8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A hatchet job, albeit a well-deserved one,
This review is from: The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin (Hardcover)
Despite much of the hype about this book making accusations and definitive statements about Palin without adequate documentation, the book is actually quite well-documented. True, it has many quotes and allegations attributed to sources that wished to remain anonymous, but I don't think the unattributed sources are any greater in number than they are in most political biographies. Does anyone remember Theodore H. White's "Making of the President" books of the 1960s and early 1970s, long since recognized not only as classics of the political reporting genre but also as having set the standard for such reporting? Does anyone remember Woodward and Bernstein's "All the President's Men" and "The Final Days," also recognized as classics? All of the White and Woodward and Bernstein books were replete with unattributed sources, so what makes "The Rogue" any different? The important thing is that all of these books contain sources that are attributed, that are willing to go on the record and have their names named, and that these "on the record" sources are at least as, if not more, numerous than the anonymous sources. I would also point out that the fact that so many sources wished to remain anonymous for the same reason, fear of retribution from Sarah Palin, tells us a great deal about the book's subject.
The book's "revelations" about Palin aren't all that new; Palin's faults, deficiencies, and overall shallowness and vapidity were all amply documented in "Game Change" by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. That book depicted largely her astonishing lack of knowledge in current affairs that one would think essential in a person aspiring to the nation's second-highest office. McGinniss carries this further and demonstrates that Palin has not only a lack of knowledge but a lack of interest in anything that might challenge her already rigid set of beliefs. This book also goes well beyond the earlier book in documenting Palin's vindictiveness and downright meanness. I don't think this book can claim to be objective, and that is why I didn't give it 5 stars. It is obvious right from the outset that Joe doesn't like Sarah and that he might be afflicted with a confirmation bias, i.e., he fits his data into his already preset framework of ideas.
The main lesson to be learned from this book is the importance of more thorough vetting of vice-presidential nominees, and of all presidential appointees for that matter. There is no doubt that Palin was vetted by the FBI, but only for evidence of criminality or anything that might make her a security risk. Perhaps presidential nominees should do some personal and political vetting as well. If McCain had sent someone to Alaska to talk to the same people that McGinniss talked to, there is no doubt that Palin would never have become the vice-presidential nominee.