>Two dirt-dishing new bios of Sarah Palin play fast and loose with the facts but transport readers deep into the Wasilla, Alaska, ethos that shaped her

Joe McGinniss moved in next door to the Palins for his research. Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s teen-dad ex, simply moved in. Both writers have colorful bruises to show for their proximity to the political phenom who spurned them, and their tales—which often rely on embittered or anonymous sources—are just as colorful: Sarah is a neglectful mom and a cold, cheating wife; she and husband Todd have used cocaine; Bristol has had liposuction and a breast reduction (says Johnston). Todd denounced McGinniss’s book as “full of disgusting lies.” (The Palins haven’t bothered to address Johnston’s.) The lack of documentation undercuts both, as does the seemingly spotty fact-checking—evident in Johnston’s time line from the 2008 GOP convention and in McGinniss’s statement that a “longtime friend” says there are no crosses or religious plaques in the Palin home. (I’ve been there; they’re everywhere.) Love her or hate her, there’s fuel here for both sides of the Sarah divide.

THE ROGUE

by Joe McGinniss

DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS

by Levi Johnston

Advertisement