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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

Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters Download image

ISBN10: 1250163757
ISBN13: 9781250163752


320 Pages



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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.


Praise for Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters

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

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


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...

About the author

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.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Tom Santopietro

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