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Mockingbird

Cover of Mockingbird

Mockingbird

A Portrait of Harper Lee: From Scout to Go Set a Watchman
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A revised and updated edition of the bestselling biography of Harper Lee, reframed from the perspective of the recent publication of Lee's Go Set a Watchman

To Kill a Mockingbird—the twentieth century's most widely read American novel—has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. In this in-depth biography, first published in 2006, Charles J. Shields brought to life the woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters, Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout.

Now, ten years after its initial publication, with revisions throughout the book and a new Epilogue, Shields brings us up to date on all the major Harper Lee events since 2006. There's the scandal of Lee's former agent trying to steal the copyright for To Kill a Mockingbird, the death of Lee's dear sister Alice, a fuller portrait of Lee's editor, Tay Hohoff, and—most vitally—the release of Lee's long buried first novel and the ensuing public devouring of what has truly become the book of the year, if not the decade: Lee's Go Set a Watchman.

A revised and updated edition of the bestselling biography of Harper Lee, reframed from the perspective of the recent publication of Lee's Go Set a Watchman

To Kill a Mockingbird—the twentieth century's most widely read American novel—has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. In this in-depth biography, first published in 2006, Charles J. Shields brought to life the woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters, Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout.

Now, ten years after its initial publication, with revisions throughout the book and a new Epilogue, Shields brings us up to date on all the major Harper Lee events since 2006. There's the scandal of Lee's former agent trying to steal the copyright for To Kill a Mockingbird, the death of Lee's dear sister Alice, a fuller portrait of Lee's editor, Tay Hohoff, and—most vitally—the release of Lee's long buried first novel and the ensuing public devouring of what has truly become the book of the year, if not the decade: Lee's Go Set a Watchman.

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About the Author-
  • 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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2006
    Few novels are as beloved and acclaimed as To Kill a Mockingbird
    and even fewer authors have shunned the spotlight as successfully as its author. Although journalist Shields interviewed 600 of Harper Lee's acquaintances and researched the papers of her childhood friend Truman Capote, he is no match for the elusive Lee, who stopped granting interviews in 1965 and wouldn't talk to him. Much of this first full-length biography of Lee is filled with inconsequential anecdotes focusing on the people around her, while the subject remains stubbornly out of focus. Shields enlivens Lee's childhood by pointing out people who were later fictionalized in her novel. The book percolates during her banner year of 1960, when she won the Pulitzer Prize and helped Capote research In Cold Blood
    . Capote's papers yield some of Lee's fascinating first-person insights on the emotionally troubled Clutter family that were tempered in his book. Shields believes Lee abandoned her second novel when her agents and her editor—her surrogate family in publishing—died or left the business, leaving her with no support system. There's a tantalizing anecdote about a true-crime project Lee was researching in the mid-'80s that faded away. Sputtering to a close, the final chapter covers the last 35 years in 24 pages. It's also baffling that this affectionate biography ends with three paragraphs devoted to someone slamming her classic work.

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    Henry Holt and Co.
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Mockingbird
Mockingbird
A Portrait of Harper Lee: From Scout to Go Set a Watchman
Charles J. Shields
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