Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Front Cover
Macmillan, Apr 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
304 Reviews

The colorful life of the remarkable woman who created To Kill a Mockingbird--the classic that became a touchstone for generations of Americans

To Kill a Mockingbird, the twentieth-century's most widely read American novel, has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. Yet despite the book's perennial popularity, its creator, Harper Lee has become a somewhat mysterious figure. Now, after years of research, Charles J. Shields has brought to life the warmhearted, high-spirited, and occasionally hardheaded woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters--Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout--and who contributed to the success of her lifelong friend Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood.

At the center of Shields's lively book is the story of Lee's struggle to create her famous novel. But her life contains many other highlights as well: her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville, Alabama; the murder trial that made her beloved father's reputation and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Capote's ally and research assistant to help report the story of the Clutter murders; the surrogate family she found in New York City.

Drawing on six hundred interviews and much new information, Mockingbird is the first book ever written about Harper Lee. Highly entertaining, filled with humor and heart, this is an evocative portrait of a writer, her dream, and the place and people whom she made immortal.


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Loved!Interesting insight to lady behind great book. - Goodreads
This book is written like a bad college research paper. - Goodreads
A very well done portrayal of this reclusive author. - Goodreads
Excellent insight into Harper Lee's life. - Goodreads
This is a remarkably well-researched book. - Goodreads
A little dry, a little over researched. - Goodreads

Review: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

User Review  - Myrna - Goodreads

Excellent insight into Harper Lee's life. I also enjoyed the involvement Truman Capote had in her life and vice versa. An excellent read. Read full review

Review: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

User Review  - Diane Yannick - Goodreads

OK, Charles Shields, you have created a fine portrait of Harper Lee but don't get too cocky and believe that you have written the authoritative portrait of Miss Lee. Me thinks that she has chosen to ... Read full review

All 5 reviews »


Introduction i
Ellen Spelled Backward
Without Finishing Touches
Rammer Jammer
Atticus Becomes To Kill a Mockingbird
See NLs Notes
Mockingbird Takes Off
q The Second Novel

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About the author (2007)

Charles J. Shields is the author of And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, the highly acclaimed, bestselling biography of Harper Lee, and I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). He grew up in the Midwest and taught in a rural school in central Illinois for several years. He has been a reporter for public radio, a journalist, and the author of nonfiction books for young people. He and his wife live near Charlottesville, Virginia.

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