Author(s): Charles Moore
Not For Turning is the first volume of Charles Moore's authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century and one of the most influential political figures of the postwar era. Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher, published after her death on 8 April 2013, immediately supersedes all earlier books written about her. At the moment when she becomes a historical figure, this book also makes her into a three dimensional one for the first time. It gives unparalleled insight into her early life and formation, especially through her extensive correspondence with her sister, which Moore is the first author to draw on. It recreates brilliantly the atmosphere of British politics as she was making her way, and takes her up to what was arguably the zenith of her power, victory in the Falklands. (This volume ends with the Falklands Dinner in Downing Street in November 1982.). Moore is clearly an admirer of his subject, but he does not shy away from criticising her or identifying weaknesses and mistakes where he feels it is justified.
Based on unrestricted access to all Lady Thatcher's papers, unpublished interviews with her and all her major colleagues, this is the indispensable, fully rounded portrait of a towering figure of our times.
Winner of Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography 2014. Shortlisted for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013.
Moore's great gift is his ability to make Thatcher's story fresh again, and above all to remind us of how odd she was ... During the decade and a half he worked on this authorised biography - of which this is only the first volume - Moore had unprecedented access to her private papers, on condition that nothing be published until after her death. He interviewed just about everyone who knew Thatcher, from her private secretaries to her political enemies, and he did so meticulously, in reverse order of age ... The thoroughness of the research, the hundreds of interviews, and above all the access to her family and friends, enabled Moore to produce a multifaceted picture of a compelling life ... Although this is very much a narrative biography, it is also a book about ideas: where they come from, how they affect people and how they get shaped into policies ... In the end, this combination of biography and intellectual history works perfectly ... To understand what happened to Britain during her prime ministership and afterwards, it really is important to understand who she was: Moore's Thatcher will now become the definitive account -- Anne Applebaum Daily Telegraph Sixteen years ago, Mrs Thatcher picked Moore to write her authorised biography, not to be published until after her death. When his appointment was announced, her supporters cheered, and her opponents groaned: Moore was, they both felt, strongly Thatcherite, and would surely give her the easiest of rides. Both sides have grossly underestimated him. With this first volume ... Moore has produced a biography so masterly - so packed with fascinating detail, with such a strong narrative drive, propelled by a central character who is at the same time both very bizarre and very conventional - that it comes as close as biography can come to being a work of art ... One of the many strengths of his book is that it never loses sight of just how unusual she was, in terms of both her personal psychology and her place in public life ... This book is a triumph of diligence. Moore interviewed 315 people, and was clearly blessed with the knack of getting them to open up. Ribald insults, gossip, political secrets, private grievances and funny stories - many of them very, very funny - fly off every page. But it is also a triumph of narrative art and human understanding, at its centre a peculiar force of nature, never to be repeated. 'People are fascinated, appalled, delighted by her,' writes Moore. 'Many think she saved Britain, many that she destroyed it.' I would be surprised if they don't all agree, though, that this is one of the greatest political biographies ever written -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday He mines his sources skilfully without becoming their captive. His prose is more considered and his conclusions more nuanced than his ... journalism. He is not afraid to address the contradictions and tease out the inconsistences of his subject. Nor to be critical, sometimes deeply so. The result is to paint a much more multidimensional portrait of Thatcher than the caricature heroine adored by the right or the devil incarnate loathed by the left ... The prose is intricate, elegant and laced with dry humour ... This biography ... immensely adds to our knowledge and understanding of the longest-reigning prime minister of the democratic age -- Observer Andrew Rawnsley
Charles Moore joined the staff of the Daily Telegraph in 1979, and as a political columnist in the 1980s covered several years of Mrs Thatcher's first and second governments. He was Editor of the Spectator 1984-90; Editor of the Sunday Telegraph 1992-95; and Editor of the Daily Telegraph 1995-2003, for which he is still a regular columnist. The first volume of his biography of Margaret Thatcher, published in 2013, won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, the HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize and Political Book of the Year at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards.