Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister who led Great Britain from 1979 through 1990, died Monday morning of a stroke at age 87. Known as the "Iron Lady," Baroness Thatcher "was the woman who, virtually single-handed and in the space of one tumultuous decade, transformed a nation," says The Associated Press' Chris Moncrieff.

In the view of her many admirers, she thrust a strike-infested half-pace Britain back among the front-runners in the commanding peaks of the industrial nations of the world. Her detractors, many of them just as vociferous, saw her as the personification of an uncaring new political philosophy known by both sides as Thatcherism. Tireless, fearless, unshakeable and always in command, she was Britain's first woman Prime Minister — and the first leader to win three General Elections in a row.... History will almost certainly proclaim her as one of the greatest British peacetime leaders. [AP, via Britain's The Guardian]

"Thatcher's journey from Grantham grocer's daughter to 10 Downing Street was not quite without parallel," says Gordon Rayner at Britain's The Telegraph. Her predecessor, Ted Heath, came from even humbler background. But "her achievement over 11 years once she reached the highest office left most of her fellow prime ministers way behind."