The review absolutely skewers author Joel McGinnis whose book on Sarah Palin is mercilessly panned by reviewer Janet Maslin.
Mr. McGinniss explains that he was shocked, just shocked, at the angry response his presence in Wasilla provoked. But "The Rogue" makes the Palins' widely publicized anger understandable, even to readers who might have defended his right to set up shop in their neighborhood and soak up the local color. Although most of "The Rogue" is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like "one resident" and "a friend."
And these stories need not be consistent. "The Rogue" suggests that Todd Palin and the young Sarah Heath took drugs. It also says that she lacked boyfriends and was a racist. And it includes this: "A friend says, 'Sarah and her sisters had a fetish for black guys for a while.' " Mr. McGinniss did in 2011 make a phone call to the former N.B.A. basketball player Glen Rice, who is black, and prompted him to acknowledge having fond memories of Sarah Heath. While Mr. Rice avoids specifics and uses the words "respectful" and "a sweetheart," Mr. McGinniss eggs him on with the kind of flagrantly leading question he seems to have habitually asked. In Mr. Rice's case: "So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?"
So much for the soft sell. Soon Mr. McGinniss is settling in to enjoy the fuss his mere presence has created. "Normally, for a news story to continue beyond the first 24-hour news cycle, something newsworthy must occur," he writes loftily, but "The Rogue" is filled with proof to the contrary. What was his hate mail like? He quotes it. What did Glenn Beck call him? That's here too. Who took umbrage at this venom and chose to help him? One man offered him a hideout, despite Mr. McGinniss's slight skepticism about his motives. "But you don't know me," Mr. McGinnis protested.
"Hell, I've even got an AK-47 you might like," the man volunteered.
McGinnis was once considered a great writer. His Alaska book, "Going to Extremes" was beautifully written and compellingly told. But he has since become a narcissistic scold whose obsession with Sarah Palin reveals a kind of insanity not unknown on the left when it comes to anything having to do with the former governor.
Nice to see the Times call him out for his sloppy, self-promoting idiocy.