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Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin's Curious Record as Alaska's Governor Hardcover – September 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612341853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612341859
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,768,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Matthew Zencey’s book is a balanced, carefully reported, and engaging look at Sarah Palin’s actions while governor of Alaska. Zencey comes to some surprising but well-substantiated conclusions. As one chapter asks, ‘This is the record of a Tea Party favorite?’”—Loretta Tofani, Pulitzer Prize–winning former reporter, Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer
(Loretta Tofani)

“Veteran Alaska journalist Matthew Zencey explores Sarah Palin’s career as governor in the years before she rose to the national stage. Zencey is fair and judicious in describing Palin’s political values, how she governed, and the friends and enemies she created while in Juneau.”—Michael Carey, former editorial page editor, Anchorage Daily News
(Michael Carey)

“Forget everything you think you know about Sarah Palin and start fresh. Matthew Zencey, a veteran Alaskan journalist, knew the real Palin before she was unleashed on America, and his breakthrough book chronicles the tragic trajectory of an admirably antiestablishment populist who succumbed to the simplistic allure of celebrity. Zencey has unearthed the nuanced truth behind the caricature.”—Dick Polman, national political columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer
(Dick Polman)

About the Author

Matthew Zencey is the former editorial page editor for the Anchorage Daily News, where he covered Alaska politics for twenty-one years and wrote numerous editorials on Sarah Palin’s performance as governor. He lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roger on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Zencey's book is a fascinating portrait of a far different Palin than we see on Fox. I'm not sure whether it improves my view of her or detracts from it further, but it certainly is a side of her we've never seen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bob on October 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
If Zencey published this work as a novel, it would be more believable.  As nonfiction the book will be shocking to outsiders and quite a surprise to Alaskans. I find it to be a reflective, insightful assessment of Sarah Palin as Alaska's governor.  It places her squarely in the historical context of Alaskan issues where she made a difference, and others not so much. Zencey distinguishes himself ably from the earlier slew of tattle-tell-alls.

As Alaska's governor Palin worked effectively with other political persuasions to the public benefit. She demonstrated good instincts. However, the governor alienated her effectiveness in our small pond after returning from the national scene. She burned her bridges and was irreparably singed. Although irresponsible, her resignation avoided 17 more months of MIA leadership.

Zencey captures Palin's transformation going both ways by casting a scholarly spotlight on a key segment of Alaska's short statehood career. Check it out!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Finkelstein on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Unlikely Liberal is the missing piece in the Sarah Palin biography. This is the real story of Sarah Palin's tenure as Governor of Alaska. Her accomplishments and failures. Using sources both inside and outside the Palin Administration,author Zencey creates a compelling portrait of the most interesting Alaskan ever, Sarah Palin.
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Format: Hardcover
I finished the Unlikely Liberal over spring break (better described as late winter break) two weeks ago. Once I got into the flow of it, after dabbling during the Holiday season, I really enjoyed it and was eager to move quickly through each Chapter and the whole. You did a good job of keeping the flow balanced with all the details. It will be a very authoritative source if anyone ever tries to write a traditional biography decades from now. Now it moves to the shelf of honor with other books by family members - Eric, Kathryn, Jen, Tom's Guide to NY State Archives, A Delaware Poet's Soc. "Sampler" with a couple of Dad's poems.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Campbell on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book dishes the dirt on Sarah Palin, but I don't find the writing to be compelling. It kind of reads like one of those instant books that gets rushed out after a disaster.
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More About the Author

I have worked in journalism for more than two decades, starting in 1985 at the Anchorage Daily News, where I began as an editorial writer and ended as editorial page editor. When Sarah Palin was governor, I wrote frequently about her performance in office. A five-time winner of the Best Editorial Writing award from the Alaska Press Club, I edited and helped write a series of editorials about Palin's run for vice president -- a project that was co-winner of the Alaska Press Club Prize for Public Service in 2009.

I was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, 1992-93. (In that program, they pay you to attend Harvard classes for a year - sweet deal!) After relocating to Pennsylvania in 2010, I worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer as assistant editorial page editor and as an editor on the Inquirer's health and science desk.

Because I lived there for 30 years, Alaska is forever in my blood - my two sons were born and raised there -- but my ancestral roots are on the East Coast. I grew up in the tiny town of St. Georges, Delaware, in a big, drafty old house with no air conditioning. I went to Swarthmore College, outside Philadelphia, where I graduated with Highest Honors in 1979.

I landed in Alaska as a volunteer with VISTA (the equivalent of today's Americorps) in 1980. Signing up for VISTA was my way of escaping a painfully unsatisfying job in Washington D.C. I also welcomed the chance to escape the oppressive heat and humidity of East Coast summers and enjoy real winters. (Got more than I bargained for on that count!)

After President Reagan emasculated the VISTA program, I moved to another battlefront in the publicly-funded war on poverty, the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, where I worked as a researcher and organizer on energy issues. Traveling extensively in Alaska's remote "Bush," tiny mostly-Native communities hundreds of miles from the nearest road, I learned a great deal about the Native cultures. I also learned what walrus tastes like and why Bush planes do not fly when the temperature drops to 40 degrees below zero.

In the late 1990s, I took a three-year break from the Anchorage Daily News to serve as campaign manager for a project that aimed to increase conservation protections for Alaska's two national forests.

Today, I live with my wife, Cindy, in West Chester, Pa., where I'm thawing out from Alaska winters, getting up to speed on Pennsylvania affairs, and suffering from up-close exposure to the erratic performance of the under-achieving Philadelphia Phillies.

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Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin's Curious Record as Alaska's Governor
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