Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Front Cover
Macmillan, May 30, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 337 pages
299 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
This is a remarkably well-researched book. - Goodreads
A little dry, a little over researched. - Goodreads
A great insight into this incredible book. - Goodreads

Review: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

User Review  - Sunny - Goodreads

Interesting because I love _To Kill a Mockingbird_, but the writing was a little dry. Read full review

Review: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

User Review  - Elyse - Goodreads

"Nelle" Harper Lee only wrote one book, the Pulitzer prize winning "To Kill a Mockingbird". She never wrote another (how could she top a Pulitzer winner anyway?"). She is still alive in 2007 and won't grant interviews. She is quite the enigma. Read full review

All 6 reviews »


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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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