Monday, June 30, 1986

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind published 50 years ago today

First posted 6/16/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.

Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

First Publication: June 30, 1936

Category: historical fiction

Sales: 33 million


About the Book:

“The most popular romance novel of all time was the basis for the most popular movie of all time (in today’s dollars).” LC Gone with the Wind “has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel.” AZ A 2014 Harris poll ranked it second only to the Bible as American readers’ favorite book. WK The title is taken from a poem by Ernest Dowson. WK

“A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage,” AZ “Mitchell identified the primary theme as survival.” WK The story “vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.” AZ The story follows “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 Sherman’s destructive ‘March to the Sea.’” WK “This selfish, but gutsy heroine idealises the unattainable Ashley before realising her love for her third husband, Rhett, who dismisses her with, ‘My dear, I don't give a damn.’” TG

“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.” AZ

Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial” WK in light of “charges that its author had a blind eye regarding the horrors of slavery.” LC “However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white.” WK

“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.” WK

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