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Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': A powerful testament to a good woman's endurance in a mean world of politics

Sarah Palin Book Cover

"Reviewing" Sarah Palin's new book is quite an assignment. There are a lot of pages. And not many pictures. But here goes:

Despite the involvement of a professional ghostwriter, Republican ex-Gov. Palin has penned one of the most powerful pieces of personal or political literature in a generation of American books. It's "Going Rogue: An American Life" (HarperCollins, $28.99).

Her behind-the-scenes memoir -- you may have noticed a photo of the cover above -- is flying off store shelves across the country even as you read this. (Now, see video below.)

It's a 413-page masterwork of personal and political insight that makes Dick Cheney's upcoming memoir look like a Golden Book. Based on the first 48 hours of....

... sales reports, HarperCollins has already ordered additional printings. And Palin is destined to become a millionaire. Again.

With her trademark down-to-earth tone and gee-gollys, Palin takes her readers inside a compelling personal quest from her loving family's upbringing through the....

... basketball championship, the beauty pageant, marriage to her longtime sweetheart with the strong jawline and need for speed over snow, and motherhood several times over.

But Palin says she felt there was more to life, more for her to give back to her community and country. So despite all the pressures of motherhood and wifedom, she ran for the Wasilla City Council. And won!

And then the mayor's office and on to a state commission and the corrupt state government that's been dominated by her own party for so long. And then her successful Sarah vs. Goliath struggle to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination and then taking down a popular Democratic opponent in a general election upset as big as that big state.

Along the way the formSarah Palin and John McCain in Pennsylvaniaer beauty queen and basketball star bravely shares excerpts from her personal journey, writings that have influenced her thoughts, prayers and letters that provide her strength.

And political partisans she came to know who've both inspired and disgusted her in the smelly meat market of rhetoric and mean-spirited medianess that American politics have become in the 21st century.

Suddenly, during the summer of 2008, Palin comes to know John McCain, the red-blooded American war hero who's served in the U.S. Senate for a generation and has, as Republican presidential hopefuls usually do, impatiently waited his turn for the party nomination.

Now, he has that nomination in his grasp. And, gee whiz, McCain wants the little-known, reform-minded former city councilwoman to be his partner as vice presidential nominee on a maverick ticket for the party of Lincoln.

At first Palin is reluctant, she thinks. But after five or six seconds of reflection she agrees to join the old guy on his one last bid for the gold cup, the shiny key to the White House that those goldarned Bushes occupied for 12 years. The Titanic has sailed.

It won't ruin the book's ending to reveal here that the McCain-Palin GOP presidential ticket did not win on that grim Nov. 4, 2008. Not only did it not win, it got clobbered by a $750-million Democratic steamroller coming out of Illinois with the Windy City at its back.

Along the way Palin experienced the same kind of insidious sexism that afflicted Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. The same kind of media intrusion into her family's life that wouldSarah and Todd Palin never be laid upon, say, Al Gore's speeding son with the prescription drugs in his car or those tabloid allegations about John Edwards' infidelity.

The Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to fact-check Palin's book, but did not bother combing through, say, Obama's books.

But is Palin daunted? You betcha not. Indeed, "Going Rogue" is clearly just the beginning of the national journey for this new grandmother.

The strength of her moral character and the clarity of the down-home vision she outlines for tax cuts and a smaller federal government empowering the people themselves to carve their own futures from the firm bedrock that is America paints a compelling image for Americans to follow in the next few years.

One thing is clear: No one can say today with any certainty what lies ahead in national politics for the hockey mom and Todd's biggest snow-machine racer fan.

Now, one minor disclaimer: We haven't actually read Palin's new book. Not one single page. We have a copy. We intend to read it. And we imagine it's fairly entertaining, perhaps revealing, as self-serving inside political stories go. We may even autograph it to ourselves from her.

Also, hopefully, it's short on exclamation marks!!!

But after reading the Washington Post's review of "Going Rogue" the other day and the reviewer's candid confession that she hadn't reSarah Palin Going Rogue Book Busally had time to finish the book that she was writing so authoritatively about, we realized this is the latest thing in U.S. society and journalism.

Why bother reading any of it? Just talk about it.

Millions of Americans won't read "Going Rogue" and will think it's pretty good because they like SP. And millions more, like the Washington writer, are just as certain that it's conservative pop garbage, same as her. And they know this without cracking the thing open or turning page after page to the very end.

You don't even have to buy the book to know any of this.

So, a reviewer can just write what he/she thinks the book is or heard it is or wants it to be. And if no one else reads what they're writing about or reads anything they disagree with, who can challenge anybody on anything?

It's perfect for a hurried society, like Washington every day or the modern quadrennial presidential campaigns. People reciting at each other things they've heard from others.

This way nobody has to learn anything new or adjust what they're already certain of. Dumb is the new American smart.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek / Associated Press; Getty Images; HarperCollins.

Hat Tip: Don Surber

Comments () | Archives (22)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Republican ex-Gov. Sarah Palin has penned one of the most powerful pieces of personal or political literature in a generation of American books.

Watch that get quoted, irony-free and out of context. Just sayin'.

Thank you Andrew Malcolm, for this great article...

At first I thought you were just being mean and spiteful, like most reviewers, bloggers, cartoonists, etc. UGH!

But now I see it's a dig at the WaPo! And boy do they deserve it!

Am I wrong, or is Ana Marie Cox the original Wonkette? I thought so.

And PS, it's okay if I use lots of exclamation marks, right?

Mr Malcolm:

It was really refreshing to read your piece about Palin's book and actually provide honest insights about it. I also admire your decisiveness in denouncing those who write about her book without even reading it. Welcome to the new America. The AP should be ashamed of themselves but oh well, this is what happens when a society lets politics divide it and everything becomes white or black, left or right and democrats or republicans...maybe it's the time for us to be Americans again, united by the stars and stripes.

What a condescending non-review of Sarah Palin's book! How unprofessional to trash a book you haven't even read. What little credibility you had is now gone. No wonder the newspaper industry is dying.

A terrific and insightful article. There are those that seek to reestablish the once golden days of journalism, and those who seek to drag the last banions of it under the rock from where they write. This piece seeks to place a basic tenet of foundation back into journalism. It is good advice that all should seek to follow. In an era of superinformation coming at us at an alarming speed wouldn't it be a terrific if we stopped listening to others telling us what our opinions should be and start investigating for ourselves?

What a gig, writing critiques of books that the reviewer freely admits never reading. And getting paid for it. No wonder the LA Times is losing Readers, advertising money and staff. I can suggest a prime candidate for the next round of staff cuts. Instead of spending big money paying someone not to do their job, try getting a writer that actually does his (or her) homework. Get rid of these "phoned-in" regurgitated op ed pieces, raise the tone and start offering a reason to read your rag.

Pleeeease! "A good woman's endurance in a mean world of politics?" Where is the endurance when you quit your governor job, out of the blue, with a year to go and work unfinished? She is out for herself, and nobody is forcing her to play the game in the "mean world of politics!" It's her choice, and she should stop whining about it.

Spot on article!
I actually started reading my book last night - so far, it's very interesting!
If you're a reasonable person, note the frothing-at-the-mouth unreasonable hatred for Sarah Palin by the old media and left wingers - that tells you all you need to know.
Go Sarah!

I probably won't read sara Palin's book; mostly because I don't find her interesting enough to use up my valuable time. But let's faced it: Her nomination was a desperate stunt and I think she will end up as nothing more than a political footnote.

Despite the soft-favorable review of Palin's book, Andy should have read it before he used it to make his admirable cultural point, "Dumb is the new American smart." Comparing Gov. Palin's book with similar attempts by Obama and Hillay ("Yes I Can", ghosted by Bill Ayers and "It Takes A Village", ghosted by Socks the Cat), Andy still reminds us:

"Despite the involvement of a professional ghostwriter, Republican ex-Gov. Sarah Palin has penned one of the most powerful pieces of personal or political literature in a generation of American books. "

Having read all three books, two of which were "union-bought" (guess which two), I'd have to agree with Andy's evaluation, without the facetious under-taste. Once again, Mr. Malcom has stumbled upon accuracy and significance. Had he read the book, he'd also be praising its "authenticity, grace and wit", qualities lacking in the union purchased fluff books.

You are right, Andrew. We didn't have to read Ted Kennedy's memoirs to find out that he had many bimbos and paid $10 million in hush money to cover it up. Others read it for us.

Dumb is the new American smart?

You mean how the elitist, left-wing Democrats believe that a chosen minority of Americans (themselves) know what's best for the "masses"? Is that the new "dumb" America you believe has taken hold?

You mean how an inexperienced community organizer from a corrupt political machine in Chicago can get all the way to the Presidency reading off of a scripted telepromter promising everything to everyone but in reality he and his elitists operate from a far left-wing, we-are-smart-the-masses-are-stupid mentality? Is that the new "dumb" America you believe has taken hold?

To the contrary, even though you think in your moronic, leftist sense that you are oh so clever by writing a review without reading the book, in fact you are the dumb one.

The Silent Majority is alive and well in America and you can't stand it. We are not dumb, we are principled and our principles have proven over and over and over and over again to be the reason that this country has succeeded and led the world over and over and over and over again.

As the Japanese realized shortly after Pearl Harbor, you have awoken a sleeping giant and this giant, this majority will sleep no more, will remain silent no more.


Paltel Slubinski
Amherst, MA

Brilliant Mr. Malcolm. The author of the unread book review at the Washington Post is Ana Marie Cox, and you have nailed her on the head. If the LA times or any other paper needs a book/movie/TV show reviewer, I can do it. I work cheap. There are literally millions of books I have not read, but am somehow qualified to comment on. I'll just rehash my personal biases.

The commenters here to play partisan politics are obviously members of the new "American smart." As a former print editor, this review is a pleasure to read, although I have no intentions of ever touching or reading the book myself.

She has lied, been brought up on ethics charges by the Rep. in Alaska, troopergate, makes numerous misstatements in her book, speaks of "death panels" which would be comical if not so ignorant, and spends her time settling old scores, and bending history to her view, if she knows any history to bend! Why didn't she go after her proffessor that gave her a D? She is a vacuous nitwit who doesn't believe in global warming, and is a creationist. She should get on her dinosaur & go back to Alaska. How did the 23rd turn out in NY when she stuck her nose into the election. She's a more ignorant GW in a skirt.

Paltel doesn't understand the silent majority spoke in 2008 & who exactly did they repudiate? The whores of corp. America, the Rep.

Thank you, Andrew.

I am amazed that I could find one positive article about this book. I have literally combed through the internet, and this is the first constructive review.

There is no person in the GOP who better embodies the ridiculously vapid soundbite persona of the rapidly degenerating Republican party than Sarah Palin. You absolutely MUST nominate her to be your presidential candidate in 2012.

To Non-Writers......Sarah Palin, and Elisabeth Hassleback ...To Elisabeth Hasselback, FYI, there is an APA/MLA format to properly cite the works of an author without plagerising. -To Sarah Palin ,this would have been a brilliant political career move had you ACTUALLY mentioned your experience on ECONOMICS, FOREIGN POLICY and US HISTORY. Your 'ghostwriter' should have better prepared you for 2012! I am a registered Democrat. I found Ron Paul's book "The Revolution," to be well-written, insightful, and highlighted his ideals and experience on Politics. TAKE NOTES, Sarah! Not all Democrats are out for blood! I thought Mitt Romney would have made a more suitable VP. His book, 'No Aologies: In the Case of Greatness' seems more promising. Palin will outsell them all? Why does the Republican Party embrace idiocy? Reason: Although her book will not persuade Democratic & Independent, voters, it will secure her position in 2012 with the Social conservative groups in the evangelical states. It will also persuade the Mitt Romney voters who were opposed to the Mc Cain's economic and foreign policy issues. How? She attacks the Mc Cain's staff! She briliantly appealed to the intellect of the uneducated soccer moms in this book...and that is America...BRILLIANT POLITICS!

It is extremely funny how an attractive intelligent women scares you liberals. Must be because most of your supporters are mullet wearing lesbian socialist who belong to either Peta, NOW or ACORN. GO SARAH

Sooooooooo, I take it than Ana Marie Cox, aka "The Original Wonkette Before It Got The Life Sucked Out Of It By Gawker Media", isn't getting hired by the LAT?

Good. She deserves a horsewhipping for her rotten little screed.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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