Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Front Cover
Macmillan, May 30, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 337 pages
22 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

A wonderful, balanced biography of Nelle Harper Lee. I thought the author did a remarkable job of fairly portraying this reclusive author's life. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mldavis2 - LibraryThing

I found this an interesting account of the life of the reclusive author Harper Lee. The biographer was not able to interview Ms. Lee directly, so nearly all of the material was obtained from files or ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

A former English teacher who taught Harper Lee’s novel for years, Charles J. Shields has a BA in English and an MA in American history from the University of Illinois, where he was a James Scholar. The author of many widely praised books for young people, he spent four years researching Mockingbird in Alabama, New York, and Kansas, speaking to hundreds of Lee’s neighbors, friends, classmates, and culling facts from the archives of Truman Capote and other collections, as well as papers from the Monroe County (Alabama) courthouse and historical museum. He lives in central Virginia with his wife.

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