SCOUT, ATTICUS & BOO:
A Celebration of Fifty Years of
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
BY MARY McDONAGH MURPHY
To Kill a Mockingbird may well be our national novel. It is the first adult novel that many of us remember reading, one book that millions of us have in common. It sells nearly a million copies a year, more than any other twentieth-century American classic. Harper Lee's first and only novel, published in July 1960, is a beloved classic and touchstone in American literary and social history.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mary McDonagh Murphy reviews its history and examines how the novel has left its mark on a broad range of novelists, historians, journalists, and artists.
In compelling interviews, Anna Quindlen, Tom Brokaw, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, James McBride, Scott Turow, Wally Lamb, Andrew Young, Richard Russo, Adriana Trigiani, Rick Bragg, Jon Meacham, Allan Gurganus, Diane McWhorter, Lee Smith, RosanneCash, and others reflect on when they first read the novel, what it means to them—then and now—and how it has affected their lives and careers.
Harper Lee has not given an interview since 1964, but Murphy's reporting, research, and rare interviews with the author's sister and friends stitch together a brief history of how the novel, as well as the acclaimed 1962 movie, came to be.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mary McDonagh Murphy is an independent writer, director, and producer. The recipient of six Emmy Awards, her documentaries include Digital Days, Before Your Eyes, and Cry for Help, which aired nationally on PBS. She spent twenty years as a producer at CBS News, and her writing has appeared in New York magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications, and she is the author of the book Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird. She lives in Scarborough, New York.
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 forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal). HarperCollins is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication with this special hardcover edition.ABOUT AUTHOR HARPER LEE:
The author of one of the most important works in American fiction, Harper Lee remains an enigma, rising out of obscurity to write To Kill a Mockingbird, and determinedly vanishing from the public eye soon after its publication. Born in Monroeville, Alabama, a descendant from Robert E. Lee, the Southern Civil War general, in 1926, where her father was a former newspaper editor and proprietor, who had served as a state senator and practiced as a lawyer in Monroeville. Lee studied law at the University of Alabama from 1945 to 1949, and spent a year as an exchange student in Oxford University, Wellington Square. Six months before finishing her studies, she went to New York to pursue a literary career. She worked as an Airline reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and British Overseas Airways during the 1950s. In 1959, Lee accompanied Truman Capote, her childhood neighbor from Monroeville, to Holcombe, Kansas, as a research assistant for Capote's classic 'non-fiction' novel In Cold Blood (1966).
Lee finished her classic book in 1959, after donations from her friends allowed her to take time off from her job and work uninterrupted. The setting and several of the characters are drawn from life - Finch was the maiden name of Lee's mother and the character of Dill was drawn from Capote, Lee's childhood friend. To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller, was adapted into screen in 1962, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and, in 1999, was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a poll by the Library Journal. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian award in the United States—in 2007. Lee was 34 when the work was published, and it has remained her only novel.
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Today is the 50th Anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. With a book that has been so influential in American literature and to so many people, filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy decided to produce a documentary about it called "Hey, Boo." SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO: A CELEBRATION OF FIFTY YEARS OF “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” is the book that goes along with the documentary and features Murphy’s various interviews and conversations with readers of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, some famous and some maybe not so much. The memories and impact this book has had on so many people is what has kept it a best seller all these years and what for many, as myself, was the force behind a passion that rose to become a lifelong love of reading.
SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO includes information on how so many, including Mary McDonagh Murphy herself have tried to interview the reclusive Harper Lee. Since writing her best selling book, Lee withdrew from public life for all purposes. Oprah Winfrey, who tells her story in SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO, was even denied an interview but was able to have lunch with Harper Lee which to me would be something extraordinary in itself.
Winfrey says, "I knew 20 minutes into the conversation that I would never be able to convince her to do an interview and it is not my style to push," Winfrey remembered, describing Ms. Lee's polite refusal during their lunch. "She said to me, 'I already said everything I needed to say.… You know the character Boo Radley? Well, if you know Boo, then you understand why I wouldn't be doing an interview because I am really Boo.' I knew that was the end of it. I just enjoyed the lunch.” And so, Winfrey left it at that.
Others interviewed include authors like Anna Quindlen, Adriana Trigiani, Lee Smith, and Richard Russo, each talk about the effect the book had on them: some personally, some politically, some in their work, and some in a combination of it all-their life. Andrew Young and Tom Brokaw add their take on the book’s impact especially as it played out in response to racial issues. Some lesser known, but no less important interviewees like Jane Ellen Clark, the director of Lee’s hometown museum; the Rev. Thomas Lane Butts, Lee’s minister; and Alice Finch Lee, the 99-year-old sister of Harper Lee, all add a special take on the book as well as the author.
It has been said that reading SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO is like attending a “big book club meeting with 26 lovers of “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD”. I think to read the book was very much like that for me; VERY much like that as well as instant access to the memories I have from EACH time I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD starting in 8th grade. Growing up in the sixties, it is easy to look back and understand the impact this book had when it came out, on the civil right movement. That influence still lives on coincidentally, as this much loved book is also the most routinely requested book to be challenged or banned according to the American Library Association’s Top 100 of those books.
You note, I am sure, that this is NOT a review of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD as I would not attempt to “review” the book…who am I to do that? I can’t imagine too many people knowledgeable enough and brave enough to even try. I can give you my impression and reflection on the book but I am pretty sure you understand that now having read my review of the marvelous and memorable SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO. And so today, I hope you will think about Scout, Boo, Atticus, and Harper Lee, and see if you don’t want to take that trip once again (in case you don’t do it routinely like many of us) and win a copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and the preeminent anthem to it, SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO by Mary McDonagh Murphy .
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
I HAVE 3 SETS OF BOTH OF THESE
MEMORABLE BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY.
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN
SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO and
THE 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER:
+1 MORE ENTRY: GO TO THE USA TODAY ARTICLE HERE AND READ SOME MORE INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THIS CELEBRATION AND THE NEW BOOK THAT HONORS IT. COME BACK AND COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING IN THE ARTICLE
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON A BOOK, OTHER THAN "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD" THAT HAD SOME KIND OF IMPACT ON YOU IN YOUR LIFE. IT COULD BE A BOOK YOU READ AS A CHILD OR LAST WEEK.
+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY