Smith traces the course of the political partnership of Reagan and Thatcher from the moment when they first met in 1975, as right-wing opposition leaders. The political triumph of their shared ideology during the course of the next decade and a half and their active co-operation in events in the Falklands, Grenada and Libya are seen as one of the dominant themes of the era. Thatcher is portrayed as the chief architect of their joint strategy but at the same time respectful of the American president. Hitherto unpublished anecdotes, culled from advisers and aides, are used to show how the interaction of their personalities affected the political destinies of their respective countries and the rest of the world. The author is a long-time political and international correspondent of "The Times".
Drawing on interviews with both leaders and their advisers, Smith traces the course of a relationship that was warmer personally and closer ideologically than that between any previous American president and British prime minister. Their mutual admiration often translated into mutual aid: U.S. assistance in the 1982 Falklands war, for instance, was reciprocated by permission to use British bases in the Libyan air strike in 1986. While their most public dispute, according to Smith, was over the Grenada invasion in 1983 (Thatcher was enraged when Reagan launched it), their most deep-seated disagreement arose from Reagan's efforts toward a denuclearized Europe. The author, a columnist for the London Times, emphasizes the prime minister's influence over the president, and explains how her political position at home as well as her international clout was continually strengthened by her partnership with "Ron." Suggesting that Thatcher's most significant role was as matchmaker between Reagan and Gorbachev, Smith shows how their three-way interaction set international affairs on a new and more hopeful course. The book offers a fresh view of President Reagan from the British viewpoint and illustrates the importance of personal chemistry in high-level diplomacy.
Geoffrey Smith is a writer, television commentator, and lecturer. He wrote a political column for the London Times, while contributing to such eminent
print venues as the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Monthly, Nikkei Business Magazine, and the Sankei Shimbun. The author of three books, including the political biography, REAGAN AND THATCHER, Mr. Smith has been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Brookings Institution, and the Joan Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School, Harvard University.