Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader

August 13, 2009

sarah palin leader Summary: In Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader, author Joe Hilley strives to show readers how the former governor of Alaska rose through the political ranks to become the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket in the historical 2008 election. Hilley traces Palin’s history of service, beginning with PTA involvement, and progressing to mayor of the sleepy town of Wasilla, AK and eventually to the governor’s mansion in Juneau.

It seems, however, that Hilley did not have access to Palin or anyone close to her, so all the information he presents is secondhand at best. There’s very little insight along the way; rather, all the accounts Hilley uses have previously been published in newspapers or reported on television, so there’s no new information here.

Even someone who knows very little about Sarah Palin going in will discover precious few new facts about the rising Republican star just from reading this book. Sure, you’ll get some more details about Alaskan politics and scandals such as “Troopergate“, but it’s nothing that a Google search wouldn’t turn up.

Palin stepped down as governor of Alaska a the end of July without specifying what her future plans would include. I think it’s safe to say, however, that she won’t simply be hanging out at home or languishing poolside at any Destin resorts. She’s still going to be a player in national politics, so biographies like this one will continue to sell.


  • Well, I feel obligated to pick something, so I’ll say that I liked that this book was a very quick read. I finished it in a single day without having to devote too much time or effort to the endeavor, so if you want to get some info on Palin as soon as possible, this might be a good choice for you.


  • This was a very superficial account of Palin’s life and barely included any worthwhile anecdotes. The longest, most detailed one was about the state championship basketball game Palin played in during her senior year of high school. That would have been fine as part of a larger number of vignettes, but fell way short as the most substantial one we got.
  • I don’t understand Sarah Palin any better for having read this book. None of the biographical information seems particularly significant, and as a result, the book seems mostly like a waste of time.

Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader by Joe Hilley is one of those rush-job biographies that comes out to take advantage of the latest celebrity du jour. It’s not much of a stretch to say you can find the same information on Wikipedia, and since Hilley doesn’t offer any conclusions about Palin based on the stuff in the book, there’s no reason to buy it. I give this biography 2 stars out of 5.

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