There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters

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Great Britain in the 1970s appeared to be in terminal decline—ungovernable, an economic train wreck, and rapidly headed for global irrelevance. Three decades later, it is the richest and most influential country in Europe, and Margaret Thatcher is the reason. The preternaturally determined Thatcher rose from nothing, seized control of Britain's Conservative party, and took a sledgehammer to the nation's postwar socialist consensus. She proved that socialism could be reversed, inspiring a global free-market revolution. Simultaneously exploiting every politically useful aspect of her femininity and defying every conventional expectation of women in power, Thatcher crushed her enemies with a calculated ruthlessness that stunned the British public and without doubt caused immense collateral damage.

Ultimately, however, Claire Berlinski agrees with Thatcher: There was no alternative. Berlinski explains what Thatcher did, why it matters, and how she got away with it in this vivid and immensely readable portrait of one of the towering figures of the twentieth century.

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About the Author:

Claire Berlinski received her doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. She has since worked as a journalist and freelance writer throughout Asia and Europe. Her previous books include two novels, Loose Lips and Lion Eyes, and the nonfiction work Menace in Europe. She lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

Review:

General Brent Scowcroft, author of America and the World
“Claire Berlinski's insight into Margaret Thatcher's character makes this book fascinating, and her intellectual seriousness and rigor make it compelling. It is a perfect marriage of author and subject: Berlinski's Thatcher is painfully real and human, yet simultaneously larger-than-life.”

Peter Schweizer, author of Reagan’s War
"Finally the Iron Lady gets her due. Claire Berlinski brilliantly lays out how Margaret Thatcher's strength and conviction changed the world. Without a Prime Minister Thatcher there might not have been a President Ronald Reagan. And Berlinski reminds us how the whole world would benefit from a new Thatcher today."


The Scotsman
“Berlinski shows commitment and energy as an author... Her encounters with Neil Kinnock are tactical masterpieces, where she draws the Welsh windbag out and then deflates his woolly thinking with as much cool, perhaps cruel, precision as Thatcher herself did.”


Washington Times
“Fresh, original and extremely well-written”


National Review
“Brisk, engrossing, insightful, often charming... a splendid book.”


Wall Street Journal
“A pleasure to read... As an interviewer, Ms. Berlinski is subtle and dogged.”


Globe and Mail
"Claire Berlinski has written a much better book about her than one of those door-stop biographies that are now the destiny of almost every public figure.... The book is all the better for being a work of synthesis as well as analysis. Without being hagiography, it is about as powerful a defence of Thatcher's record as is likely ever to be written."


Human Events
“[an] excellent look back at Margaret Thatcher’s significance”



World Affairs
“Berlinski has crawled through the archives and interviewed many of the principals of the Thatcher era, and part of the story she tells is about the crawling and the interviewing. She begins with an intuition that Thatcher was a figure of lasting worldwide importance and, more narrowly, one who clearly saw the challenges of her day. She ends with conclusions to the same effect. She makes her journey from hunch to sober appraisal ours as well, leading us back through a fresh look at the issues and personalities as she asks the pertinent and the impertinent questions and challenges the assumptions of the players and their own conclusions about what happened and why.”

American Conservative
“...[E]ntertaining... Berlinski often expresses herself with verve...Berlinski’s account of the case for free markets is—as a primer for the non-economist—lucid and lively... She’s colorful—thanks in part to some enjoyable inside track from Charles Powell—about Thatcher’s relationships with Gorbachev and Reagan.”

Financial Times
“Idiosyncratic and interesting...Berlinski’s judgments are thoughtful, particularly her central insight that what underlay Lady Thatcher’s hatred of socialism was not only that she found it economically inefficient, or that communist regimes had drenched the world in blood, but that she believed it was morally corrupting.”


Claremont Review of Books
“Berlinski, who has written insightfully about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism...shows now how capable statesmanship can redirect history’s seemingly irreversible tide.”


Power Line
“The lesson of Berlinski's timely book is that capable statesmanship can redirect history's seemingly irreversible tide.”


Newt Gingrich, Washington Times
“I strongly recommend ‘There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters,’ by Claire Berlinski... Mrs. Thatcher clearly understood that the great threat of socialism was moral and not economic. Socialism is bad because it destroys freedom. It destroys self-reliance, destroys individual initiative, and transfers power from the citizen to the politician and the bureaucrat. Every American who wants to know how dangerous it is for the government to have such enormous influence over AIG, Citibank, Chrysler, etc. should read Ms. Berlinski's study of Mrs. Thatcher. The evils of socialism and the virtues of freedom will be the central choice for Americans in 2010 and 2012, and Mrs. Thatcher will be our tutor in that argument.”

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