Atticus Finch: The Biography

Atticus Finch: The Biography

by Joseph Crespino


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Atticus Finch: The Biography by Joseph Crespino

Who was the real Atticus Finch? A prize-winning historian reveals the man behind the legend

The publication of Go Set a Watchman in 2015 forever changed how we think about Atticus Finch. Once seen as a paragon of decency, he was reduced to a small-town racist. How are we to understand this transformation?

In Atticus Finch, historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee's father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A. C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. Harper Lee created the Atticus of Watchman out of the ambivalence she felt toward white southerners like him. But when a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in To Kill a Mockingbird to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions. A story of family and literature amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, Atticus Finch is essential to understanding Harper Lee, her novels, and her times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541644946
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 87,356
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Joseph Crespino is the Jimmy Carter Professor of history at Emory University. He is the author of In Search of Another Country, winner of the 2008 Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council, and Strom Thurmond's America. He lives in Decatur, Georgia.

Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

Part I Origins

Chapter 1 The View from the Square 3

Chapter 2 Jackassonian Democrats 31

Part II Atticus Imagined

Chapter 3 Setting a Watchman 73

Chapter 4 The Boiling Frog 101

Part III Atticus in the World

Chapter 5 The Noble Man 127

Chapter 6 Letter from Maycomb Jail 157

Epilogue 175

Acknowledgments 185

Notes 189

Bibliography 223

Index 235

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