~~~~Kirkus Reviews~~~~ "An astute discussion of a significant but often neglected component of British history." ~~~~From the back cover~~~~ John Hoskyns, like everyone in the 1970s, knew something was very wrong with the British economy. Despite decades of meticulous management, redistribution, and social guarantees, the population was feeling poorer, and their lives more chaotic. The home of the industrial revolution was now home to nationalized companies and a crushing number of rules, regulations, and controls over every aspect of business activity. The land of Adam Smith had become estranged from free enterprise. No one inside or outside government seemed to know what to do about the situation. Budgets were increased, slashed, then increased again. Unions were fingered as culprits but allowed to grow more powerful. In 1974 Hoskyns decided to map the causal chains connecting the various economic ailments in Britain. The former software engineer summarized his analysis in his now famous “wiring diagram.” The chart was shown to Margaret Thatcher, who brought Hoskyns into her government as a key strategist. This book guides the reader through Hoskyn’s diagram cell by cell, using it as a platform from which to discuss the underlying economic concepts, and as a window on the most amazing economic rescue of modern times. ~~~~Full Kirkus review~~~~ When Thatcher was elected the leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party in 1976, the country was mired in economic malaise and political disillusionment. That same year, Sir John Hoskyns, a successful businessman with no previous political experience, mapped out what he thought were the principal causes of the nation’s economic dysfunction—a graphic display that came to be known as the “wiring diagram.” The following year, he converted this into an electoral and political strategy titled the “Stepping Stones” report, which became the philosophical fulcrum of Thatcher’s successful election campaign in 1979 as well as a blueprint for her subsequent approach to governance. At the heart of the plan was an opposition to entrenched union power, protected by the Labour Party, which demanded low unemployment and high wages via government programs. This squeezed a government already pinched by declining productivity in the private sector, causing accumulating debt and higher taxes—strategies that, in Hoskyns’ view, only compounded the original problem. Clouse (Six Nine, Two Ten, 2016, etc.) begins by sketching out the historical context for Hoskyns’ contribution to Thatcher’s success, including an account of the domestic political scene as well as the theoretical fight between free-market economists and the dominant Keynesians of the time. Clouse’s exposition is impressively meticulous and lucid throughout this book, rendering Hoskyns’ complex vision accessible to patient readers. He takes them on a tour of the wiring diagram in its entirety, clearly explaining each of the cells that represent economic causes and effects of underperformance. Further, he carefully limns the differences between the wiring diagram and the political report it birthed as well as the real differences between Thatcher’s and Hoskyns’ views. Finally, he displays a firm grasp of the historical import of Hoskyns’ sketch: “It presented basic truths that were turned into policies, and those policies improved the lives of millions of ordinary people.” An astute discussion of a significant but often neglected component of British history.