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Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters

Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters

What Harper Lee's Book and the Iconic American Film Mean to Us Today

Tom Santopietro

St. Martin's Press

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Tom Santopietro, an author well-known for his writing about American popular culture, delves into the heart of the beloved classic and shows readers why To Kill a Mockingbird matters more today than ever before.

With 40 million copies sold, To Kill a Mockingbird’s poignant but clear eyed examination of human nature has cemented its status as a global classic. Tom Santopietro's new book, Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters, takes a 360 degree look at the Mockingbird phenomenon both on page and screen.

Santopietro traces the writing of To Kill a Mockingbird, the impact of the Pulitzer Prize, and investigates the claims that Lee’s book is actually racist. Here for the first time is the full behind the scenes story regarding the creation of the 1962 film, one which entered the American consciousness in a way that few other films ever have. From the earliest casting sessions to the Oscars and the 50th Anniversary screening at the White House, Santopietro examines exactly what makes the movie and Gregory Peck’s unforgettable performance as Atticus Finch so captivating.

As Americans yearn for an end to divisiveness, there is no better time to look at the significance of Harper Lee's book, the film, and all that came after.

INTRODUCTION


The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

—Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

The two most important aspects of my father’s life were when he met my mother and...

Praise for Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters

“Fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, the film and the novel, will enjoy this work. “
Library Journal

“Meticulous attention to detail… Readers not familiar with the stories behind the novel and film will find much to relish.”
Publishers Weekly

“Absorbing and full of beguiling detail.”
USA Today

“A detailed account of a classic novel's context, transformation, and acclaim.”
Kirkus Reviews


"Santopietro has certainly done his homework, and he applies the rigor of his knowledge admirably... Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters is astute."—New York Times Book Review


"A fascinating new book. Santopietro does To Kill a Mockingbird proud. Even Harper Lee—so reticent, so resistant to attention—would have been mighty pleased at this affectionate, meticulous and masterful explanation as to why Mockingbird still matters. "
New York Social Diary, Denis Ferrara


"Tom Santopietro gets to the heart of the matter in every subject he has tackled in his illustrious career. His latest, the story behind the great American novel To Kill A Mockingbird and its superb film adaptation is fascinating. This gifted author takes you inside the world that inspired the novel and the process that led to its telling as only he can. Inspiring, hopeful and surprising at every turn, this is a glorious read in the moment we need it most."
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo


"I barreled through Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters, T… More…





“Fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, the film and the novel, will enjoy this work. “
Library Journal

“Meticulous attention to detail… Readers not familiar with the stories behind the novel and film will find much to relish.”
Publishers Weekly

“Absorbing and full of beguiling detail.”
USA Today

“A detailed account of a classic novel's context, transformation, and acclaim.”
Kirkus Reviews


"Santopietro has certainly done his homework, and he applies the rigor of his knowledge admirably... Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters is astute."—New York Times Book Review


"A fascinating new book. Santopietro does To Kill a Mockingbird proud. Even Harper Lee—so reticent, so resistant to attention—would have been mighty pleased at this affectionate, meticulous and masterful explanation as to why Mockingbird still matters. "
New York Social Diary, Denis Ferrara


"Tom Santopietro gets to the heart of the matter in every subject he has tackled in his illustrious career. His latest, the story behind the great American novel To Kill A Mockingbird and its superb film adaptation is fascinating. This gifted author takes you inside the world that inspired the novel and the process that led to its telling as only he can. Inspiring, hopeful and surprising at every turn, this is a glorious read in the moment we need it most."
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo


"I barreled through Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters, Tom Santopietro’s comprehensive and multi-faceted investigation of Mockingbird's backstory, the movie’s making, and the enduring influence of a story which, as Santopietro observes, is simultaneously straightforward and complex, traditional and subversive. Santopietro masterfully examines the novel’s impact during the era in which it was published and also within the context of these present, more cynical times of race-baiting politics, the Black Lives Matter movement, and what readers might make of that flawed “other” Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. If, like me, you’re a fan and a student of To Kill a Mockingbird, you will love this fascinating and timely book."


—Wally Lamb, bestselling author of I Know This Much Is True

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Reviews from Goodreads

Tom Santopietro

Tom Santopietro is the author of The Sound of Music Story, Barbara Cook: Then and Now, The Godfather Effect, The Importance of Being Barbra, Considering Doris Day (A New York Times Editor's Choice) and Sinatra in Hollywood. A frequent media commentator and interviewer, he lectures on classic films, and over the past thirty years has managed more than two dozen Broadway shows.

image of Tom Santopietro o
Photo: Joan Marcus

Tom Santopietro

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