I recently finished Mockingbird, the biography of Nelle Harper Lee, written by Charles Shields. The book is based on personal interviews, letters, articles, and books detailing Lee's life. I've spent several years trying to find out details about Lee on my own, but Shields provides more than I could have ever hoped for in this biography and its accompanying footnotes. I now understand why it took several years to compile.
The book details Lee's role in assisting her childhood friend, Truman Capote, with the research for In Cold Blood. Based on the research published by Shields, it's hard to believe that Capote would have been able to write the book without her help. Based on Shields' research, it sounds like Capote never really gave her the recognition she fully deserves for the assistance she provided for researching the book. It makes me wonder if Capote was jealous of Lee's success with To Kill a Mockingbird and then decided to keep all the In Cold Blood accolades for himself.
Nelle Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and although it was written in the late 1950's and published in 1960, her novel still sells around a million copies per year.