Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's Going Rogue is really two books: about half an interesting telling of growing up in Alaska, an outdoor and sport-filled life -- and a good chunk of the second half whacking her McCain campaign crew of handlers.
The rap on the book -- published Tuesday -- is its accuracy when it comes to her recounting her bad times during the campaign.
The bottom line is this: If you like or are fascinated with Palin and want to know more about one of the most outsized political figures in the nation -- who may run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 (or, who knows, become a talk show host) -- well, this is her side of the story, shopping sprees and all.
There are good guys in the memoir of the former Republican vice presidential candidate -- her husband Todd, her family, her pals, McCain and his wife, Cindy -- and the forces of evil that dragged her down during the 2008 presidential campaign -- notably McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, a campaign spokeswoman.
Schmidt has called the book fiction, and Wallace disputes a lot of stuff in it; they do come off pretty bad.
In the book -- written with Lynn Vincent -- Palin goes on at length about Wallace-engineered interviews with CBS anchor Katie Couric, which yielded the segment that made Palin seem like an idiot. She fumbled after Couric asked her what newspapers and magazines she regularly read. With other prissy pundits, I'm sure I clucked someplace about how could Palin not be able to answer such a simple question.
After reading Palin's side of this episode, I've changed my mind. By the time Couric asked the question, Palin had given her exclusive access over a period of days. She thought Couric had a "partisan agenda."
So after giving Couric a lot of time, during a walk-and-talk with Couric -- and cranked up with an "icy" diet Dr. Pepper -- she writes that the question about what she read struck her as a "heavy dose of condescension . . . as though [Couric] had suddenly stumbled on a primitive newcomer from an undiscovered tribe." She was irritated and blew the answer.
For all the brakes put on her by the campaign, Palin writes about taking relish in accusing President Obama of "palling around with terrorists."
In the book, she just won't give up on linking Obama to William Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader now living in Chicago. She continues to insist that Obama's political career was spawned in Ayers living room, when in fact it took more than one event to start Obama on the course that led him -- and not McCain -- to the White House.