Book Review: The Quotable Rogue – The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words

I've been intrigued by Sarah Palin since she appeared at John McCain's side as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. After I got past my initial surprise and pleasure at his naming a woman, I was struck by her beauty, of course, by her enthusiasm, and by her straightforward, pull-no-punches style of speaking. As the mother of five, I was delighted to see a woman rise to political prominence with a family front and center, clearly visible as a priority in her life.

Sarah has been a lightning rod for criticism from the beginning. Liberals seem to despise her — odd, given the liberal support of women's rights. Conservatives seem divided in their opinions of her. Some dismiss her as an intellectual lightweight, while others laud her as the future of the Republican party and a modern-day Ronald Reagan. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I land somewhere in the middle.
When this book appeared on the list of books available for me to review, I jumped at the chance to read it. I liked the idea of a compilation of Sarah's own statements — her own words on topics she'd spoken about since entering the national stage. There's no shortage of reporting on her speeches and behavior, but I always would prefer to see a person's actual words, rather than judging her based on what other people say she's said.

The Quotable Rogue is a quick and easy read. Organized into topical chapters such as “On Abortion,” “On the Real America,” “On the Environment,” and many others, the book simply sets forth statements Sarah has made in various venues — TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews, mostly — without commentary or correction. Matt Lewis, a political writer, blogger, and commentator, has assembled Palin quotes from a wide variety of sources. His only commentary comes in a brief foreword and introduction, in which Lewis notes his reasons for putting this book together and gives a very short overview of her political history.

I don't think that anything in this book will change anyone's mind about Sarah Palin. Her fans will find plenty to cheer about in her unabashedly conservative perspective; her critics will note her sometimes awkward and inelegant phrasing. In reading her unedited words you don't necessarily get the sense that she's an erudite intellectual, but you certainly get a good feel for where she stands on the issues of the day.

Since Sarah Palin still seems to be an influential political figure, whether she runs for president or not, it's still worthwhile to read this book and hear what she's had to say.