Cover people like us

As a young civil servant, Caroline Slocock became the first ever female private secretary to any British Prime Minister, and was at Margaret Thatcher’s side for the final eighteen months of her premiership. A left-wing feminist, Slocock was no natural ally – and yet she became fascinated by the woman behind the ‘Iron Lady’ façade and by how she dealt with a world dominated by men.

As events inexorably led to Margaret Thatcher’s downfall, Slocock observed the vulnerabilities and contradictions of the woman considered by many to be the ultimate anti-feminist. When Thatcher eventually resigned, brought down by her closest political allies, Slocock was the only woman present to witness the astonishing scenes in the Cabinet Room. Had Thatcher been a man, it would have ended very differently, Slocock feels.

Now, in this vivid first-hand account, based on her diaries from the time and interviews with other key Downing Street personnel, Slocock paints a nuanced portrait of a woman who to this day is routinely demonised in sexist ways. Reflecting on the challenges women still face in public life, Slocock concludes it’s time to rewrite how we portray powerful women and for women to set aside politics and accept that Margaret Thatcher was ‘one of us’.

A remarkable political and personal memoir, People Like Us charts life inside Thatcher’s No. 10 during its dying days and reflects on women and power then and now.


Reviews

[in] this special and important book… Slocock has done her former boss and women in general a great service in painting such a vivid, sympathetic picture of what it means to be powerful and female. ***** The Sunday Telegraph

Allison Pearson

An outstanding new biography... this remarkable, beautifully-written account of the decline and fall of Britain's first woman prime minister is a book about the deeply complex relationship between femininity and real, hard power: the clash between testosterone-driven male egos and a woman who had to manage them and simultaneously protect herself from them. It's a great read and I could not recommend it more highly.

Richard and Judy, Daily Express

Much more than meets the eye in this book – really interesting on women and power in the present day as well as Thatcher and her time.

Mishal Husain

Wasn't that fascinating! Caroline Slocock,  really worth getting her book, People Like Us.  If you were to say, post 1945, which particular day would you want to walk straight into at the heart of politics and watch what was going on...I think you'd go with 22nd November 1990, wouldn't you? -  the day Margaret Thatcher resigned, and Caroline was there!

Jeremy Vine

This is a book of multiple fascinations. As an insider’s view of the final phase of Margaret Thatcher’s extraordinary premiership, it would succeed on its own, but Caroline Slocock’s account is much, much more than that. As the first woman to work as a civil service private secretary at No. 10, her observations illuminate the place of women at the top end of public service in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is also deeply interesting on how to keep civil service impartiality in a No. 10 suffused with ideology. People Like Us is as rich in its human story as it is with the high politics. Historians will dip into People Like Us as if from a well.

Peter Hennessy

The most striking part of I thought of the book is the description of the day she resigned…which is very hard to read almost, it’s very emotional…very worth reading.

Andrew Marr, Start the Week

This is more than just the story – quite familiar in powerful people – of a character who is much nicer in private than in public. It is part of a bigger narrative…. The book makes the reader think about wider questions. Why is it that the three most striking characters in British public life in the past 50 years – Margaret Thatcher, Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen – have been women? Is it mere rarity value? Or is it because – though each is so different from the others – there is something about being female that touches reality more closely?

Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher’s official biographer, The Telegraph

People Like Us is an important part of Thatcher studies.

Adam Boulton, Sky News

Anyone interested in Margaret Thatcher should get hold of this book.

Andrew Gimson

A thought-provoking memoir.

Ysenda Maxtone-Graham, Daily Mail ‘s Book of the Week

She was no feminist but this book reveals that Margaret Thatcher was much more complex than her public persona would convey. Caroline Slocock’s unique insight challenges us to reassess our first woman Prime Minister and reflect on the misogynistic way women in power and public life are still treated. Margaret Thatcher was no sister to me, but after reading this book I feel I can be a sister to her.

Sam Smethers, chief executive, Fawcett Society
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  • People Like Us
  • Hardback, 320 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785902246
  • 19 April 2018
  • £20.00

  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781785903793
  • 19 April 2018
  • £15.99

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Similar titles:

Margaret Thatcher: In Her Own Words
Margaret Thatcher: The Honorary Jew