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Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. Shortly thereafter, the book won the Pulitzer Prize and is now known as one of the greatest books ever written, selling over 30 million copies in 18 languages. The immediate fame the book achieved came as a shock to Lee, who never relished being in the spotlight.
Much of Lee's novel is drawn from real events from her childhood in Monroeville, Alabama, during the Great Depression. As such, the racial and moral undertones of the book provide a very realistic portrait of southern life in the 1930s.
The book's hero, Atticus Finch, is lauded as one of the great fictional moralists, a man who not only fought racial injustice, but defended his family through it all refused to compromise any of his values or integrity.
Today, To Kill a Mockingbird is among the most commonly assigned books in high school English classes and seldom raises concerns over the controversial subjects it addresses. It has, to this day, never been out of print and has remained Harper Lee's one and only novel.