|Author||Sarah Palin with Lynn Vincent, editor Adam Bellow|
|Cover artist||Photo: John Keatley, Design: Archie Ferguson|
|Publisher||Harper and Zondervan|
|November 17, 2009 (Hardcover)
August 24, 2010 (Paperback)
|Media type||Hardcover and paperback, also available in audio and e-book versions|
|Pages||432 (Hardcover); 448 (Paperback)|
|ISBN||978-0-06-193989-1 (Hardcover); 9780061939907 (Paperback)|
|Followed by||America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag|
Governor of Alaska
Going Rogue: An American Life is a personal and political memoir of Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican candidate for U.S. Vice President. The book became a New York Times #1 bestseller in its first week of release, and remained there for six weeks. It is one of four recent political memoirs to sell more than two million copies.
The book deal was announced in May 2009 when Palin was still Governor of Alaska, with Palin stating that she wanted the public to hear her true story, "unrestrained and unfiltered". She reportedly received an advance of $1.25 million from the publisher, Harper Collins, with two projected additional payouts of between $2.5 million and $5 million each.
Palin announced that although she would have a ghostwriter to help, she would be doing a lot of the writing herself, employing her journalism skills and the personal diaries and notes that she had kept throughout her life. Nonetheless, critics questioned whether Palin could write a book.
Responding to concerns that writing and promoting the book would interfere with her duties as governor, Palin stated she would only work on the book after hours and would promote the book "schedule permitting". The Alaska law department issued a legal opinion which okayed the project, stating: "A book publication project is compatible with your position as governor so long as it does not interfere with your official duties."
Conservative journalist and author Lynn Vincent worked on the book with Palin for several weeks shortly after she resigned the governorship in the summer of 2009. Palin then met with HarperCollins editors for intensive editing sessions in New York City. HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham said that Palin had been "unbelievably conscientious and hands-on at every stage", adding that the book was "her words, her life ... in full and fascinating detail." HarperCollins had planned publication for Spring 2010, but later moved the date to November 17, 2009, as the book was completed earlier than expected. The publisher attributed the speed with which the memoir was written to Palin devoting full-time to the writing process after she left office. A paperback version of the book, with new material, released on August 24, 2010. Palin released a second book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, on November 23, 2010.
Summary and themes
The first part of the book is devoted to Palin's experiences before the campaign; the second part details her life as a candidate for national office. The book is written in a personal tone similar to Palin's manner of speaking. Palin discusses the disagreements she had with running mate John McCain's campaign advisers, criticizes the national media, and talks about the importance of religion and family life.
The "Going Rogue" part of the title derives from criticism leveled at Palin by McCain campaign advisers that she was straying from their carefully crafted message and publicly disagreeing with McCain on several issues. The subtitle, "An American Life", mirrors the title of President Ronald Reagan's 1990 autobiography.
Commercial and critical reception
The book was available for pre-order between $9 and $10 during a price war amongst online retailers Amazon, Target.com, and Walmart.com. Dan Calabrese, writing in the North Star National, called the sales "an absolutely unprecedented performance for a non-fiction book so far in advance of its release date."
Less than two weeks after its release, sales of the book exceeded the one million mark, putting it in a class with memoirs by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The print run was extended to 2.8 million copies from 1.5 million. Going Rogue attained sales of over 2.7 million by December 1, 2009, and was number one on The New York Times Best Seller list for six consecutive weeks. As of January 21, 2010, it was #4 on the New York Times best seller list after 9 weeks in the Top 10.
According to campaign records, late in 2009, Palin used $63,000 of donations from SarahPAC, her political action committee, to purchase copies of her own book, Going Rogue. The expenditures were listed as, "books for fundraising donor fulfillment." Meghan Stapleton, Palin's spokeswoman, stated the purchased books were autographed and awarded to donors contributing more than $100 to Palin's PAC.
Analysis and reactions
A team of eleven reporters for the Associated Press challenged some of Palin's statements as factually incorrect, such as her assertions that she traveled frugally, avoided large campaign donors, was against the Wall Street bailouts of 2008, and entered politics for purely altruistic reasons. Their analysis concluded by speculating that the book was "a pre-campaign manifesto". According to Fox News, an AP spokesman "confirmed 11 people worked on the story . . . but refused to say if similar number of journalists were assigned to review other political books, or if Palin has been treated differently." Fox also reported "The (AP) organization did not review for accuracy recent books by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, then-Sen. Joe Biden, either book by Barack Obama released before he was president or autobiographies by Bill or Hillary Clinton." The Huffington Post followed with an article titled "The First Ten Lies from Going Rogue", including the failure to credit ghostwriter Vincent on the cover, Palin's statement about legal bills she incurred relating to ethics complaints without disclosing that most of the bills resulted from complaints she herself filed as a tactic in connection with Troopergate, and her assertion that she had to pay $50,000 in fees to be vetted by the McCain campaign.
Palin replied to these criticisms by stating: "as is expected, the AP and a number of subsequent media outlets are erroneously reporting the contents of the book." Conservative talk show host John Ziegler objected to the AP piece, saying that the AP is extremely biased and "badly missing the most important points of Sarah Palin's book".
Former McCain campaign aides "hit back", according to The Politico, "calling the former vice presidential nominee's soon-to-be released book 'revisionist and self serving' 'fiction'." Palin's mention of a willingness to have coffee with Hillary Clinton elicited a positive response from Clinton, who said she would "absolutely look forward" to it, and that it would be "very interesting". A representative for Katie Couric responded to the book's assertion that Couric had badgered Palin during their infamous 2008 interview by saying, "The interview speaks for itself."
The editors of the progressive magazine The Nation compiled a collection of short essays highly critical of Palin, giving it a satirical title and a cover very similar to Palin's book. The paperback, variously described as a faux-memoir and a political counterpoint, was released on the same day as Palin’s book and is titled Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare.
The book drew a variety of reviews.
- Positive reviews
Conservative radio talk show host John Ziegler praised Going Rogue as "the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime" and as showing honesty "the type of which can only come from someone incredibly courageous, grounded, and self-aware." Republican radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called the book "truly one of the more substantive policy books I've read." Stanley Fish, writing for The New York Times Opinionator blog, explained that "while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found [the book] compelling and very well done."
- Mixed reviews
The Wall Street Journal's Melanie Kirkpatrick described the book as "more a personal memoir than a political one," which demonstrated that Palin "is not the prejudiced, dim-witted ideologue of the popular liberal imagination." However, Kirkpatrick criticized the book as "too gentle" on the McCain campaign staffers and McCain himself, and as spending too little time discussing political issues. Critic Michiko Kakutani, writing for the New York Times, characterized Going Rogue as "part earnest autobiography, part payback hit job," noting that it was more critical of the McCain campaign than it was of Democrats. Kakutani credited the book with doing a "lively job of conveying the frontier feel of the 49th state." Matthew Continetti observed that Palin's book was "everything you'd expect from a politician who has no intention of leaving the national scene." Entertainment Weekly gave the book a C, praising the first chapters about Palin's life as "down-to-earth and funny" while concluding that the rest of the memoir was mediocre and self-serving.
- Negative reviews
Jack Kenny for The New American took the book to task for being light on policy content: "Do I know any more about Sarah Palin’s political ambitions or core beliefs at the end of the book than I did at the beginning? Aside from a few vague hints of something deeper, the answer is 'no'." Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press said the book was "less the revealing autobiography of a straight-shooting maverick and more a lengthy campaign speech — more lipstick, less pit bull." Like other reviewers, Kennedy felt "Palin reserves most of her attacks for McCain's advisers." In its review, the Huffington Post described the book as "one giant complaint about the conduct of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign." Michael Carey of the Anchorage Daily News said "there is a big something missing from Palin's narrative: the voice of a leader." Thomas Frank, writing for the Wall Street Journal, panned the book: "This is the memoir as prolonged, keening wail, larded with petty vindictiveness." Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsh said that "she seems to be mainly out for repudiation of her critics here, and what you see is a lot of self-involvement" and that the book would "help her with her base...I don't know if it helps at all with what she would need to actually be elected president."
Palin was interviewed in rapid succession by Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly, with the US News speculating that the interviews and book tour would be "strewn with land mines". Palin then began a three-week national book tour that focused on small and mid-size towns with 11 of the states she visited considered political battle-grounds for 2012. Large crowds turned out to greet Palin and get their books autographed with Palin spending as long as three hours at some venues. Media attention focused on one incident in Indiana where a small crowd of approximately 300 people who had waited in line for hours booed when Palin left before autographing their books. Palin quickly apologized for the incident on her Facebook page. ABC News characterized her bus book tour as "extraordinarily successful" but suggested she might be criticized for taking a private jet provided by the publisher for long legs of the journey.
In addition to the book tour, a web-based campaign directed ads for the book to people searching for Palin's name on Google. Palin also utilized her Facebook page, (accessible to non subscribers), to promote her book.
Going Rogue has inspired a number of parodies and satirical interpretations. Roy Edroso of the Village Voice "reviewed" the book by writing fake excerpts. TA Frank of The Guardian similarly parodied the contents with a faux first draft complete with fake notes between Palin and her editors. Cartoonist Julie Sigwart and radio host Michael Stinson released a 48 page spoof Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book on the same day that Palin's Going Rogue appeared on the shelves. South Park featured a parody of the book called, Going Rogue on the Smurfs. The website http://goingrogueindex.com leads to a proper-name index for Going Rogue (which was published without one) that features satirical trappings such as a photo collage of several historical figures quoted in the book and an embedded German song that translates to "Madonna in Hell."
The book Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare, was a collection of essays compiled by The Nation criticizing Palin that was not in itself intended as parody. However, the cover image was a parody of Palin's book, and was nearly identical. This resulted in news sources, including CNN and Fox News, confusing The Nation's book with Palin's.
References in popular culture
The book and its surrounding promotion have been mentioned on late night comedy shows, including Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. David Letterman had a recurring segment, "Things More Enjoyable than Reading the Sarah Palin Memoir", including such things as "getting run over by a lawnmower" and "driving into a tree". On December 11, 2009, William Shatner read excerpts from the book on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien followed by Palin reading excerpts from Shatner's autobiography, Up Till Now.
- Jennifer Schuessler (December 3, 2010). "Inside the List". The New York Times.
- Associated Press (2009-12-01). "Sarah Palin Book Goes Platinum Former Vice Presidential Candidate's "Going Rogue" Joins the Ranks of Top Selling Political Memoirs by Obama and the Clintons". CBS News. WebCite archive
- Cockerham, Sean (2009-05-12). "Palin signs deal for memoir to be published in 2010". Anchorage Daily News. WebCite archive
- Cockerham, Sean (2009-10-27). "Palin's book retainer: $1.25 million (Updated)". Anchorage Daily News. WebCite archive
- Weinman, Sarah (2009-11-10). "Sarah Palin's memoir: Why the math might not add up for HarperCollins". Daily Finance.
- "Sarah Palin agrees to book deal with HarperCollins; memoir due out in spring of 2010". New York: Associated Press. 2009-05-13. WebCite archive
- Italie, Hillel (2009-09-28). "Palin finishes memoir, 'Going Rogue,' out Nov. 17". Associated Press. WebCite archive
- Fitzpatrick, Laura (2009-10-07). "How Did Sarah Palin Write Her Memoir So Fast?". Time. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- Palin, Sarah. "Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin". Harpercollins.com. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Italie, Hillel (2010-05-12). "Sarah Palin's book, 'America By Heart,' out Nov. 23". USA Today.
- Kirkpatrick, Melanie (2009-11-16). "Book Review: 'Going Rogue': Her Side of the Story McCain aides kept her out of the loop, focusing instead on 'packaging". Bookshelf (The Wall Street Journal). WebCite archive
- Palin did not include an index at the back of the book. Indexes are standard fare in political books because "in Washington the real-life characters included in such books appreciate the ability to quickly check the back to find out where they're mentioned". Kehe, Marjorie (2009-11-12). "A sneak preview of Going Rogue". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-11-20. WebCite archive
- Dickerson, John (2008-10-20). "Palin's Campaign vs. McCain's: When Sarah Palin disagrees with John McCain, it means something. Or does it?". Slate. Retrieved 2009-11-20. WebCite archive
- Geier, Thom (2009-10-06). "Sarah Palin's new memoir: Gosh that subtitle sounds familiar". Shelf Life. Entertainment Weekly. WebCite archive
- Rich, Motoko (2009-10-20). "In Book-Pricing Battle, How Low Can They Go?". New York Times.
- Calabrese, Dan (2009-09-30). "'Tough sell' Palin the biggest seller ever? Allow me to explain". North Star National. Retrieved 2009-11-20.WebCite archive
- "Sarah Palin Tops New York Times Best Seller List with 'Going Rogue'". HispanicBusiness.com. 2009-12-09.
- Reither, Andrea (2009-12-01). "Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue' sells 1 million. How does it stack up to Barack and Billary's books?". The Dishrag. Zap2It Blog.
- Wright, David; Sheila Evans; Andrew Miller (2009-12-01). "Sarah Palin Uses Private Jet Between Stops on Cross-Country Bus Tour to Promote Book". ABC News, Good Morning America. WebCite archive
- "Hardcover Nonfiction". New York Times. 2010-01-08.
- "Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Mosk, Matthew (February 1, 2010). "Sarah Palin Uses PAC to Buy Her Own Book". ABC News. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- Woodward, Calvin; Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shain (2009-11-14). "Palin's book goes rogue on some facts". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-12-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "AP Turns Heads for Devoting 11 Reporters to Palin Book 'Fact Check'" By Robert Shaffer FOXNews.com November 18, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
- Dunn, Geoffrey (2009-11-13). "The First Ten Lies from Going Rogue". The Huffington Post.
- Palin, Sarah (2009-11-15). "Really? Still Making Things Up?". Sarah Palin's Notes. Facebook.
- Ziegler, John (2009-11-12). "AP Blows it in Palin Book Analysis". Mediaite.
- Barr, Andy; Martin, Jonathan (2009-11-14). "McCain camp: Palin account 'all fiction'". The Politico.
- "Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues. But my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail" Going Rogue. p. 286.
- Goldsmith, Samuel (2009-11-15). "Coffee summit? Hillary Clinton 'happy' to chat over coffee with Sarah Palin". New York Daily News. WebCite archive
- Ward, Kate (2009-11-16). "Sarah Palin Book: Rep for Alec Baldwin and Katie Couric Responds to 'Going Rogue'". Hollywood Insider. WebCite archive
- Flood, Alison (2009-10-21). "Spoof Biographies look to Spoil Sarah Palin's Book Launch". London: The Guardian. WebCite archive
- Smith, Olivia (2009-10-21). "Going Rogue" Spoof: "Nightmare" Stories may have Sarah Palin Seeing "Rouge". New York Daily News.
- "Official Website for 'OR Books' and 'Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare'".
- Rao, Vidya (2009-11-05). "‘Going Rouge’ offers roguish reply to Palin book". Today show books. MSNBC.
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- Ziegler, John (2009-11-17). "John Ziegler’s Review of Going Rogue". Mediaite.
- Costa, Robert (2009-11-13). "Limbaugh: 'Rogue' Is 'Truly One of the Most Substantive Policy Books I've Read'". National Review. WebCite archive
- Fish, Stanley (2009-12-07). "Sarah Palin Is Coming to Town". New York Times.
- Kakutani, Michiko (2009-11-14). "Memoir Is Palin’s Payback to McCain Campaign". New York Times.
- Continetti, Matthew (2009-11-16). "Will Sarah Palin's 'Rogue' tactics work? On the right: Unapologetic look at '08 race proves she's still a national contender". Washington Post.
- Jordan, Tina (2009-11-17). "Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': The EW Review". Entertainment Weekly.
- Kenny, Jack (2009-12-01). "Book Review: Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue"". The New American.
- Kennedy, Mark (2009-11-16). "Review: Sarah Palin's memoir a mostly tame affair". The San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press.
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- Carey, Michael (2009-11-18). "Sarah Palin's lack of leadership shows in 'Going Rogue'". Los Angeles Times.
- Frank, Thomas (2009-11-17). "The Persecution of Sarah Palin Her memoir is full of vindictiveness and score-settling". Wall Street Journal.
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- Fernandez, Maria Elena (2009-11-16). "Sarah Palin will dish on Oprah". Show Tracker (Los Angeles Times).
- Walsh, Kenneth T. (2009-11-16). "Do's and Don'ts for Sarah Palin's Book Tour". US News.
- Wallsten, Peter (2009-11-14). "Palin's Book Tour Builds on Effective Web Strategy". Wall Street Journal.
- Tipton, Tori; Palsha, Rebecca (2009-11-13). "'Going Rogue' defies conventional wisdom about Sarah Palin". KTUU. WebCite archive
- O'Toole, James (2009-11-22). "Palin fams turn out in droves for autograph session". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Lutey, Tom (2009-12-08). "Fans meet Palin, get coveted autograph in the book". Billings Gazette.
- Staff reporters (2009-11-20). "Palin Apologizes After Noblesville Book-Signing, Borders: 300 Palin Fans Left Waiting At Signing". The Indy Channel. WebCite archive
- Edros, Roy (2009-11-12). "Exclusive: 6 Hot Excerpts from Sarah Palin's Going Rogue!". Village Voice. WebCite archive
- Frank, TA (2009-11-15). "Sarah Palin's Going Rogue – uncut". London: Guardian UK. WebCite archive
- Lowman, Stephen (2009-11-06). "Going Rouge': The Sarah Palin coloring book". Washington Post. Webcite archive
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- Kehe, Marjorie (2009-11-12). "A sneak preview of "Going Rogue"". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-11-20. WebCite archive
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- Sarah Palin page at HarperCollins Publishers
- James, Randy (2009-11-17). "Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': The Early Reviews Are In". Time.
- Sarah and Her Tribe Jonathan Raban review of Going Rogue from The New York Review of Books
- Amazon.com's book reviews and description
- Barnes & Noble's editorial reviews and overview
- OnTheIssues.org's book review and excerpts