Book Review: Sarah From Alaska

The book Sarah From Alaska by Scott Conroy, and Shushannah Walshe, who were both embedded with Sarah Palin’s vice presidential campaign, manages to accomplish the seemingly impossible. It offers an objective account of Sarah Palin’s fast rise and abrupt resignation. There is lots here for both Palin’s fans and critics.

One of the first things that you will notice when reading this book is that it is comprehensive. Early on, we hear from Sarah Palin’s parents who talk about their daughter as a child and teen. The authors chart Palin’s rise from local mayor to governor to vice presidential candidate mostly through talking to people who were aides to or worked for her. Conroy and Walshe conducted 190 interviews for the book.

They capture not only the changes in Palin’s politics, but also her personality. Sarah Palin went from being a politician whose calling card was compromise to someone who maintains hard line conservative positions. Personality wise, she went from being the governor who would just pop by legislator’s offices to say hi, to being antagonistic and guarded when she got back to Alaska.

Palin’s good and bad points get lots of coverage in this book. She can be kind, generous, and thoughtful. She can also be petty, vindictive, and cold, especially when it comes to firing staff. Palin also seems to lose sight of the big picture as she gets herself bogged down by constantly trying to either enhance or protect her image.

One of the most interesting elements of this book is that it doesn’t take sides in feud between the Palin and McCain camps. It does go into detail to explain how fragmented and dysfunctional the McCain campaign was, and how the addition of Palin to the ticket is was both a lifeline and an anchor for McCain’s electoral prospects.

The reader is bound to learn things that they didn’t know. For instance, Sarah Palin was so uncomfortable with cost of the designer clothes that the McCain campaign bought for her that staffers had to take the price tags off of items before she tried them on. Some of the stories about Palin, like the clothes, turn out to be wrong, while others, such as her thin skin and obsession with anonymous bloggers are accurate.

Nothing is left out. The book covers everything from her rise to her resignation and subsequent Twittering and Facebooking. Writing an objective book about a person as polarizing as Palin does come with the risk that the book may turn off both Palin supporters and critics, but Conroy and Walshe provide so much insight and information that the finished product ends up having something for everyone. If you are looking for a Palin book that offers a neutral portrait of her, than this is the read for you.

Palin supporters will love certain parts of the book and loathe others, while her critics will find plenty of ammo in it to boost their claims that Palin is not ready for the big stage in American politics. In an age where everyone has an agenda, it is refreshing to read a book that is not pushing one.

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5 Replies to “Book Review: Sarah From Alaska”

  1. I do not understand how you came to the conclusion that Sarah Palin’s book did not have an agenda. The very nature of it is the agenda. You bought the hype as have many others before you. You also underestimate her. Her ability to excite and Incite the right wing extremists makes her just as dangerous. What she doesn’t know can be harmful. What she makes up is destructive. I’m afraid the “good” is not quite that intense.

  2. You need to have another look, Mr Anonymous. The book being reviewed is a biography by two independant authors, with the title ‘Sarah from Alaska’.

    It’s not Sarah’s own book which is called ‘Going Rogue’.

  3. Sarah strikes me as an empty headed prop who won a popularity contest at a small high school gymnasium by intimidating the other girls and romancing the administration. It looks like she bites the hand that feeds her as she turned on McCain the first chance she got – which was immediately.

    That’s the kind of class and dignity we are looking for in a President (?) – Sorry Palin worshipers she may be a sociopath.

    The President of the United States is a very serious job. Our spin doctors and campaign managers have turned it into a high school popularity contest, but in reality the stakes are much higher.

    You can not govern by slogan. Look at the damage done by deregulating Wall Street. That move was promoted and championed because of two words “free market”. Nice concept but in the intricate world of market economies a complete fallacy. You can not govern by cute little slogans. “Trickle Down” has lead to the unconscionable concentration of wealth in 1% of the population through subsidies and give aways of our tax dollars to the corporate insiders who place their people in our government.

    Granted its a costly game of brinkmanship, sloganeering and manipulation to get the population to vote one way or the other, but at the end of the day to the extent we relinquish control and fall prey to easy answers big corporate america runs the show.

    And corporatist and corporate america are unqualified to govern the country because their focus is too singular on their particular profit margins. Great focus for a successful business but absolutely wrong and a severe lack of vision for guiding this huge country over the realities of our collective landscape.

    The fruit of their electioneering of politics has created an us against them mentality among the citizens in our Country. And it has created an artificial out of touch ruling class that cares only for the acquisition of personal wealth. The reality is that we are all in this together. And if we don’t make room for one another there will be trouble no matter how right one group thinks they are over another.

    That is hardly the Country we all want or aspire to and not the vision of the United States we all desire to see unfold. In short we are better than that.

    While Sarah might be a fascinating soap opera of a character, fun to loath or root for she is only qualified for a People Magazine Cover in the same respect of a Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan – what will she do/say next escapade.

    All of these new media celebrities are the same version of the same m.o. – say or do something shocking to get the world of rubber neckers gawking just like the well worn metaphor of a car wreck.

    Whether Glenn Beck is crying or predicting something ludicrous or Rush is flame throwing and lambasting something even he doesn’t believe, or some new media celeb is releasing a sex tape – its all shock value in the mode and method Howard Stern used to get famous and rich.

    That may be one way to achieve a personal goal of wealth and fame but that personality trait is absolutely the worst trait to reward in our politicians.

    Good governance requires good citizenship an understanding of how our Country works as a Nation of laws, the intricacies of the market place and in getting along with other people who may not share your same views, culture, beliefs and habits. It requires a true patriotism not in name alone but a commitment to actually put the Country and the people first over individual gain, profit and popularity.

    Forcing ones self and opinion down another’s throat doesn’t win you many friends. No matter how right you think you are its counter productive and tone deaf.

    Creating a nation and world where we are “free to be” as long as we don’t hurt each other and live sustainably side by side is the goal. Jumping up and down screaming my way or the highway leads to bloodshed.

    I would put forth that if you aren’t living by these two rules of thumb “live and let live” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – it is you no matter what bible you are carrying or what uniform you are wearing that is doing the wrong thing.

    That’s Pollyanna thinking for the Alpha Dogs like Palin but in actuality the alpha dogs are the ones who are clueless when it comes to anything other than their own selfish- self interest.

    That kind of self absorbed me first focus might be good for ones bottom line but it’s one helluva lousy way to “govern” a Country.

    North Korea goes rogue not the President of the United States.

    Paul Burke
    Author-Journey Home

    Public Campaign Action Fund

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