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The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin Hardcover – September 20, 2011

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A Walk in the Woods
Read the book that inspired the 2015 film, "A Walk in the Woods".

Editorial Reviews


“Plunging into a subject without wearing blinders is an engaging investigative method, and McGinniss, as he always manages to do, pushes the story forward in momentum while continuing to link new material with bits of information from past experiences and interviews. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About the Author

Joe McGinniss is the author of eleven previous books, including The Selling of the President, Going to Extremes, Fatal Vision, Blind Faith, Cruel Doubt, and The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. He lives in Massachusetts with the writer and editor Nancy Doherty.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307718921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307718921
  • ASIN: 0307718921
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

340 of 413 people found the following review helpful By Annette on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Five days before a literary embargo theoretically prohibited any reviews from appearing in the mainstream media, the New York Times delivered what was effectively a journalistic hit (executed by Janet Maslin) on bestselling author Joe McGinniss and his long-awaited book-length profile of Alaska's former governor, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.

Since then, the review has gone viral, in both the rightwing blogosphere and, even more troubling, in the mainstream media, and has been used as a political weapon--there is no other word for it--by everyone from Todd Palin to Andrew Breitbart in attacking McGinniss and his book. Maslin's initial catchphrases, most notably her references to "caustic, unsubstantiated gossip" and "unnamed sources," swiftly became the dominant meme surrounding the book long before others even had a chance to read it. Indeed several mainstream reporters cited the Maslin review without having read the book itself. Only yesterday the Huffington Post shamefully linked to Maslin's review when it fallaciously reported that The Rogue claims Palin had "slept with a string of black men." It does not.

As reviews go, it is a bloody hatchet job from beginning to end, rendered with a dull and ragged blade. From the very first paragraph, Maslin hacks away at McGinniss, whose collected oeuvre stretches back to his 1969 bestseller The Selling of the President and the classic Going to Extremes (1980), which deftly chronicled the changing nature of the Last Frontier under the economic, political and cultural onslaught brought about by the 1970s oil boom and the completion of the Alaska pipeline. I was--and remain--an admirer of both works.
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165 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Mark H. Jones on September 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I almost did not buy the book because of the negative publicity regarding the lack of sources. When I did read it, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many people spoke on the record. Who knows what the truth is? McGinniss has plenty of documentation for his his unflattering version of the facts. I really do not think Palin wants to take this to court.
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309 of 384 people found the following review helpful By Krotos on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The advance publicity has made it out to seem that "The Rogue" is little more than a tabloidish exposé of Sarah Palin's sex life, but the salacious revelations about her youthful one-night stands comprise only a small part of a thoughtful and thoroughly-researched character study. This is probably McGinniss's finest work since "Fatal Vision," and it's strongly recommended for anyone who wants to see the unpleasant reality beneath Palin's folksy public persona.

McGinniss moved into the house next door to the Palins' compound in Wasilla, Alaska, in the spring of 2010. For the next several months, he interviewed Palin's neighbors, former friends, political colleagues, and ordinary Alaskans while dealing with a torrent of abuse and threats against himself and his family provoked by Palin and by right-wing media figures such as Glenn Beck. "The Rogue" alternates the story of Palin's adult life with McGinniss's own sometimes harrowing experience of researching it. While McGinniss never obtained an interview with Palin herself, he talked to enough people close to her to develop a compelling -- and frightening -- portrait of her true character.

The picture that emerges is of an ice-cold, greedy, amoral, and utterly self-absorbed woman who is unable to develop normal relationships even with her own husband and children and who has spent her life using and discarding everyone around her in her pursuit of fame, power, and money. It is not evident that Palin has ever truly cared about anybody other than herself.
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63 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Victoria A. Grossack on October 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
McGinnis' book about Sarah Palin reads very easily. There is a lot about what it was like living next door to the Palins, and the way the Palins vilified him - I can certainly understand that they would not be pleased to have him next door, but the accusations of perversion should have been dismissed as ridiculous, instead of being given the air time they received - that has been their modus operandi for decades. His treatment by them gives credibility to the accusations of others who have suffered from Sarah's methods in the past: John Stein, the former mayor of Wasilla, who was accused of not being married to his wife because they had different names; those who worked in the library and the museums - and as Sarah pointed out that she never read anything outside of her world view, those locales encouraging knowledge and thinking would be an anathema to her; Mike Wooten, her ex brother-in-law; Walter Moneghan, whom she fired for not firing Wooten. The list goes on and on.

I must also state that the media's sound bites on this book demonstrate its shallow and misleading approach to the news. The book is well sourced; even those which remain anonymous have been reviewed by Random House lawyers. The details which were considered salacious such as an affair with a black basketball player are not dwelt upon in great length in McGinnis' book, even though they made plenty of headlines.

Sarah's approach to power is frightening. She is indifferent to the truth, caring only about her bank account and her image and her own world view. She seems to only be loyal to the Dominionists - a Christian sect that seems bent on encouraging the end times. One of them apparently dreamed or had a vision that Palin, a couple of years after McCain won the presidency, would be president herself.
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