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To Kill a Mockingbird: The 40th Anniversary Edition of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
We didn't read this in high school. The assigned book was The Scarlet Letter, which was already a favorite of mine. Recently, however, I decided that I'd ignored To Kill a Mockingbird for too long. If you haven't read it, or if it's been awhile since you last played with Scout, Jem, and Dill, then I urge you to tag along. I read it slowly, as I knew I'd never read it again for the first time. There are no big operatic moments and yet I found myself weeping several times. Its power lies just beneath its deceptively simple sentences. It may be an almost-perfect book.
Synopses & Reviews
"Shoot all the bluejays you want,
if you can hit 'em,
but remember it's a sin
to kill a mockingbird."
To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of the early childhood of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, chronicling the humorous trials and tribulations of growing up in Maycomb, Alabama, from 1933 to 1935. Maycomb's small-town Southern atmosphere — in which nobody locks their doors at night and the local telephone operator can identify callers solely by their voices — contributes to the security of Scout's world, just as pervasive forces of racism threaten to unsettle it. Scout's devotion to her older brother, Jem, and her hero-worship of her father, the defense attorney Atticus Finch, infuse this story with an uncommon intimacy and affection.
An acknowledged tomboy, Scout — along with her ubiquitous playmates Jem and Dill — spends her days lamenting that she must attend school and her afternoons engaged in various schemes to provoke a mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, to emerge from his house. As Scout, Jem, and Dill become increasingly obsessed with luring Boo outside, they put themselves at greater risk, at one point incurring Boo's brother's gunfire.
Scout and Jem's misadventures suggest an idyllic childhood, one tempered only by the rules of their beloved servant, Calpurnia; the standards imposed on them by their prudish Aunt Alexandra; and the particularities of their neighbors, Miss Maudie Atkinson and Mrs. Dubose. Over the course of the novel, both children learn to appreciate the values held by their father, whose boyhood nickname, "Ol' One-Shot," is put to the test in an episode with a mad dog.
When Atticus is assigned a case defending a local black man, Tom Robinson, who has been unjustly accused of rape by Mayella Ewell, a poor white woman from a family of ill-repute, Scout explores her beliefs, her father's moral obligations, and the dynamics of her community. As the untroubled realm of her childhood collides with the adult world of the courthouse, Scout discovers that redemption — salvation, even — can come from unexpected sources.
From Our Staff:
If you're going to write only one novel, this is the novel to write! To say that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the great American novels doesn't do it justice. If you've never read it, read it. If you read it in high school, read it again! I guarantee that what you take from it as an adult will be even better and more meaningful than what you took from it the first time around. Brilliant!
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel--a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice--but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recent, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the century (Library Journal).
HarperCollins is proud to celebrate the anniversary of the book's publication with this special hardcover edition.
A specially packaged, popularly priced hardcover edition of the American classic commemorates the 40th anniversary of its original publication. "That rare literary phenomenon, a Southern novel with no mildew on its magnolia leaves."--"Vogue."
About the Author
Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville Alabama, which produced two world-renowned authors in the same generation. Harper Lee was the grade school classmate of the young Truman Capote, with whom she maintained a friendship well into adulthood. (In 1966 Capote dedicated In Cold Blood to her). The youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Finch Lee, Harper attended Huntingdon College 1944-45, studied law at University of Alabama 1945-49, and spent a year at Oxford University. In the 1950s she moved to New York City where, after working briefly as an airline reservation clerk, she decided to focus exclusively on her writing. She moved into a cold-water flat and began writing To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1957 she submitted the manuscript to the J. B. Lippincott Company and was told that her novel read too much like a series of loosely connected short stories. She spent the next two and a half years revising the book and in 1960 it was published to widespread acclaim, winning the Pulitzer Prize and thousands of devoted readers.
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