The Sarah Palin phenomenon

The American right's darling sold a record-breaking 300,000 copies of her autobiography on day one. What does this say about the US?

There may have been doubts over whether Sarah Palin could read, but boy, can she write. Her memoir, Going Rogue, sold 300,000 copies on its first day, making it one of the most successful non-fiction sellers in history. So taken has her publisher HarperCollins been with the enthusiastic reception for Palin's first venture into literature that they have upped the print run from 1.5 million to 2.5 million copies. And that, lest you need further sobering statistics on the new heroine of the world of books, is four times the population of Alaska.

Palin's extraordinary debut-day sales place her only marginally behind the reception afforded Bill Clinton's My Life, but then that did have the advantage of being written by a former two-term president who had some sexual, as well as political, skeletons in his photocopying closet. But, with the ever-smiling former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate now embarked on a nationwide promotional tour, heaven alone knows how many books she will finally shift.

Something of the flavour of this excursion – conducted from a large bus painted to resemble the cover of her book, and from which country music plays – came in Michigan a couple of days ago. The author was greeted outside a bookstore with thousands chanting "Palin! Palin! Palin!", before going inside to sign copies. Lana Smith, a dispatcher at a local bus company who took the day off work and had been waiting in line since 5.30am, said: "She's a person of faith, she has a family, she has gone through a lot of the trials and tribulations we have. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat."

The book, widely judged to have no great confessions about Palin's complex and mysterious family, is obviously not selling on the strength of its scuttlebutt. What does seem to be driving sales is America's continuing fascination with the self-styled breath-of-fresh-Alaskan-air, hockey mum. The only touch of controversy among the homey niceties, are the settling of some trivial scores with both Katie Couric, who famously asked Ms Palin on television what newspapers she read, and with sundry minions on the McCain campaign team.

The responses from Ms Couric have been restrained, and yesterday Senator McCain was equally gallant. He said that he enjoyed reading the book, and downplayed any tension between their campaign aides as "no big deal". He added: "She and I are dear friends. I talked to her on the phone yesterday. We got along fine."

Indeed, the only note of unpleasantness struck by anyone in the wider orbit of Ms Palin came in the courtroom in Palmer, north-east of Anchorage, Alaska. There, Sherry Johnston, the mother of the man Ms Palin's daughter, Bristol, had planned to marry, was sentenced to three years on one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller OxyContin.

By the time Palin's finished, we may all need some pretty strong painkillers.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week