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Thatcher shocked by Reagan's reading advice

State papers

By Gavin Cordon

Published 30/12/2015

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher

Ronald Reagan startled Margaret Thatcher by suggesting she should read thriller writer Tom Clancy to understand Russia's Cold War thinking.

The US President was "much impressed" with Clancy's Red Storm Rising, in which an Islamist attack triggers a Third World War, saying it gave an "excellent picture" of Soviet intentions.

Mrs Thatcher appears to have been less impressed as his comments were omitted from the record of their conversation and reported only in a note circulated to a handful of the most senior ministers and officials.

"The President strongly commended a new book," Mrs Thatcher's foreign affairs adviser, Charles Powell, noted in his record of their telephone call. "[He said] it gave an excellent picture of the Soviet Union's intentions. He had clearly been much impressed."

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