Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by Joe McGinniss

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Sarah Palin has a lot of appeal on a lot of different levels. She's sexy looking, in the kind of dark way that when you're slightly high and your vision is blurred and you're sitting at a bar wishing you could dance with someone. Sarah Palin would fit the bill. She's also very topical. She has that wild personality. Edgy. She does the kind of things that attract the interest of a lot of different people from all walks of life. Much like a train crash or maybe more like an accident on the expressway causes cars to slow down and gawk in a "gaper's block."

Lot's of appeal on all kinds of levels. The kind of topic that makes for a great book, although frightening if she ever became president. And that's the only conclusion you can make after reading the new up-close perspective by veteran journalist and author Joe McGinniss in "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin."

The book starts off a little sluggish. Hard to read. So much information. And McGinniss is clearly defensive, having been battered so hard by the Palin Machine. She has a cult following of whack-jobs and nut cases and they piled it on McGinniss as he lucked out and was offered an opportunity to live in a vacant home right next door to Palin and her mercurial husband, Todd, and their wildly Alaskan hill billy life-styled family. But if you stay dedicated to the cause and continue reading, the pace suddenly picks up after about 30 pages and it becomes a breeze as McGinniss describes how a woman who wants to be president went off the deep end with lies and slander to intimidate and strike back at the author.

Much of the book is about how the Palin's reacted to McGinniss moving in next door to their home and the lies that the Palin's promoted against McGinniss, hoping to bully him out. Even claiming that McGinniss was a Peeping Tom who was peering from his deck into the bedroom of the Palin children. (Not true of course, but that didn't stop Glenn Beck, the Cardinal of right wing Whack Job politics from promoting the story as if it were the gospel truth.

What's really fascinating about this book isn't just that it's about Sarah Palin, who is, like I explained a fascinating story like a breaking news tragedy or scandal. It's that the book isn't a lot of political mumbo-jumbo about how Palin stands on a bunch of far right wing issues like gun control, abortion and killing Bullwinkle. (Yes, Sarah Palin admits she loves to murder moose.) This book is about human nature, and about how one person, who many think could become the next president of the United States, reacts to crisis by fabricating issues, exaggerating the circumstances to build up her own popularity and will go to any length to get what she wants.

It's also about the regular substance that makes a book interesting as McGinniss lays out the sordid details of the Palin's pedigree that make for a eye-opening Jerry Springer episode.

I couldn't put the book down. I don't think you will either.

The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin
Crown Publishers, New York, 2011
320 pages

-- Ray Hanania

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