In 'The Downing Street Years' Margaret Thatcher gave her own account of her prime ministership from 1979 to 1990. That book justly became a best-seller all over the world. Now, in 'The Path to Power', she writes for the first time about her personal life, about the formation of her character and values, and about the training and experience which led to the 1979 election victory. It is, if anything, an even more gripping book than its predecessor. She was born and brought up in the modest Lincolnshire market town of Grantham, where her father became mayor. The degree to which she imbibed at his knee the virtues of self-reliance, thrift and respectful neighbourliness is revealed in this book as never before. She went to Oxford, worked as a research chemist, was courted by and married Denis Thatcher; through all these the utter and growing centrality of politics to her mind is here completely evident. Then, at a time when there were no more than a handful of women in the House of Commons, she became an MP, Education Secretary and eventually, in 1975, Leader of the Opposition. She writes explicitly about all of these: about her feelings towards Ted Heath as she sat uncomfortably in his Cabinets, about her rethinking of conservatism under the inspiration of Keith Joseph (throughout the books she points out, with a candour which her detractors may find alarming, occasions on which she was wrong or performed at less than her best), about the Winter of Discontent, the fall of the Callaghan Government and the country which she inherited. 'The economics had gone wrong because something else had gone wrong spiritually and philosophically. The economic crisis was a crisis of the spirit of the nation. 'So a last', she writes of 1979, 'I had my chance, my only chance.' All this would be quite sufficient to make a riveting memoir. But Margaret Thatcher also now writes for the first time, quite openly, about her feelings as she left Downing Street in 1990 and about the course Britain, Europe and the world have taken since then. The magnificent coherence of her moral and political vision, stretching back to Grantham and forward right up to the present day, is brilliantly delineated in this second part of the book. In our uncertain and increasingly rudderless world, here is a woman who knows what she thinks and why she thinks it, a leader as formidable as ever she was during her years in Downing Street. The voice which the world listened to so intently then speaks again now in these pages. Lady Thatcher was leader of the Conservative Party for fifteen years and Prime Minister for eleven and a half.