Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following the destructive Sherman’s March to the Sea. This historical novel features a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.
Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the outset and was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published and in 1937. As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, just behind the Bible. More than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide.
Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction. Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period. However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white. Scholars at American universities refer to it in their writings, interpret and study it. The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.
Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. It was adapted into a 1939 American film. The book is often read or misread through the film. Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.
Mitchell used color symbolism, especially the colors red and green, which frequently are associated with Scarlett O’Hara. Mitchell identified the primary theme as survival. She left the ending speculative for the reader, however. She was often asked what became of her lovers, Rhett and Scarlett. She replied, “For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult.” Two sequels authorized by Mitchell’s estate were published more than a half century later. A parody was also produced.
Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel.
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.
“Fascinating and unforgettable! A remarkable book, a spectacular book, a book that will not be forgotten!” — “Chicago Tribune”
“I first read “Gone with the Wind” in grade school–a boy of the upper South who’d seen the great movie and felt compelled to learn what lay behind it, all thousand-plus pages worth. No page disappointed me. What other American novel surpasses its eagerness to tell a great story of love and war; what characters equal the cantankerous passions of Scarlett and Rhett? Even Scott Fitzgerald spoke well of it. What more could I ask, even seven decades later?” — Reynolds Price
“GWTW is an indelible portrait of a unique time and place, American’s greatest political and moral conflict, and the myths that surround it — an all absorbing spectacle of a read even for postmodern readers. Mitchell vividly portrays the disillusionment and devastation of war, the ignorance of the uninitiated, and the transformation of arrogance into tenacity that shaped the first “new South.” All the details of history and place come together as a rich backdrop for those unforgettable characters: shallow and selfish Scarlett, sincere Melanie, moony-eyed Ashley, and the sage, pragmatic, dashing, and rakish Rhett Butler–the most enduring heartthrob of American literature has produced. I’d reread the book for the thrill of Rhett alone!” — Darnell Arnoult, author of “Sufficient Grace”
“In 1936 I was in E.M. Daggett Junior High in Ft. Worth, Texas. By some chance I was able to read “Gone with the Wind” early on. Then and now, I found it one of the great experiences of a young life. I still list it as one of my 10 favorite books.” — Liz Smith, nationally syndicated columnist
“Beyond a doubt one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer. It is also one of the best.” — “The New York Times”
“Not just a great love story, “Gone with the Wind” is one of the most powerful anti-war novels ever written. Told from the standpoint of the women left behind, author Margaret Mitchell brilliantly illustrates the heartbreaking and devastating effects of war on the land and its people.” — Fannie Flagg, Academy Award nominated-author
“The best novel to have ever come out of the South…it is unsurpassed in the whole of American writing.” — “The Washington Post”
“Let’s say you’ve read “Gone with the Wind” at least twice, and seen the movie over and again. So, here’s a thought. Buy this handsome paperback edition, just for Pat Conroy’s preface. This passionate, nearly breathless love letter is a Song of Solomon to Margaret Mitchell, Scarlett O’Hara, and Conroy’s beautiful, GTW-obsessed mother. Indeed, his luminous preface packs a durable wallop, just like the epic Pulitzer prize-winning work that inspires it.” — Jan Karon, author of “The Mitford Years” series
“In my own personal life, I find many similarities to Scarlett’s: The whole 17-inch waist thing notwithstanding, I do love a barbecue, both for the food and the men–I have been known to “eat like a field hand and gobble like a hawg”–I admit that at least on one occasion I may have feigned interest in some guy to further my own interests–I have fought tooth, toenail and tirelessly for my family–I learn slow but I learn good–and even so, I still adore the prospect of dealing with most things…Tomorrow.” — Jill Conner Browne, The Sweet Potato Queen, bestselling author of “The Sweet Potato Queens’ First Big-Ass Novel”
“”Gone with the Wind” is one of those rare books that we never forget. We read it when we’re young and fall in love with the characters, then we watch the film and read the book again and watch the film again and never get tired of revisiting an era that is the most important in our history. Rhett and Scarlet and Melanie and Ashley and Big Sam and Mammy and Archie the convict are characters who always remain with us, in the same way that Twain’s characters do. No one ever forgets the scene when Scarlet wanders among the wounded in the Atlanta train yard; no one ever forgets the moment Melanie and Scarlet drag the body of the dead Federal soldier down the staircase, a step at a time. “Gone with the Wind” is an epic story. Anyone who has not read it has missed one of the greatest literary experiences a reader can have.” — James Lee Burke, bestselling author of “The Tin Roof Blowdown ”
About the Author
American journalist and author Margaret Mitchell is best known for her epic Civil War-era novel, Gone with the Wind, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. Mitchell was born and bred in the South, and family stories about the Civil War influenced her writing, particularly Gone with the Wind. Mitchell was also an accomplished journalist, writing more than 125 features for the Atlanta Journal before retiring due to an injury. Although Gone with the Wind was the only novel to be published by Mitchell during her life (Lost Laysen, a novella written by Mitchell as a teenager was published posthumously in 1996), she continues to be considered one of the pre-eminent authors of the early 1900s. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.