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THATCHER, Margaret.

The Path to Power.

London: Harper Collins, 1995 Stock Code: 135680
£975.00
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Presentation copy to Woodrow Wyatt

First edition, first impression, presentation copy from the author, inscribed on the title page "To Woodrow with warm regards and many thanks for all your help Margaret Thatcher". An excellent association copy - the recipient was Woodrow Wyatt (1918-1997), Labour Member of Parliament for most of 1945 to 1970, who switched sides and became Thatcher's "sympathizer and close friend" (as she writes in p. 306 of the Path to Power). His bookplate is on the front pastedown.

Thatcher held a meeting with Wyatt after her election as Conservative leader in 1975, which was arranged by her publicity adviser Gordon Reece. Wyatt recalled in his memoirs: "She won me over. The strength of her determination and the simplicity of her rational ideas uncluttered by intellectual confusion convinced me that she was the first party leader I had met, apart from Gaitskell, who might check Britain's slide and possibly begin to reverse it. She did not seem much like a Tory but she had the Tory Party to work for her, which was a useful start". (Wyatt, Confessions of an Optimist, p. 343). Wyatt, who had often mocked Thatcher in the past, now promoted her in his weekly column in the Labour-supporting Sunday Mirror, and later in his other columns in the News of the World and The Times.

She came to have a friendly relationship with Wyatt and sought his advice, and his influence grew after her election as Prime Minister in 1979. John Campbell recorded this in his biography of Thatcher: "a raging snob - wine buff, gourmand, racing enthusiast and ageing lecher - Wyatt was a strange confidant for a puritan Prime Minister, yet he kept his place in Mrs Thatcher's favour for the next ten years. He used to ring her after midnight, or on Sunday morning, with honeyed words of encouragement or sometimes warning. He was a shameless flatterer, but he was also one of those licensed favourites - an old socialist turned Thatcherite convert - whose experience of Fleet Street, the Labour Party and the trade unions she valued. She may not always have taken his advice, but her ministers got sick of being told what 'Woodrow says' about this or that policy... when Geoffrey Howe wrote in his memoirs that Mrs Thatcher - like Joan of Arc - tended to listen to her private 'voices' in preference to her colleagues and official advisers, it was first and foremost of Wyatt that he was thinking" (John Campbell, The Iron Lady, p. 34). He tried to keep his relationship with her discreetly veiled, perhaps why she trusted him so much, and in 1987 she elevated him to the House of Lords with the title Baron Wyatt of Weeford.

Thatcher mentions Wyatt in both volumes of her autobiography, firstly in the Downing Street Years where she records that Wyatt held a private buffet in March 1985 where she met with miners who had continued working despite the Coal Strike (p. 370), then secondly in the Path to Power where she notes that Wyatt helped draft her first speech as Conservative Party leader in 1975 (p. 306). After his death Wyatt's diaries were published in three volumes from 1998 to 2000, which detailed events in his private meetings with Thatcher, and which have been used by biographers as a source for Thatcher's private reaction to public events.

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Description

Octavo. Original black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, blue endpapers. With the dust jacket.

Illustrations

With 20 leaves of photographic reproductions.

Condition

Light creasing at jacket extremities. A very good copy.

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