The Story Behind To Kill a Mockingbird

Random Musings

TIME

A few giants towered above the others on the fiction best-seller lists in the early 1960s: James Michener, Irving Wallace, Herman Wouk, Irving Stone, Saul Bellow, John O’Hara, Leon Uris, their titles flashing their authors’ intentions to loosen their ties, put down their bourbons, tamp out their cigarettes or pipes and confront their Smith Corona typewriters long enough to chisel truth from granite: Advise and Consent, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Ugly American, The Source, Armageddon. Into this manly realm with its scent of Old Spice and Aqua Velva, in the summer of 1960, tiptoed a young slip of a book with an artsy cover and the odd name To Kill a Mockingbird. It told, in an elliptical and poetical and roundabout way, the coming-of-age story of a motherless little Alabama white girl whose daddy, a country lawyer, defies Depression-era social convention and takes on the case…

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