Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" has surged to the top of Amazon. Some are speculating that her next project will be a presidential run, which would make Palin the latest politician with presidential aspirations to outline her views in book form. (Watch Sarah Palin's bus get booed at a book signing.) This modern American tradition dates back to Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, who penned "Where I Stand" prior to his unsuccessful 1948 White House bid. While some — such as Joe Biden and his 2007 best-seller "Promises to Keep" — receive high praise for their works, many Presidential hopefuls have seen their plans upended by poor reviews and bad press. A look back at some of the most brutal literary takedowns:
Dan Quayle gives his side (1995)
Author: Dan Quayle
Book title: "Standing Firm"
Review Highlight: "Would-be voters who aren't already sympathetic will perceive a man more obsessed with correcting the record than getting on with his life," says Owen Ullmann in Business Week. "If Quayle expects to have a political future, he had better hope that 'Standing Firm' doesn't become a best-seller."
"Dan Quayle, no warts and all"
Result: He is president...of Quayle and Associates.
Newt Gingrich drolls on (1998)
Author: Newt Gingrich
Book title: "Lessons Learned the Hard Way"
Review Highlight: It "follows the familiar formula of politicians trying to refashion themselves: Offer a sanitized version of events. Admit some mistakes. Find a compliment or two for your rivals. Sound candid without actually being too candid. And, by all means, do not create new enemies," says Richard L. Berke in the New York Times. "The book would have been more enlightening had Gingrich displayed more candor rather than merely the impression of candor."
"Preaching to the converted"
Result: Shortly after the 1998 election, Gingrich resigned from his seat as Speaker of the House. He remains a political analyst and speaker.
John Kerry flips and flops (2003)
Author: John Kerry
Book title: "A Call to Service"
Review Highlight: "Merits Mark Twain's comment on the Book of Mormon -- ''chloroform in print.'' It has no music at all," says Christopher Hitchens in the New York Times. But if it were to draw its title from any popular song, it would have to bow toward Joni Mitchell and announce itself as ''Both Sides Now.''"
"A war hero and an anti-war hero"
Result: Kerry wins the 2004 Democratic nomination and is narrowly defeated by George W. Bush in the general election.
John Edwards can't escape his hair (2007)
Author: John Edwards
Book title: "Ending Poverty in America"
Review Highlight: "His campaign book is a collection of papers about ending poverty in the U.S. and is wilfully lacking in glamour and/or celebrity. Which is probably just as well for a man famous for his $400 haircuts," says Robert McCrum in the Guardian.
"And they're off and writing in the great race to the White House"
Result: Edwards failed to get the 2008 nomination. He remains active in politics but his career may have been derailed by a recent sex scandal.
An out-of-touch Ralph Nader (2009)
Author: Ralph Nader
Book title: "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"
Review Highlight: "The book is easy to mock, particularly whenever the gaggle convenes and starts reciting portions of Nader's stump speech. But focusing too much on these risible devices will cause you to miss the true sadness of the story, which reveals a major American figure with indisputable accomplishments finally losing all feel for the nation he aims to influence," says Seth Colter Walls in Newsweek. How out of touch was Nader? "Nader's dramatic imagining of an even bolder progressive revolution doesn't look irrationally exuberant as much as obstinately out to lunch."
"Unsafe at any read"
Result: Nader hasn't yet committed to another Presidential run, but some are rumoring he's eyeing the 2012 race.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- How to make classic pulled pork
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Game of Thrones is making a huge mistake by cutting Lady Stoneheart
Subscribe to the Week