A Portrait of Harper Lee
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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.
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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