In 1980 newly-elected Margaret Thatcher went forth to do battle against “the British Disease” and immediately set off a bitter war in which her allies and adversaries fought for dominion over economy and culture. In this imaginative, informed account Charles Dellheim tells the story of how the Iron Lady tried to refurbish her rusty realm. More than a sketch of the Thatcher years and its protagonist, The Disenchanted Isle places the 1980s in broad historical perspective, connecting Britain’s past and present. This history takes us on a journey into the heart of British politics, culture, and business. We watch the rise and fall of the grocer’s daughter who overcame modest origins and sexism to become Britain’s first female prime minister. We watch Oxford dons consider whether to confer an honorary degree on an alumna few liked; miners strike to protest plans that threatened their jobs and communities; and Jaguar employees struggle to rescue their failing firm. We meet old-style paternalists, free-market street fighters, corporate raiders, socially committed bishops, and left-wing intellectuals. The result is a dramatic, vivid, and colorful story that captures the ambiguities of British history.
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