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Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': five not-to-miss tidbits

Highlights of Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue' are well known. But her book also has some less-noticed details about Alaska politics and family life that are revealing.

By Staff writer / November 23, 2009

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin signs a copy her her autobiography, "Going Rogue," at the North Post Exchange at Fort Bragg, N.C., Monday.

Jim R. Bounds/AP

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Washington

You can see Russia from the front of Sarah Palin's book, "Going Rogue." That's because of its clever frontispiece, a map centered on the North Pole. Depicting the world that way puts front and center Ms. Palin's beloved Alaska – as well as Russia, the nation Palin famously once said you can see from Alaskan soil.

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One week into the Palin book tour, "Going Rogue" has been the subject of perhaps more publicity and commentary than all other books published in America this year, with the possible exception of Dan Brown's "Lost Symbol." At this point, the highlights are pretty well known. The bill from the McCain campaign for her vetting – check. The way she was misled into her interview with Katie Couric – check. And so on.

Much less has been said about the book's little revealing touches, such as the map. Barrow, Alaska, is marked on that map, but Boston, Mass., is not. Hmmm. Commentary on blue-state elitism?

And, did you know the first big word young Sarah learned to spell was "different"? You betcha. Also, Wal-Mart has named Palin's hometown of Wasilla the Duct Tape Capital of the World. Husband Todd once helped fix the leaks in the Alaska governor's mansion roof.

Palin's father's best friend was a dentist. At one point in "Going Rogue," she recounts that this man loses his right arm in a tragic accident. He then retrains himself as a one-armed, left-handed dentist.

They're tough people up there in the Big Empty, or whatever they call it.

Anywhere, here are five "Going Rogue" good bits that you may not yet have heard about:

The ink incident. About the time she became a teenager, Sarah Heath (her maiden name) was sitting at the dinner table when her father noticed some ink marks on her hand. Her father – a teacher who at the time was also her basketball coach – surmised that his daughter had mooningly written some boy's name on the back of her hand.

"You have a choice between boys and sports," he told her. "You're at the age where I start losing my good athletes because they start liking boys. You can't have both."

Palin stood up, went over to the sink, and washed the name off her hand. For her, it was fine for her father to set such high expectations, she writes in "Going Rogue."

Breaker, breaker, it's your boyfriend." Her father's stern tutelage notwithstanding, a few years later the young Sarah became enamored of Todd Palin, a quiet boy who'd moved to town to play basketball at the high school. He drove Sarah to practice. He owned both a car and a truck. He was polite. Her family approved. All was great.

But with four teenagers in the Heath household, calls to members of the opposite sex on their single phone line were banned. Sarah and Todd found a way around this when they discovered that if they stood on their respective back porches they could talk to each other on the VHF radios he used on his fishing boat in the summer.