Sarah Palin's new memoir: Gosh, that subtitle sounds familiar

going-rogue_lThere’s much about the career of Sarah Palin that is unique. The hockey mom in lipstick has fashioned herself as a maverick since sashaying onto the national political stage last year as John McCain’s running mate. More recently, the former Alaska governor and would-be G.O.P. standard-bearer has defied expectations by turning in her memoir just four months after her book deal was announced —  HarperCollins is rushing Going Rogue into stores Nov. 17. (Some credit for that accomplishment goes to the pol’s quick-typing co-author, Lynn Vincent.)

But there’s at least one aspect of Palin’s opus that seems familiar…perhaps too familiar. And that’s the subtitle: An American Life. Astute history buffs will remember that that was the subtitle of Ronald Reagan’s best-selling 1990 memoir, of course. But in recent years, the three-word phrase has been the default setting for biographies of a host of people who share only the same geographic accident of birth. I tracked down at least 20 examples, many of whose dust jackets appear below.

Some come attached to bios of great figures in history (Benjamin Franklin, Martha Washington, and Daniel Boone). Others accompany individuals who made a noteworthy contribution to their chosen fields (banker Andrew Mellon, filmmaker D.W. Griffith, and pediatrician Dr. Spock). But when your subtitle is shared by books on actor Burt Lancaster, golfer Ben Hogan, and Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia — as well as Garcia’s chosen instrument, the guitar — well, let’s just say your book title begins to look a whole lot less mavericky.

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Comments (86 total) Add your comment
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  • Joe Papp

    Cripes, she even stole my font for it!

  • couchgrouch

    you’re obviously a socialist without a taste for freshly slaughtered moose meat. this book is for and about an AMERICAN!! one who revealed herself as someone who doesn’t know much, has a white trash family and quit her job so she could put it all down in her memoir! she’s writing for gun and god nuts everywhere. an American Life indeed.

    • Matt

      Hahaha. Couchgrouch FTW!

    • Fred

      couchgrouch: another Palin hating mind reader. Ho hum.

  • jodipo

    WHY is this even here? Palin is a national joke, not an entertainer. Trash the idiot coverage EW

    • MotherofThree

      National joke? I think she’s the one laughing. People constantly underestimate her – including members of the Republican party in Alaska, some of which are sitting in prison because “the hockey mom” blew the whistle on their backroom deals.

      • Sue

        You mean like the Senator she DIDN’T blow the whistle on because he was bringing in so much pork to Alaska? And what about her own backroom deals, like the one in which she asked the McCain people not to mention Todd’s membership in the Secessionists? She may be laughing all the way to the bank, but her lack of ethics and ability to twist things her way is not the route to the White House. Not now, not ever.

      • Kelsey

        You forgot to mention that she used these same Republicans to further her political career and sold them out when it became expedient. The woman’s a sociopath.

      • Sally Hill

        Sue, were you referring to Obama or Palin? I couldn’t tell by your description involving lack of ethics and ability to twist things on their way to the White House.

        Seemed it happened in 2008, not sure why it wouldn’t happen again in 2012.

    • Jeff C.

      It’s the corporate owned median and the white trash people who give her creedence. I wish she, and them, would go away.

    • sfday

      You’re wrong, a Palin autobiography is bound to have some entertainment value ;), too bad about the ghost writer, I’m sure it would have been much more fun without!

  • couchgrouch

    I don’t know…her “Alaska is beautiful” imagery was pretty entertaining. esp when recited by the Shat.

  • crispy

    I’m not convinced she’s an American. Has anyone seen an actual birth certificate?

    • lilymea

      You mean like Obama? He hasn’t produce a birth certificate that I know of.

      • Jeff C.

        At least Obama talks like he has a high scholl education. Palin rode on the short bus to school.

      • Jolie

        You really need to get over the birth certificate thing. You are showing true ignorance.

      • Stacy

        Really?!?! lilymea Really?!?!

      • “Short bus”

        Oh, a jab at the disabled! You just follow Obama in lockstep, don’t you.

    • Hosam

      Liberals are just jealous beucase, not only is Sarah Palin beautiful, she is also a genius who can put any MENSA member or MIT engineer to shame. She showcases her super-human intelligence rarely, but when she does, you clearly understand you are not her equal and are humbled appropriately. Sarah Palin also performs miracles, curing the blind, sick and downtrodden all over the world. She regularly turns water into Crystal Lighte2„a2, frees dolphins from discarded fishing nets and helps mothers to deliver stillborn children alive and in perfect health.Sarah Palin can fly.

  • couchgrouch

    communist bloggers say she was born in Russia…which is ok because you can see it from Alaska. she gets extra points on the Hamburglar maze for working the word “American” into her book title. she needed at least one of the three ultra-patriotic buzzwords “Freedom, American, God” on her book somewhere. good job, Sarah!

  • Trish

    Ugh, she needs to go away, FOREVER

  • Amy

    I both loathe and am grateful to this woman. I loathe her because I think she is a complete and utter moron and represents all of the things I don’t like about this country (dirty politics, ignorance, zealotry, and hypocrisy to name a few). However, I think she unintentionally contributed to John McCain’s defeat and Obama’s victory. So thank you for that at least, Sarah Palin. Now please go far far away. (Unless you are running for president in 2012)

    • MotherofThree

      Actually Amy, John McCain lost MEN voters at a faster rate than WOMEN voters. Sarah had a very positive impact on the campaign. He would have lost in a landslide without her.

      Sarah turned out enthusiastic crowds rivaling Obama’s crowds – not bad for a VP candidate.

      And if you think Sarah is a moron, why don’t you run for governor in your state and blow the whistle on the “dirty politics” as you say. That’s what Sarah did.

      • lilymea

        Thank you MotherofThree my sentiment exactly.

      • Jolie

        Get a grip on reality. Moronic Palin was a gimmick, a shot in the dark, to get the presidency. McCain and she are idiots, clear and simple. Also, McCain is gay. He hit on a male friend of mine in an elevator before he was running for president.

      • MJ

        Hi. Female Christian conservative here. McCain lost my vote because of Palin. Just wanted to put that out there.

    • Sally Hill

      I’m confused – you people keep describing Palin, and I think you’ve got the names mixed up – seems you are describing Obama.

      Perhaps you are describing them both – perfectly.

      If you’ve not figured it out yet – ALL POLITICIANS ARE CORRUPT AND DIRTY.

      I can see how you dislike Palin, but then surely you dislike Obama for the same reasons, no? If not – you cannot call Palin a hypocrite, for you are the embodiment of that word.

      • Jolie

        I just dislike Palin a lot more because she his a much bigger hypocrite. But Obama is showing his true colors by not pushing through any needed legislation. He will probably be a one-term president unless he does something quick.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Hmm EW must be having a slow news day so in an effort to make the liberal bloggers happy (since the others have been able to write about Micheal Moore and Letterman this week) you’ve decided to bring up Palin’s book and nag it’s subtitle…gee how cruel can you get? Forget that it has been number 1 on Amazon for weeks now and it isn’t even released yet! This is a woman whose family was attacked to try and further Obama. How is that hope and change working out for you now? We have over 2 trillion in debt and the unemployment is up over 9%. Yeah Barack!

    • Sue

      Hmmm, her book has dropped to #2 on Barnes and Noble, behind a children’s book. And who attacked her? It was not her hated MSM, but Alaska bloggers who had seen her in action, and wanted the nation to know about her unethical tendencies. Obama never mentioned her one time on the trail.
      And hate to tell you, but Bush’s budget never included the money for his wars…Obama’s does. And our retirement account is all back, and companies are recovering. I am happy with Obama…the John and Sarah show would have attacked Iran by now, not worried a whit about health care reform, and run up the debt even faster.

      • lilymea

        Pray that you are right.

      • Sally Hill

        Your retirement is…all back? Companies are… recovering?

        WTH are you living? Certainly not in America. My retirement is still down and we are still experiencing layoffs and slowdowns. How are companies recovering if the unemployment rate continues to rise? Surely these ‘recovering’ companies would be hiring if they were truly recovering.

        You can be happy with Obama – but please be honest about what he has done – NOTHING. He is AS corrupt, if not more so, than Palin.

  • spud

    Some ask “Why cover this?” while others say they hate her and she should go away. But EW never misses a chance to diss or make fun of Sarah Palin, and as you can see by the posts, most of you do the same. So it gives a chance for all you types desperately in need of a life to join together in your mostly unfounded hatred.

    • MotherofThree

      Absolutely right, Spud. I don’t understand the hatred either. People become unhinged at the mere mention of Sarah Palin. If Sarah were a liberal eliciting this much hate, Nancy Pelosi would be shedding tears, worried about someone assasinating Sarah. But since she’s conservative, all the hatred is justified. Welcome to double-standard world.

      • Sue

        I am much more worried about her and the rest of the right wing nutjobs encouraging someone to kill the President. Never have I see a liberal PRAY for Sarah’s illness or death, have you?

      • Eskimo

        MotherofThree… you’re my new best friend :) lol Sarah needs more ppl like you to stand up for whats true along side her. I’ll be her no. 1 volunteer for her 2012 campiagn, and you can her no.2 volunteer lol keep rockin’ :) God Bless

      • Sally Hill

        Sue, seriously, where are you? YES, YES, YES, – I’ve seen evil and death wished upon Palin, countless times.

        Seriously, you need to wake up if you really do live in America.

  • couchgrouch

    spud, EW just pointed out that the title of her book was derivitive. it is…and that’s their job. no one said they hated Palin…just that she’s dumb, with a goofy family and she quit her job to write a book. those are all facts…not unfounded.

    • MotherofThree

      Couch, since you’re so much smarter than Palin, why don’t you get off your couch and run for mayor! Then try to get elected governor in your state, running against an incumbent from your own party. Oh, and then work across party lines to lay the groundwork for a $26 billion natural gas pipeline, the largest private infrastructure project in history.

      C’mon Couch … you’re so much smarter than Sarah Palin. Give it whirl. Oh wait, you’d rather just sit on your a** and diss her on a message board for clueless entertainment junkies.

      • Sarah

        Hey there, clueless entertainment junkie!

    • spud

      I am not just talking about this article, but the Bullseye, SNL coverage, references to her kids, name it. Find one even slightly positive nugget in EW’s files that does not have Tina Fey’s name tied to it. And you help make my point about EW’s glee in hounding Ms. Palin: “EW just pointed out that the title of her book was derivitive (sic)”. True, it is, but can you find a similar diss of any of the other 18 books shown or reference in this article? You cannot.

      • MotherofThree

        How many memoirs have the title “Going Rogue” … LOL?

        NONE … No one remembers the sub-titles anyway.

    • DaTruth

      No actually she quit her job because she got a $7mil advance for her book. Hence the reason her husband, Todd quit his job at BP. Plus all that money that people keep donating to SarahPac because that is her answer to how to help Americans without health care.

      • MotherofThree

        People contribute to SarahPAC because they like her ideas on health care reform. Here are some of Sarah’s answers to help Americans without healthcare:

        1. Cut taxes so businesses can afford to HIRE more people, and provide benefits.

        2. Demonstrate political courage by reducing/eliminating lawsuit abuse.

        3. Allow insurance co’s to compete across state lines, lowering premium costs, and opening up choices.
        4. Make individual policies tax deductible
        5. Let people contribute to Health Savings Accounts pre-tax for routine medical expenses.

        6. Continue FREE health clinics by giving doctors tax credits for donating their time to serving the underinsured.

        7. Allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada

        8. Keep America’s private system intact so we can have cutting-edge research that benefits all citizens.

      • Kelsey

        And none of that matters for squat as long as insurance companies drop people from their rolls at will and call domestic abuse a “pre-existing condition.” All the research and pills and whatnot won’t matter squat if people still aren’t insured.

      • Mirem

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose most of my redreas now. . I’ve done 2 political posts since her nomination and have a couple more in my head just begging to get out! I just can’t control myself anymore. I’m watching foxnews every day! I think I have a problem!LOVE, LOVE her. She is a solid believer too, from what I hear from Alaskans. We better get on our knees for this girl!Brandi

  • Jan

    Thom Geier, You sound like a stupid monron. Everybody knows that title and the meaning behind it except for a left wing kook like you.

  • Jan

    moron

  • Katie

    Only the paranoid right wing nut jobs truly believe that anyone who pokes fun at Sarah Palin or points out her obvious flaws is really a leftist hate monger. Facts are facts – there is very little original about Sarah Palin and absolutely nothing qualifies her to be a leader of any sort.

    • MotherofThree

      There is very little original about Sarah Palin?

      Really? Hmmm, she was the first female mayor of her town, first female governor of Alaska, youngest governor of Alaska, first female GOP VP pick. And her book, though yet to be released, is on its way to becoming the best-selling political memoir of all-time.

      She attracted record crowds to GOP rallies last fall while showing that a mother of five can be just as tough as male candidates with children.

      Maybe you need to re-examine your definition of “original,” Katie.

      It seems that Sarah is NOTHING if not original.

      How many other memoirs are titled: “Going Rogue” ??? None.

      • wolf

        “It seems that Sarah is NOTHING”

        Well said! At least she is not bothered by facts since she does not read newspapers!

      • Katie

        So she was a female mayor and a female governor. Big deal. Not original. Oh, but she did fire everyone who was not in support of her – that’s certainly original for a small city mayor. Petty, but original. So is pushing legislation that makes women pay for their rape kits. Yes, you’re right, I stand corrected, that’s pretty original, especially in a state that boasts the highest rape statistics. Best selling book, yes, best selling political memoir of all time? Time will tell. Doesn’t mean squat beyond the fact that a lot of people (and churches, I hear) are spending a lot of money on something that may or may not have anything worth reading in it, but if you think that’s some kind of an achievement, well, ok. She attracted crowds, yes. Tough politician? Hardly. Politician yes, because she can twist the truth, polarize the opposition, sling mud as well as any man – original? Not really.

        Maybe you need to define original, Mother of Three, and maybe your idea of a leader is someone who’d rather make a buck than finish her commitment, who’s downright proud of her ignorance doncha know (wink wink) and who trots her kids out into the public eye and then gets lippy when they become the butt of tasteless jokes. I don’t think that’s very motherly or very leaderlike. I do think a woman can be a strong leader, and I do think this country could benefit with a woman at the helm, but Sarah Palin isn’t that woman. (And before you put words in my mouth, neither is Hillary CLinton.) Sarah is nothing but a narcissist, with very little to show for her limited experience in politics. I look forward to when the book really comes out and her words are used against her. I wonder – will she then blame the ghostwriter for getting it down wrong? The publisher for speeding up the release? The editor for making or not making changes? Sarah certainly won’t take any blame for any errors in the book, she likes to be a victim. Again, not orginal, and deifnitely not a leader quality.

      • Liz

        GERLDINE FERARO was the FIRST woman Vice Presidential candidate

        Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro to be his Vice-Presidential candidate on July 12, 1984

  • couchgrouch

    she attracts crowds and was a female VP on a losing GOP ticket. and a gov who quit her job to rake in the $$$ on a book. wow. read the transcripts of her interviews…she’s a joke and gets treated like one. I’m neither GOP or Demo but there’s no comparison with Obama. blaming Obama for the current state is like blaming a pitcher who takes over in the 8th inning, 10 runs down. the economy’s steadily improving with the nightmares of two botched wars to deal with. hell, any prez would need 20 years for all that. it’s doubtful a woman who didn’t know what the “Bush Doctrine” is would’ve known where to start mopping first. she’s a legend in her own gun.

    • MotherofThree

      Couch, you’re neither GOP or Demo or all that bright yourself. Your comments about Palin and Obama show that you don’t know much. I guess you don’t track Obama’s gaffes? You know, the man who thinks they speak Austrian in Austria, and claimed that his great-uncle and the Americans liberated Auschwitz when the Russians did that, oh and he also lied and said his parents were inspired by Selma to conceive him, despite the fact Selma occured more than three years after his birth.

      Pull your head out of your couch! The man has no clue. And he’s screwing up worse than Bush ever could. It’s like going from BAD to WORSE.

      Palin HELP!

      • Sue

        Screwing up worse than Bush? Seriously? The man sat on his ranch when warned in August of 2001 that an air attack was likely…and did nothing but watch it happen! Then he sent our soldiers to Iraq to be killed and our money (or China’s money) to Haliburton to be wasted and unaccounted for, to the tune of 10 BILLION monthly for 6 years, not that Bin Laden had anything to do with Iraq. THEN he decided that torture was legitimate; that spying on citizens was fine, and stacked the Justice Dept. with yes men.
        What has Obama done? Stabilized the economy…the stock market has rallied and continues to improve, giving people faith in companies again. He is trying to reform health care for all of us, not just doing something to benefit his rich white guy donors (the Bush tax cuts.) He is renewing our global friendships, reversing the Bush cowboy mantra of going it alone. He wants to improve the global climate, encourage new technology, and eliminate waste in government. I’d say he’s done just fine in 9 months,

      • Sally Hill

        Sue, you continue to amaze me! You honestly think Obama has your best interest at heart? You honestly don’t think he is just an extension of Bush? You honestly don’t think he is as corrupt as Bush? You honestly don’t think he wants to pass health care to shuttle money to his cronies just as Bush did with the war?

        WAKE UP! SERIOUSLY!

        GE is just sitting there waiting for health care to pass because Obama has GUARANTEED them the health records business. They stand to make Billions from just that one sector alone. And if you don’t think your taxes will be going up with health care reform, you really need a reality check.

        No, Obama’s actions don’t JUST benefit the rich white guy donors, his actions ALSO benefit foreign donors as well.

        I’m so glad he is improving the global climate to the point our allies want to eliminate the dollar – wow, way to go Obama!!!!

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