Magazine June 11, 2012, Issue

The Odd Couple

Then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reaches across to congratulate then-President Ronald Reagan watched by his wife Nancy after his speech at the Guildhall in London, England, June, 3, 1988. (Roy Letkey/Reuters)
Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship, by Richard Aldous (Norton, 342 pp., $27.95)

Both the subtitle of Richard Aldous’s book — “The Difficult Relationship” — and its foreword proclaim it to be an exercise in historical revisionism. Justifying this, he quotes Sir Nicholas Henderson, former British ambassador to the U.S., telling left-wing firebrand–cum–elder statesman Tony Benn: “If I reported to you what Mrs. Thatcher really thought about President Reagan, it would damage Anglo-American relations.”

We are only at the bottom of page 2, and I am already irritated. But this is the low-water mark of Aldous’s theme. It gets much better from page 3 onwards. And there is less revisionism in those later pages

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