Friends worried that she appeared anxious and underweight. Her hair had thinned to the point where she needed emergency help from her hairdresser and close friend, Jessica Steele…

Late last week, as her sport utility vehicle made its way through the town of McGrath, Ms. Palin said in an interview that the seeds of her resignation had been planted the morning Mr. McCain named her as his vice-presidential choice.

“It began when we started really looking at the conditions that had so drastically changed on Aug. 29,” she said. “The hordes of opposition researchers came up here digging for dirt for political reasons, making crap up.”…

In January, Fred V. Malek, a longtime Republican kingmaker, held a dinner to introduce Ms. Palin to some of the party’s biggest names, prompted partly by what he saw as shabby treatment by the McCain campaign. Mr. Malek said she charmed former Vice President Dick Cheney at the dinner and bonded with Mr. Cheney’s daughter Liz over both raising five children…

Mr. Malek said he told Ms. Palin that “you have got to set up a mechanism so you can return calls.”

“You are getting a bad rap,” Mr. Malek recalled saying. “Important people are trying to talk to you. And she said, ‘What number are they calling?’ She did not know what had been happening.”