Britain in the eighties or absolutely hates it; no... Read morePublished on April 17, 2013 by Ian Gordon Malcomson