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The books that shaped Margaret Thatcher’s worldview

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

What books shaped late conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher?

Nile Gardiner and Stephen Thompson, authors of the recently released “Margaret Thatcher on Leadership: Lessons for American Conservatives Today,” told The Daily Caller the former British Prime Minister, who passed away earlier this year, “was an avid reader throughout her life.”

“Books that had a major impact on shaping her worldview included Friedrich Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom,’ Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations,’ John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty,’ and anything by Winston Churchill,” the authors said in an email. “She was also influenced by Edmund Burke.”

“In addition Thatcher loved history books,” they added. “Her favorite historians included Robert Conquest, Andrew Roberts and Norman Stone.”

Gardiner, who directs the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, was a foreign policy aide to Thatcher in her post Downing Street years. A writer and consultant in Washington, D.C., Thompson lived in the United Kingdom during much of Thatcher’s prime ministership.

Gardnier and Thompson say that Thatcher “was always a conservative.”

“Margaret Thatcher was always a conservative, even during childhood,” they told TheDC. “She learned the importance of running a small business from her time working for her father’s grocer’s shop in Grantham. She was also strongly influenced by her father’s sermons as a Methodist lay preacher, which were infused with a strong conservative message. She greatly admired Sir Winston Churchill, Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister during World War Two (who later led Britain again from 1951 to 1955).”

See more of TheDC’s interview with the authors below:

Why did you write the book?

This is a book written to inspire American conservatives, based upon the example and principles of Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest leaders of our time. The timing of this book is important. Barack Obama heads the most liberal presidency since Jimmy Carter, big government is on the rise, and the United States is perceived as a declining superpower, drowning under $17 trillion of debt. This is a time for strong conservative leadership in America, just as Thatcher stood up to the Left in Britain in the 1970s and turned her country around.

What made Thatcher a great leader?

Thatcher was above all a conviction politician, who had a clear set of conservative beliefs and principles, which she led by. She was a remarkably decisive leader, who also possessed both tremendous physical and political courage. She had a good understanding of the concerns of ordinary voters, and was in touch with what is commonly known as “Middle England,” with a strong grasp of their hopes and aspirations. Thatcher, like Reagan, was a great communicator, able to reach out to millions of people with tremendous empathy, always delivering a positive message of hope and inspiration.