After months of anticipation and a full-court marketing rollout, Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue, finally goes on sale Nov. 17. If early reviews are any indication, the reminiscences of John McCain's former running mate promise to be as divisive as their author. Several news organizations got hold of the 413-page book which landed Palin a reported $5 million advance ahead of its release date; their assessments are decidedly mixed. Melanie Kirkpatrick, a former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, says the book reveals "a prodigious worker capable of mastering complicated issues," while Michiko Kakutani, writing in the New York Times, sees "an eager player in the blame game, ungrateful to the McCain campaign." Two common observations: Palin reserves her most aggressive attacks for McCain's campaign staff, rather than President Obama and the Democrats. And the former Alaska governor offers few hints about her future, staying coy as to whether another run for public office is in store.
A sampling of reviews:
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The book "is less the revealing autobiography of a straight-shooting maverick and more a lengthy campaign speech more lipstick, less pit bull.
Her husband Todd arrives with great promise he 'roared' into her life in a Mustang but then largely disappears. Other things missing: No dissection or prognosis of the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq (though her eldest son is a veteran), no Iran, Israel, China or Russia. No race relations, Hurricane Katrina or Bush policies, either."
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times: "All in all Ms. Palin emerges from Going Rogue as an eager player in the blame game, ungrateful to the McCain campaign for putting her on the national stage. As for the McCain campaign, it often feels like a desperate and cynical operation, willing to make a risky Hail Mary pass to try to score a tactical win, instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
Going Rogue is part cagey spin, part earnest autobiography, part payback hit job."
Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal: "As a politician, she comes across as a prodigious worker capable of mastering complicated issues not least the energy policies that matter so much to Alaska's economy and of building bridges to Democrats.
Through it all, Mrs. Palin emerges as a new style of feminist: a politician who took on the Ole Boy network and won; a wife with a supportive husband whose career takes second place to hers; and a mother who, unlike working women of an earlier age, isn't shy about showcasing her family responsibilities. She writes with sensitivity and affection about her gay college roommate, and she confesses her anguish when she found out that she was carrying a baby with Down syndrome."
Associated Press fact check: "Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But Going Rogue has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate."
Response to Going Rogue by former McCain aide John Weaver, Politico: "Sarah Palin reminds me of Jimmy Stewart in the movie Harvey, complete with imaginary conversations. All books like these are revisionist and self-serving by definition. But the score-settling by someone who wants to be considered a serious national player is petty and pathetic."