Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta 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 the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is 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 onset 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.

Gone with the Wind Details

TitleGone with the Wind
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 1st, 1999
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
ISBN0446675539
ISBN-139780446675536
Number of pages1,037 pages
Rating
GenreClassics, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Historical

Gone with the Wind Review

  • Annalisa
    December 31, 2008
    It takes guts to make your main character spoiled, selfish, and stupid, someone without any redeeming qualities, and write an epic novel about her. But it works for two reasons. First of all you wait for justice to fall its merciless blow with one of the most recognized lines in cinema ("frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"), but you end with a broken and somewhat repentant character and you can't be pitiless. Secondly, if you were going to parallel the beautiful, affluent, lazy, spirited South It takes guts to make your main character spoiled, selfish, and stupid, someone without any redeeming qualities, and write an epic novel about her. But it works for two reasons. First of all you wait for justice to fall its merciless blow with one of the most recognized lines in cinema ("frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"), but you end with a broken and somewhat repentant character and you can't be pitiless. Secondly, if you were going to parallel the beautiful, affluent, lazy, spirited South being conquered by the intellectual, industrious North, what better way to do that than with characters who embody those characteristics? You come to feel a level of sadness that the South and Scarlett lost their war and hope that they will rebuild.I enjoyed the picture of pre-war South outside of what you learn in history class approved by the nation that won the war. If the South had won, we would have an entirely different picture painted. A story of lush lands and prosperity abounding with chivalry and gentility by a (too) passionate people. If you visit the South today, you can see that all these generations later the wounds of the war and the regret at losing the way of life are still fresh. But if it had not been the civil war, it would have been by other means that the lazy sprawled out way of life would have been conquered by our efficient, compact, modern lives. I enjoyed the picture of plantations that did not abuse slaves to the extent that you read about in many memoirs. There was still a disrespect in that they viewed "darkies" as ignorant and childish and worthy of being owned, but there were those who cared for those in their trust. And the North who came down riling up the lowest of the slaves to flip the oppression did not want any contact with a race they feared. Prejudice takes many faces. Slavery is such an important part of American history, but I don't know that I agree with the format in which it is taught (at least the way it was taught to me). We take young, tolerant children and feed them stories of racism and abuse and then tell them the world is naturally prejudice (that they are prejudice) so don't be. White children start feeling awkward and aware and black children start feeling mistreated and aware. We manage to teach children about Indian and Holocaust history without the same enthusiasm to end racism by breeding racism. There has to be a better way. But I digress.I also enjoyed Mitchell showing the volatile formula in which the KKK was aroused, that it wasn't just a disdain for free darkies but a need to protect their women and children from the rash anger now imposed on them through this new regime. Not that there are any redeeming qualities in the KKK, or even the Southern rash justice by pistol shot to curb wounded pride, but it was interesting to learn the wider circumstances in which it arose. The entire picture of the Southern perspective from the hierarchy of slaves to the disdain of the reconstruction was enlightening. The post-war difficulties, that sometimes it's harder to survive than die, were some of my favorite epiphanies of the story. What everyone in the South went through, both white and black, after everything was deconstructed and they didn't know how to rebuild. It wasn't just about freeing slaves but about rebuilding an entire way of life and sometimes change, even good change, can be this scary and destructive.My one complaint about the book was at times the description was lengthy. I'd get a grasp for the emotions of Scarlett that are supposed to describe the emotions of all Southerners or the description of the land at Tara as a representation of the rich red soil all Southerners love and then Mitchell would go on for paragraphs or pages rehashing that feeling to pull the most emotion out of you. It worked, but sometimes I think she could have done so in fewer words. I view Scarlett as a representation of the South in which she loved. She did not care from whence the wealth came or believed that it would ever end. Because she was rich and important, she would conquer. As the Yankees attempted to rebuild the South, fresh in their embitterment at a war they did not want to fight, you can both see their reasoning and feel for the Southerners who were licked and then stomped on in their attempts to gain back of their life. You see that in Scarlett. On one hand you don't pity her and think she needs a lesson in poverty and on the other hand you want her to survive. Either she can lie down and cling to her old ways or she can debase herself and rebuild. Survival, not morality, is her strongest drive.Oh Scarlett. We all know people like her. People who unscrupulously use their womanly charms to get ahead and carry a deep disdain for those bound by concepts of kindness, morals, or intelligence and most especially for those who see them for what they are instead of being manipulated. People who care for nobody but themselves and who find enjoyment in life not in what they have, but in conquering the unattainable that is only desirable because it is out of reach. I loved how Mitchell showed Scarlett's decline from a religious albeit not believing girl who allowed her rationalization and avoidance to carry her from one sin to the next of intensifying degree. An excellent portrait of the degradation of character. Initially I thought she was the only character who wasn't growing, actually digressing. But by the end she does grow up. In no regard is this greater than in her eventual desire to be a mother. Turning from her ravenous post-war desire to survive to her acceptance of life and the people around her as the way they are, eventually Scarlett grows into the person she was meant to be. As did the South. Prideful and resentful, eventually they had to accept that they lost the war and take what was given them and try to make it work.Scarlett realizes that Melanie is not the weak, cowardly girl she always assumed but the most courageous character in the book and one who gets her means by influence and persuasion instead of Scarlett's uncivil ways. It is Melly, not Scarlett, who could get anything she desires and her heart is not her weakness but her greatest strength. Finally Scarlett values the importance of love and sees that it does not make one weak but deep to possess it. OK, I won't go that far. She's not intelligent enough to analyze love, but she grows up enough to fall for it anyway, to realize she needs people. She sees Ashley not as the strong, honorable character she had always esteemed but the weakest and least honorable character in the book. Anyone who would tease another woman with confessions of love just so he could keep her heart and devotion at arm's length is not truly honoring his marriage vows. The greatest gift he could give his wife was the knowledge that he loved her. And we all know that like any pretty toy, once Scarlett had taken him, she would have discarded him. The debasing knowledge that he is not fit for a rougher way of life doesn't endear him. For all his intelligence, he could have picked himself up by the bootstraps and made something of himself if he wanted to survive. He is a representation of the Old South that had to die but many couldn't let go of, even today. That's the sadness of the loss of the Southern way, still longing for the past instead of moving forward.Then we come to Rhett, the only character with the ability to conquer Scarlett, who was quite the devil. Just like the ladies in old Atlanta I found myself at times entranced by his charms, but often I did not like or trust him. I was often torn about the way he constantly encouraged Scarlett to fall another wrung on her morality ladder and mocked her emotions, mocked all of Southern civility. What annoyed me most about him was that he showed love by coddling his wife and child until they were spoiled, dependent, but not grateful, and this was his idea of being a good father and husband. And yet I sympathized with him and was often amused by him. More than anything I enjoyed his intelligence as a way for Mitchell to introduce the Yankee viewpoint, using his sarcasm as satire. I loved the whole discussion of his not being a gentleman and her no lady.More than anything I saw his slow conquering of Scarlett's heart as a parallel to the slow enveloping of the South by the North until they realized they were dependent on their conquerors but could still maintain their fierce spirit, a marriage of North and South. The fact that she could never fully understand him shows the divide between to two philosophies. But does the South lose in this blending? Can't they adopt the intellectual ways of the North and still maintain their civility? Just like Ashley, they would rather have dreamt and remembered than changed.The characters in the book are so vivid that like or dislike you cannot get them out of your head. There are no more vibrant characters in the history of literature that Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. There is a reason this book is a classic. Everyone should read it at least once in their life to appreciate the civil war and understand the sadness and loss that enveloped the country.
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  • Eve Brown
    August 11, 2007
    I honestly do not know whether to give this book 5 stars for being one of the most completely engrossing, shocking, and emotionally absorbing pieces of literature ever written, or to give it 0 stars for being the most tragic, unendingly upsetting, disturbing book I've ever read. I read the last 50 pages or so literally with my mouth wide open, unable to believe that it was really going to be THAT tragically sad. When I finally finished, I walked downstairs in a daze, handed the book to my husban I honestly do not know whether to give this book 5 stars for being one of the most completely engrossing, shocking, and emotionally absorbing pieces of literature ever written, or to give it 0 stars for being the most tragic, unendingly upsetting, disturbing book I've ever read. I read the last 50 pages or so literally with my mouth wide open, unable to believe that it was really going to be THAT tragically sad. When I finally finished, I walked downstairs in a daze, handed the book to my husband, and told him to burn it and never let me see it again. Throughout the book, I frantically kept reading, often until 2am or later, just to see when it would turn around and start getting happy, but there was never any redemption - it NEVER got happy or uplifting. It just kept spiraling down, down, into despair. Maybe after a few days I will be able to step back and give it a proper rating (I just finished it last night, and am still reeling from it).... UPDATE: After about a week, I have decided to give this book a 5, because any piece of fiction that can have that strong an effect on a reader deserves the highest ranking possible! Besides, I've found that, no matter how tragic and sometimes unlikeable the chartacters were, I am still thinking about them days after I finished reading. I almost miss them! They have truly come alive for me. Besides, who doesn't love a good emotional roller coaster every once in a while?!
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  • Brina
    July 4, 2016
    One of my reading themes for 2016 is reading at least ten classic books. It seems only fitting that on the Fourth of July I completed Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, an epic masterpiece that many view as the definitive great American novel. I feel that the two halves of the book mirror the southern United States before and after the Civil War. The first half of the book occurs primarily at Tara Plantation. We meet our main protagonist Scarlett O'Hara, the belle of the south, who epitomiz One of my reading themes for 2016 is reading at least ten classic books. It seems only fitting that on the Fourth of July I completed Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, an epic masterpiece that many view as the definitive great American novel. I feel that the two halves of the book mirror the southern United States before and after the Civil War. The first half of the book occurs primarily at Tara Plantation. We meet our main protagonist Scarlett O'Hara, the belle of the south, who epitomizes what life was like in the antebellum era: young, carefree, never having to lift a finger and having an entire plantation at her beck and call. She never gave a thought to slavery, the confederate cause, or political matters because in the south that she knew, this was her way of life. Next, there is the fated barbecue at neighboring Twelve Oaks plantation. We meet mainstays Ashley and Melanie Wilkes who are to be married. Scarlett grew up with Ashley and desires him yet this is a teenage fantasy, unfortunately one that will plague her for the rest of her life. Witnessing her declaration of love for Ashley is the mysterious Rhett Butler, an unreceived gentleman with a past. Instantly smitten with Scarlett's looks and personality, he begins a lifelong quest to have her as his own. And then the Great War hits and shatters all these dreams. Scarlett reduced to nothing rebuilds. She is a modern woman who goes into business despite an entire city of Atlanta giving her nasty looks. She does this at the cost of her children's upbringing so she can rebuild Tara and her Atlanta life from the rubble of the war. Although many people in their reviews state that they dislike Scarlett and her selfish motives, I view her character with determination as she tried to better her place in society in order to leave her children with more than she started with. Mitchell is writing from a 20th century perspective and had witnessed the modern woman and inserts some of these modern traits into Scarlett. Combine that with her Irish blood, and we have one of the most determined protagonists of all time. Of course as in any epic, we have a sketch of the time period. I learned much about the reconstruction south because growing up in the north, we only had what was in the history books. I knew the basics but not the intimate look at how southerners rebuilt following the war. There were two views to the new south- there was Ashley Wilkes who pined for Twelve Oaks and the way of life before the war and Rhett Butler who symbolizes the modern south and how Atlanta and the south rose again. The second half of the book focuses on these two men and how they coped and succeeded in reconstruction, yet it all came back to Scarlett and which of the two paths she would choose, which man's dreams she would decide to follow. Behind Scarlett, Rhett, and Ashley and their dreams, we have Melanie Wilkes. She was the only character who knew all the principal players for who they were, and held them together through good times and bad. Whereas Scarlett was the new south, the new woman, Melanie was the south and the picture of the south I have always had- a strong woman, rallying soldiers, rallying for every cause after reconstruction, holding together an entire city, selfless. Even Scarlett with all her selfishness turned to Melanie in times of greatest need, even though Melanie is the one who viewed Scarlett as the pillar of strength. And yet, both women were strength, Melanie in her antiquated ways and Scarlett as the new woman who would bring this country forward while still remembering Tara, where she came from. As I finish this epic on America's birthday I feel a sadness as I leave behind Mitchell's well drawn characters that earned her a Pulitzer Prize 80 years ago. Scarlett's determination, Rhett's swarthy brashness, Ashley's love of time gone by, Melanie's heart. I look forward to seeing the epic film for the first time and witnessing Scarlett and Rhett and Tara on screen. I am glad I let myself be drawn into this slice of Americana from bygone eras, and believe that every American should attempt to read Mitchell's masterpiece at least once in their lives.
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  • Nicko
    February 25, 2008
    So much has been said in praise of this book it feels redundant to add more. In terms of the slave-holding society, the film actually toned-down the pro-South view of Reconstruction (Scarlett's second husband joined the KKK in the book) and Mammy remains probably one of the most fully-developed and likeable African-American characters from 1930 you'll read. Rhett Butler is the consummate alpha male. This book is definitely the timeless classic reputation it has earned, and though at times it see So much has been said in praise of this book it feels redundant to add more. In terms of the slave-holding society, the film actually toned-down the pro-South view of Reconstruction (Scarlett's second husband joined the KKK in the book) and Mammy remains probably one of the most fully-developed and likeable African-American characters from 1930 you'll read. Rhett Butler is the consummate alpha male. This book is definitely the timeless classic reputation it has earned, and though at times it seemed like the longest book ever, it is all worth it in the end. It touches on many misunderstood aspects of the civil war and its afterwords. What many people do not realize is how horrible it really was for Southerners after the war, mostly because they cannot get past the racism of the times (which it wasn't as if the North was full of equality and peace, either). If you can accept the times for what they were, you will see how well this book was written. I appreciate it for the well built characters, smooth flow, and albeit romanticized- depiction of the Antebellum South.As far as being politically incorrect or the modern charges that the book is "racist," remember that this book was written in the 1930s. Not to mention, the time period is the Civil War era! To be completely unracist would not have depicted the era correctly. As if it represents anything more than the way people thought when it was made. Of course, it's racist. America is and has been a racist society since the beginning. This book mirrors the opinions held by the people alive and working at the time, no more and certainly no less. Have opinions changed since then? Of course, as society evolves so does the writing. All this aside, the character of "Mammy" is one of the most likeable and respected characters in the book. Rhett Butler treats her very well, and tries to win her approval. She’s the one person throughout the novel who sees through everyone’s follies and foibles, but remains forgiving of them anyway. There's a reason this book won so many awards and still endures! It is a timeless classic that everyone should enjoy and read in context.
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  • Fabian
    July 1, 2011
    I’ve said it some time ago: GWTW the novel is like watching the ten hour director’s cut of GWTW the movie! Hell yeah!!! All the memorable scenes are there, & the spotlit romance is considerably widened in scope, as is the sturdy social studies lesson on the almighty American Civil War. I mean, everyone has the basic idea correct: the South took a tremendous thrashing. But having the loser’s POV take the forefront, even to the extent of exalting the K.K.K.-- this, more than Scarlett O’Hara’s I’ve said it some time ago: GWTW the novel is like watching the ten hour director’s cut of GWTW the movie! Hell yeah!!! All the memorable scenes are there, & the spotlit romance is considerably widened in scope, as is the sturdy social studies lesson on the almighty American Civil War. I mean, everyone has the basic idea correct: the South took a tremendous thrashing. But having the loser’s POV take the forefront, even to the extent of exalting the K.K.K.-- this, more than Scarlett O’Hara’s infamous bitchiness but overall fierceness as the antihero of this fantastic tale-- is what I fell in love with. The stars all aligned and for the first time in a long time the general reading audience had it correct. GWTW is a remarkable, unique reading experience.A reader simply isn’t one unless he or she has faced a behemoth like this one. This, "The Odyssey," "The 1001 Arabian Nights," "Don Quixote," "Lord of the Rings"... are all musts. All epic & so awesome, THE primordial blockbusters. You have enough time to live with the book, to form a relationship with it, to think about your future together... (It becomes an integral part of yourself…) Now, what do we get on this journey that is sadly missing in its technicolored, titanic doppelganger? The atrocities shown here of the war are not apt for a rated G film. The following questions are thoroughly answered... (mild SPOILER ALERT!) In what way did Gerald O'Hara gain ownership of Tara? What invisible connection exists between women and horses? How did the siege of Atlanta take place? Why Atlanta? What is Southern hospitality, really? (Priceless is the mentioning of several ostentatious Atlanta parties with only the Yankee army 22 miles away…! Priceless is the POV of the woman that stayed behind while all men are off to war…! Priceless the interconnections between folks [of course the world population was nil back then!]) And, How has the idea of masculinity changed from the 19th century? What is true sisterhood? What is Post-traumatic stress syndrome?The townships are fully described. GWTW has many protagonists, as they all add authenticity to the incredibly narrative. If there ever existed a valentine for a city in the elusive form of an epic historical romance, then it is this, for Atlanta! There are additional love stories which parallel Rhett’s and Scarlett’s & several romantic dates between the central lovers. Everyone, it seems, has fallen in love, which adds the hues of Romanticism to the epic Southern Myth. Too, there is sympathy for the devil, scorn for the overly dandified Yankees (They desecrated graves! Raped, and pillaged!), amazement at the aftereffects of the Civil War, including Reconstruction (which takes up many more pages than the war itself!). Missing from the silver screen? The characters of Wade and Ella, Scarlett’s first- and second-borns. They do nothing but highlight the main character’s flaws and selfishness. Frank Kennedy, also known as Mr. Scarlett O’Hara, the Second. And Will Benteen, the overseer at Tara would be one too many males within Scarlett’s (Vivien Leigh’s) periphery on film. Also: Scarlett almost getting attacked and raped; GWTW’s racy social commentary, all of the men partaking in early KKK activities. I will admit, GWTW is gee-wow! oh-so feminist... but also downright racist!Scarlett’s consciousness evolves. She turns from spoiled brat teen to fiery, materialistic bitch! In her brain is the constant battle to get Ashley Wilkes, to get Tara. It is only here that I perceive similarities to “Twilight”: yearnings & adolescent ambivalence. These things, it seems, never change. Also, that Gotterdammerung, or, the dusk of the gods, the end of civilization, is apt to occur in our times, and soon: this is a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled…! The British have “Wuthering Heights,” “Pride and Prejudice; We got “Gone With the Wind”, an epic so incredible, so full of wuthering heights and perplexing downfalls, so jam packed with southern pride and arrogance, of prejudice and passion, that it is simply sad that its sole detriment is (not its length, nor its melodrama, but) its racist edge. GWTW is the s**t in many respects, but it is the dialogue between the star-crossed lovers (positively Wilde in its cleverness, in its tongue-in-cheekness) which elevates it to a plane higher than its sturdy, more lauded colleagues. Unlike that once-glorious South in the war, with “Gone With the Wind” you, the reader, will not lose...!
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  • Lisa Kay
    January 7, 2011
    My mother wouldn't let me read "Gone With the Wind" until I was 16. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party and they asked the trivia question "What was the first line of GWtW?" I knew the answer. My husband asked, "How did you know that?" (He'd lived with me how many decades?) I told him about my mom's restriction and how, when I finally opened the book, I was stunned by the first sentence. I had seen the movie and Scarlett was beautiful, if a bitch. I also remember it because everyone always My mother wouldn't let me read "Gone With the Wind" until I was 16. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party and they asked the trivia question "What was the first line of GWtW?" I knew the answer. My husband asked, "How did you know that?" (He'd lived with me how many decades?) I told him about my mom's restriction and how, when I finally opened the book, I was stunned by the first sentence. I had seen the movie and Scarlett was beautiful, if a bitch. I also remember it because everyone always talked about how hard it was to cast the role for the movie and how beautiful I thought Vivian Leigh was. In the book Scarlett is not so much a "supreme bitch of the universe" as a survivor and she drags her family along (kicking and screaming) with her. She is presented slightly different and more complex in the book. The whole incident with Scarlett stealing her sister's beau? In the book you just knew that her sister would only use Hamilton’s money for herself where Scarlett wanted it to save Tara because Tara means 'dirt/land/earth' in Ireland. If you had land, you were rich and self-sufficient. I wouldn't have minded being on a deserted island with her if I was part of her family...Or even in the middle of a civil war. LOL. (In the movie they also left out a couple of marriages and kids which gave her more depth.)We all know this war torn families apart. Years ago I had a cousin who traced our family tree. I had a great-great-great-grandfather who lived in the South and went to fight for the North. I also had another who lived in the North and went to fight for the South. No wonder I always want to play ‘devil’s advocate.’ It’s in my DNA.I could go off on a whole tangent about the characters in GWTW and what each of them represented with regard to the South. If Scarlett represented a segment of the South the way it was when the Civil War started, it was as a progressive segment that knew where it was headed: strong, determined, attractive, young, rich, bored (complacent), spoiled, unable to love those who truly understood her and loved her anyway (i.e. the North not wanting the South to leave, the South not loving the Union), doing anything to get her way or survive (even enslave a people or take advantage of chained-gang prison-workers)…ever so slowly changing, showing bravery, but learning too late how to change in time…Well then, the first sentence takes on a whole new meaning. (view spoiler)[”Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” (hide spoiler)] Slavery is not beautiful, it’s ugly.But the wealth it provided? Well, as I learned in my economics class in college, if the war had been fought five years later the South would have won. It was that wealthy. It was also this book that told me that the North was not blameless in the whole thing as many of the slave sellers/capturers and slave ship owners were from the North. They never told me THAT in high school. And Scarlett? Like our forfathers chose to do while writing the constitution, she was going to think about all of it (slavery) tomorrow. Scarlett is, in this story, the eyes of the progressive South at that time and she fails to see the world around her in time. Maybe because she’s too busy batting her lashes to get her way. And yet we feel for her when she pulls that carrot out of the ground, eats it and throws up. We grieve so for her heartbreak at the end of the book. How did Mitchell pull that off? We are right there with her when she’s lost in the fog and can’t see before she goes home to Tara.Rhett is the New South, charming, lustful, innovative, an investor. Cynicism (a trait he shares with Scarlett) hides his compassion (a trait he shares with Melanie), and he won’t fight or take a side in the war until he must. But Mitchell makes him and all her characters extremely complex, for she gives him a sense of honor for honor’s sake. (Is he then a gentleman like Ashley?) Rhett’s almost downfall? His deep and abiding love for Scarlett (he - like Melanie - sees her for who and what she is, the good as well as the bad); nevertheless, he eventually leaves her ideology behind in disgust. He has the work-ethic and is the muscle, but only flexes it when his devastating charm won’t work. In the end he walks out.Ashley and Melanie? Two different, complex aspects of the Old South - one lost without the other - and their antiquated way of life. Remember, Ashley doesn’t love Scarlett and he detests slavery. But he didn’t know how to survive without it. He’s painted himself into a corner. Ashley wants to marry Melanie because he believes he has more in common with her than Scarlett. He’s wrong. He’s the intellect of the Old South, struggling to hang on to his gentlemanly behavior and failing totally. As Annalisa says in her Goodreads review: “(Scarlett) sees Ashley not as the strong, honorable character she had always esteemed but the weakest and least honorable character in the book. Anyone who would tease another woman with confessions of love just so he could keep her heart and devotion at arm's length is not truly honoring his marriage vows.” There’s a reason he is in a prison during the war. He doesn’t want to/can’t change some aspects of his life/nature, and in the end can’t conceive of a life without his heart, for that is where courage lives. For all our deep philosophical ideals do not reside in the brain but in our heart.The heart? That would be Melanie, a gentle southern belle, a ‘great lady’ and one of the few true ‘purely good’ people in Mitchell’s epic. She was sickly due to so many generations of inbreeding within an educated, affluent family. She is the heart and courage of the Old South, not its eyes. She refuses to believe the ‘ugliness’ of Scarlett when she witnesses her in Ashley’s arms (and for once Scarlett is innocent). Melanie is the only one who sees Rhett cry and soon after she dies.Mammy? She has it all and sees all. The all-knowing mother with eyes in the back of her head. The work-ethic. The conscience. An inner strength, and a loving, forgiving nature.I told you I was sixteen when I read this. In my naiveté I asked my mother if Rhett and Scarlett got back together and she told me, “It’s like a beautiful tea cup. Once it’s broken, you can glue it back together, but it is never as beautiful to the eyes as it once was.” Scarlett really represents a “might have been.” What might have been if slavery had been abolished in 1776? Or even anytime before 1862? Was she truly blind, wearing rose-tinted glasses, or did she let pride and hubris get in her way?You do remember your history lessons? Don’t expect a happy ending.
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  • Emily
    August 4, 2008
    I received my copy of Gone With the Wind in 1991 and never got past the first 50 or 100 pages in any of my annual attempts at this books until 2004, at which point I decided to defeat the book one and for all. I FINALLY FINISHED READING THE DAMN BOOK.I want my time back.There was a reason I never before read past the first 50 or 100 pages - Scarlet is a raging evil snarky miserable bitch and I hate her. None of the other characters were particularly likable - ranging from sniveling, whiny sissie I received my copy of Gone With the Wind in 1991 and never got past the first 50 or 100 pages in any of my annual attempts at this books until 2004, at which point I decided to defeat the book one and for all. I FINALLY FINISHED READING THE DAMN BOOK.I want my time back.There was a reason I never before read past the first 50 or 100 pages - Scarlet is a raging evil snarky miserable bitch and I hate her. None of the other characters were particularly likable - ranging from sniveling, whiny sissies to evil, snarky assholes. I don't care if it *is* some great story about surviving in a war zone or some bullshit line like that. None of these characters really expressed the complexities or debated the moral dilemmas involved in surviving the Civil War. Scarlet was a whiny, conniving miserable human being and I don't give a crap if she "only did what she had to do as a woman." She didn't have to treat Ashley or Rhett or ANYONE the way she did, or she could have at least felt bad about it or something. I disliked every single character and their miserable lives. I want my time back.But by God did it feel good when Rhett tells her "My dear, I don't give a damn" because neither do I.(PS: I am, in fact, allowed to dislike this book. You don't need to reply to my review by calling me names. I'm perfectly happy to hear about why you did like it, or why you didn't like it, but I'm tired of people coming to MY review and calling me names because I don't like this "classic" book.")(PPS: This book is also a racist & sexist glorification of a racist & sexist past. It's the literary equivalent of the Confederate Flag.)
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    January 31, 2015
    6/29/16 UPDATE: I have since watched the movie and although I really liked the movie, it doesn't hold a candle to the book. But you can imagine that a book this size can't be put into one movie sitting. And where the book made me cry a lot, the movie didn't.I spent over 12 hours today finishing this book. 1037 pages! 1. Because I wanted to know what was going to happen! 2. I have no sort of life so I can do this from time to time.I can not believe it took me so long to read this book! I didn't t 6/29/16 UPDATE: I have since watched the movie and although I really liked the movie, it doesn't hold a candle to the book. But you can imagine that a book this size can't be put into one movie sitting. And where the book made me cry a lot, the movie didn't.I spent over 12 hours today finishing this book. 1037 pages! 1. Because I wanted to know what was going to happen! 2. I have no sort of life so I can do this from time to time.I can not believe it took me so long to read this book! I didn't think it would be my kind of book and I have never watched the movie <---I did order the blu-ray on Amazon today because I have to see it soon! I must say that GOODREADS has been a blessing and a curse in this department. I have broadened my horizons since being on GOODREADS from reading books my friends are reading or have read and this is one of them. I would have missed out on this book! This book has so many feels for me:DisgustSadnessRageShockI invested so much into so many characters. So many characters that died, that I loved... ones that didn't even have much of a role in the story, I loved them. I thought this was just a love story around the war, but it's so much more. Dear God, Margaret Mitchell knew how to write a book about it all. No holds barred! I have to make a small mention that I was born in Tennessee and it was so weird reading a bit part about Chattanooga (where I live now) in the book. I guess the biggest part was reading about the battle at Chickamauga, GA. I live 20 minutes from the Chickamauga Battlefield in Ga and used to hike it for many years with my dog and my father until things in my life went wrong. I have to say it's a most beautiful place with all of the land, wildlife, monuments, store, a lot of things. It's a lot nicer now that I would think back then during the war. I had this love/hate relationship with Scarlett. I thought she was a spoiled, selfish person and the way she treated people and her own children were appalling. I loved that she was a crude business woman and just got it done. One of her slaves named Pork (who I loved) told her if she was as nice to white people as she was to black folk that the world might like her. But Scarlett didn't care, she said what she wanted and did what she wanted. She didn't want to take care of Melanie when the soldiers were coming. She hated Melanie because she was married to Ashley, the man she always wanted. It was off the rails with all of that with him. Scarlet jumped right on the crazy train with that one and it cost her in the end. But Scarlet stayed with Melanie when she had her baby and got her to safety at Scarlett's home Tara. She took care of everyone in the family.. say what you want.. but -SHE.DID.NOT.LET.THEM.STARVE.--->EXCERPT<---Hunger gnawed at her empty stomach again and she said aloud: "As God is my witness, as God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill--as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."Scarlett hated every moment of taking care of her family. Of worrying about others, but she did it. In a war that was senseless. Margaret Mitchell told everything like it is, laid it out bare for us to cringe and hate and cry. So many things were so wrong, but it was what it was...My favorite character was Melanie. She was such a kind soul, but she had her moments when she got her backbone on and told people like it was, and they respected her because of this kindness. She was married to Ashley and I thought she was going to die in childbirth but she lived through it. It wasn't her time yet. I loved Scarlett's dad a lot - Gerald O'Hara. This is where Scarlett got her temper. But he was a funny man, a good man to his family and people and animals. I loved Mrs. Tarleton, Grandma Fontaine, Mammy, Uncle Peter.. there are so many I can't even name them all and like I said before some were only in the book a few times. Scarlett married twice and had two children. She didn't care for children and she didn't care for her husbands, she just did what she did to get what she needed. I had a love/hate relationship with Rhett too. Back in those days it was okay but he was a way older man taking up or trying to take up with a younger girl in Scarlett. But it wasn't just that he just got on my nerves with is comings and goings. I think if he really loved Scarlett for that long he should have told her and wooed her and then maybe things would have turned out differently. I have no idea. Scarlett did have a child with Rhett as well. Things were all good in the home for a while and then things went way down hill....... It was sad to read, hard to read. I wish the ending was different, but it wasn't. It was an extremely sad ending for two different reasons and I won't give those away. I know most people have probably read the book or watched the movie a million times and already know but still. I cried and cried! :-(This is a tremendously heartbreaking book, but I'm so, so glad that I read it! MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
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  • Hannah
    June 25, 2009
    I don't like reviewing overly popular, classic books because let's face it, what more can be said regarding a book that 8,720 Goodreads reviewers haven't already covered, from 1 star through 5 star opinions?So I'll just say that I read this novel for the first time when I was only about 14 years old. And re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it again several times until around age 18. And then I never picked it up again until age 48 (that's 30 years of reading silence for those of you mathamat I don't like reviewing overly popular, classic books because let's face it, what more can be said regarding a book that 8,720 Goodreads reviewers haven't already covered, from 1 star through 5 star opinions?So I'll just say that I read this novel for the first time when I was only about 14 years old. And re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it again several times until around age 18. And then I never picked it up again until age 48 (that's 30 years of reading silence for those of you mathamatically inclined...) Between 18 and 48 is a huge gulf of life and living that might make a re-read a very disasterous endeavor, and I know for a fact that for a few of my GR friends, it was just that, and they regret replacing the youthful memories of this book with more mature ones.I understand their feelings. I wondered if my own would replicate them. I'm glad to say that didn't happen in my case.Not that GwtW is an easy book to digest in this politically correct era. It's hard to convey just how cringe-worthy at times a book written in the 1930's by an American Southern writer about the American South during the Civil War can effect modern sensibilities. You have to read it to believe it. The racism, the language, the attitude is all there in black and white (pardon the pun) and they can't be ignored. Those views, those attitudes existed, and still exist for many in this country and all over the world.I don't condone it, but for me personally, I give most books written before 1960 a little handicap going into them. Not every reader can, and that's OK.The continuing strength of Mitchell's epic novel is in her capturing of a feeling of loss to a period, a people and a place. Some would argue that it's good this era has crumbled into dust, and I'll not argue the point with them. But as a Southerner myself, I have a deep love and appreciation for my place of birth, and understand the pride and loyalty Southerners take in their homeland, because I feel it very much. Mitchell's saga isn't so much the love story of Scarlett and Rhett as it appeared to me as a teen. The real love story is Mitchell's to her homeland. Warts and all. The writing is so lovely, so authenic. The feelings and expressions ring true. The character of Scarlett O'Hara is, IMO, one of the best drawn character studies ever penned. I used to hate her as a teen, but as an adult I found myself cheering her on in places, and understanding her selfish motivations more then I could have ever imagined. What that says about me I don't know, but Scarlett is a fighter, and a survivor, and I've got to admire her tenacity if not her moral fiber.This book is a masterpiece. A flawed, uncomfortable masterpiece. I'm glad I re-read it.***So after saying I didn't like writing reviews for books like this, I went and wrote one.Just call me 8,721...
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  • Madeline
    December 26, 2010
    There's an episode of The Simpsons where Apu, the Indian owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, takes the American citizenship test. Apu, who throughout the episode has demonstrated a much stronger grasp of American history than any of the American-born characters, is at the oral exam stage of the test. His examiner, a bored white guy, is asking the questions, and the following exchange occurs:"BORED WHITE GUY: Okay, last question - what was the cause of the Civil War? APU: Actually, there were numerous caus There's an episode of The Simpsons where Apu, the Indian owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, takes the American citizenship test. Apu, who throughout the episode has demonstrated a much stronger grasp of American history than any of the American-born characters, is at the oral exam stage of the test. His examiner, a bored white guy, is asking the questions, and the following exchange occurs:"BORED WHITE GUY: Okay, last question - what was the cause of the Civil War? APU: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between abolitionists and anti-abolitionists, economic factors both domestic and international contributed - BORED WHITE GUY: Just say slavery, okay?APU: Slavery it is, sir!"That series of quotes, I think, perfectly reflects my experience leading up to reading Gone With the Wind. Like most children who attended a public school above the Mason-Dixon line, my first exposure to the Civil War was basically, "The South wanted to keep slaves, and the North knew that was wrong, so we went to war to free the slaves. And then we won, and everything was happy." At the other end of the spectrum is Margaret Mitchell, who grew up listening to Confederate veterans tell stories about the war, but she didn't learn that the South had actually lost until she was ten years old. So obviously, her epic story about the Civil War was going to paint a very different picture than the one I had grown up thinking was correct. Going into the book, I was steeling myself for lots of good old fashioned racism, and was surprised at what I found. Yes, the characters are racist. But they're all racist - black and white - and what interested me most was that class, rather than race, seemed to matter most. Scarlett and the other white characters hate lower-class whites a hell of a lot more than they hate blacks, and the blacks themselves draw very distinct class lines. Pork, the O'Hara's butler, looks down not only on poor whites but also on black characters of a lower social standing than himself. During the war, when only a few loyal slaves have remained at Tara, Scarlett has to farm the land herself and wants Pork to help plow. He refuses, stating angrily that plowing is field hand's work and he has never been a field hand. It is important to note that at this point they are starving, and farming is their only chance at food. There's a lot of starving going on in this book, and a lot of fear and unhappiness. When I started the book, I got a little frustrated with how it seemed to be dragging - it takes over 100 pages for the O'Hara's to arrive at the Twelve Oaks barbecue - but as I kept reading, and the novel plunged deeper and deeper into war-torn despair, I realized why Mitchell had spent so much time introducing these characters and their happy, easy pre-war lives: once the war starts, there is not a single truly happy moment for the rest of the book. Once all the men ride away from the barbecue to volunteer to fight, all that comes next is 800 pages of starvation and fear and death and sadness. We need those detailed descriptions of the plantations, the clothes, the food, the luxury, so we can understand how much Scarlett and her friends have lost. Near the middle of the book, when Scarlett is going barefoot and stealing food to keep from starving, we understand her longing when she thinks back to her life before the war, because we remember reading this description of the Twelve Oaks barbecue: "The long trestled picnic table, covered with the finest of the Wilkes' linen, always stood under the thickest shade, with the backless benches on either side; and chairs, hassocks and cushions from the house were scattered about the glade for those who did not fancy the benches. At a distance great enough to keep the smoke away from the guests were the long pits where the meat cooked and the huge iron wash-pots from which the succulent odors of barbecue sauce and Brunswick stew floated." We get only this brief, wonderful glimpse of the luxurious life these people were living, and then the war starts and everything goes straight to hell, like an 1800's version of the The Road:"The gray troops passed by empty mansions, deserted farms, lonely cabins with doors ajar. Here and there some lone woman remained with a few frightened slaves, and they came to the road to cheer the soldiers, to bring buckets of water for the thirsty men, to bind up the wounds and bury their dead in their own family burying ground. But for the most part the sunny valley was abandoned and desolate and the untended crops stood in parching fields."The war destroyed not only a region, but an entire way of life for thousands of people, and you can see Margaret Mitchell's mourning for this lost era in every page. "They looked the same but different. What was it? Was it only that they were five years older? No, it was something more than the passing of time. Something had gone out of them, out of their world. Five years ago, a feeling of security had wrapped them all around so gently they were not even aware of it. In its shelter they had flowered. Now it was gone and with it had gone the old thrill, the old sense of something delightful and exciting just around the corner, the old glamour of their way of living. ...An ageless dignity, a timeless gallantry still clung about them and would cling until they died but they would carry undying bitterness to their graves, a bitterness too deep for words. They were a soft-spoken, fierce, tired people who were defeated and would not know defeat, broken yet still standing determinedly erect." This review is getting long-winded, and I've only started to explain everything about this book that makes it 5 stars. Aside from the history, the tone, the description, the general epic-ness of this epic, there are also the characters. And good lord. I could write another review entirely devoted to all the characters and why they are awesome despite being the last people you'd want to be in stuck in a room with, but I'll shorten it to a few characters. Scarlett: Her transformation alone, from innocent flirt to flinty miser, is amazing in itself, but she's a powerful character no matter what stage she happens to be in. That being said, I hate hate hated her - I hated her shallowness, I hated her "unanalytical" mind, I hated her stupid crush on stupid useless Ashely, and she was so astoundingly unobservant throughout the book that it was all I could do not to scream at the pages. She was a great character, but that doesn't mean I have to like her.Ashely: Christ, what a schmuck. Mammy: The only character in the book I'd actually enjoy sitting down with. She had all the other character's best qualities, and none of their glaring faults. She had Melanie's grace, Ashely's kindness, Scarlett's strength, and Rhett's survival instincts. Mammy rocked my world. Melanie: I kept going back and forth, switching between "she's the dumbest person ever" to "she's the best person in this book." I still can't really be sure where I stand on Melanie. I would want her on my side, but like Scarlett, I might want to slap her every now and then. Rhett: Oh, Rhett. I so wanted to like him. And I did, when he was telling off the Confederates or Scarlett, when he was putting people in their place, and when he was being the only sensible character in the goddamn book. But then he would talk to Scarlett, and I would be drowned in wave after wave of smirking condescension. He was rude and selfish and had that attitude of "silly woman, your anger is so amusing" that is an instant dealbreaker for me. I suffer from PTTD (Post-Traumatic Twilight Disorder) so whenever I encounter a male character who exhibits even a little bit of condescension and protective instincts towards the womenfolk, I start twitching and picturing Robert Pattinson's ugly face simpering "I like to watch you sleep", and then I have to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the shakes stop. S ultimately, my verdict on Rhett was that he could go fuck himself and wipe that stupid smirk off his face.
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  • Stephanie
    September 24, 2014
    5+++ Bright and Shining stars! Beautifully written, heart wrenching, epic! What can I possibly say about Gone with the Wind that has not been said before? I can't over emphasize how much I truly enjoyed reading this book. This has been one of my favorite movies for years, and I am somewhat ashamed that it took me so long to read the book. Better late than never!!The book is grittier than the movie and offers so much more in the way of color around the characters and the setting. In fact, certai 5+++ Bright and Shining stars! Beautifully written, heart wrenching, epic! What can I possibly say about Gone with the Wind that has not been said before? I can't over emphasize how much I truly enjoyed reading this book. This has been one of my favorite movies for years, and I am somewhat ashamed that it took me so long to read the book. Better late than never!!The book is grittier than the movie and offers so much more in the way of color around the characters and the setting. In fact, certain characters are omitted from the movie, such as Archie, who was quite interesting.The story is set in Georgia starting right before the Civil War and finishing during the Reconstruction Period. I'm not going to summarize the plot because most already know..... Key themes:* Prosperity and old-time customs of the South pre-war to ...*Devastation that these once prosperous families face in the War and Reconstruction periods * Love and survival and loss. * Friendship and hatred.What I liked best about the book:* Beautiful descriptive writing - loved how Tara came alive, vivid descriptions of the war. Envisioned the South before the War with its elegance, wealth, and charm. Loved how the social events came alive.* Well-developed, believable, and complex characters - in general, characters were like normal people with some "good" and some "bad" traits. Loved and at times loved to hate Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley. Most enjoyed Mammy throughout! Melanie may have been an exception to this, as she mainly had good traits, but I loved her (even though sometimes I wanted to kick her). Mr. O'Hara was funny and well depicted. I could go on and on about the characters, but I won't.* Engaging plot that made me want to quickly turn pages (but had to take a breath and savor the wonderful writing....) So, no section for "what I liked least about the book" because .... I enjoyed it all. If it were half the size, then I may have read it sooner.... However, I loved every page and don't imagine it would be more enjoyable (convinced would be less enjoyable) with any parts edited out....Key Learning from the book:Being a Northerner and quite accepting of all individuals as equals in modern times, I have always felt that the Civil War was black or white -- right or wrong. (And the North was right!!). Reading this story from the POV of the South, I feel like there may be shades of gray (as with most things in life). Yes, slavery and equality is still black and white to me (and the book didn't switch me to the side of the South).... However, the behavior of the Northern soldiers to non-military was shameful. Additionally, the Carpetbaggers and the Scalawags that came South after the War to better themselves financially seem much more horrific than when I read about this topic in school. Favorite Quotes:“After all, tomorrow is another day!” The hope that this may inspire is huge. Especially, given the context of the experiences that lead to these words....“Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it's no worse than it is.” How true this is under any times and circumstances!“I wish I could care what you do or where you go but I can't... My dear, I don't give a damn.” Made me cry... how tragic, (view spoiler)[ when Scarlett finally realized that she loved Rhett (and was done with feelings for Ashley) that Rhett was done with her... (hide spoiler)].Just for fun: Link to 10 things you may not know about the book from Mental Floss Fun Facts I strongly recommend this book to readers of Classics or Historical Fiction. Also, to anyone who has seen and loved the movie, but is somewhat daunted by the density of the story. Although Gone with the Wind is a classic, it is an "easy" / enjoyable read!!! I am going to re-read this in the next year or two!
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  • Lina
    March 8, 2012
    Before I give my opinion about this classic novel let me make a few things clear. This book certainly has a lot of literary value. It is well written, the characters, are for the most part, interesting and Mitchell certainly breathed life into her characters. They feel like people and the plot, while it goes on for ages, it constructed well and by the end you feel like you have been satisfied in terms of a character arc.Okay, now that that's done: I hate this book. I hate the characters (except Before I give my opinion about this classic novel let me make a few things clear. This book certainly has a lot of literary value. It is well written, the characters, are for the most part, interesting and Mitchell certainly breathed life into her characters. They feel like people and the plot, while it goes on for ages, it constructed well and by the end you feel like you have been satisfied in terms of a character arc.Okay, now that that's done: I hate this book. I hate the characters (except Melanie), I hate the story and I hate everything this book became and contributed to the glorification of the Antebellum south. I found this book painful to read and riddled with stereotypes that made me cringe. It is strange that for all the people who told me how amazing this book is, not a single person brought up how the Civil War was treated in the novel. Everyone just love Scarlett and her star-crossed blah-blah with Rhett.As for Miss Scarlett O' Hara? Well I ended up writing a whole thing about her and I put some sections of that in this review because I felt cheated with her character. Everyone told me how amazing she was and everything like that, but what I found in the book was very different.“Some day I’m going to do and say everything I want to do and say, and if people don’t like it I don’t care”. This is what young Scarlett O’Hara declares as she is forced to eat and listen as her Mammy tells her that men desire silly wives. Lines such as these create an image of Scarlett as one of literature’s earliest feminist and progressive female leads. Her ambition and desires, which are counter to her delicate Southern upbringing, create the image of a strong, independent woman. However this is an illusion. I felt like this entire novel was telling me that Scarlett o' Hara is a horrible person and should stop trying to be strong.Scarlett is most certainly a protagonist of great emotional passion and ferocity. She is certainly capable of many things —er business savvy which managed to save Tara from destitution. However Scarlett is not idealized, but due to value dissonance and the problem of trying to place the title of “feminist” on any female protagonist, she has become an icon which goes against the message of the book, imo. Scarlett may have Tara and her few slaves, but she has nothing else. Her parents are dead, her sisters loathe her, she has no relationship with her living children and the only people who ever loved her truly (Melanie and Rhett), are dead or have abandoned her. Before her great revelation she had poured her emotional reservoir into Ashley, but now even that is lost to her. Scarlett is a failure by the end of the novel. In addition to that, the biggest issue with calling Scarlett a feminist heroine is her dislike of women in general. She viewed all women (save for Ellen and eventually Melanie) as her rivals and enemies. She looks down at other women and criticizes their looks in a cruel way like “a clump of fat crows”. Scarlett sees her sex as something to be used as manipulation and that is all. Throughout the book her sense of superiority lingers on to everyone she views beneath her, especially women. If there is any character who shows any sense of female comradely it is Melanie. Despite people constantly bombarding her with gossip about Scarlett, especially where Ashley is concerned, Melanie treats Scarlett as a loyal sister. After Frank dies, Rhett and Belle (a prostitute) help save Ashley from an altercation with the police Melanie treats Belle with respect despite her occupation. Belle assures Melanie that, “if you ever see me on the street, you—you don’t have to speak to me. I’ll understand” but Melanie responds, “I shall be proud to speak to you. Proud to be under obligation to you. I hope—I hope we meet again.”Melanie is the unsung heroine of Gone with the Wind, who, despite conforming to many of the ideals of the Southern Belle ideal, manages to be a kind, strong and compelling character. Due to the narration being framed around Scarlett, readers might be tempted to simply hate Melanie due to her naïveté. Yet, that is what makes Melanie different from Scarlett. One woman manipulated and hated another for the love of a man, where another one loved and cared out of the kindness of her heart.
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  • Roya
    October 3, 2016
    As readers, we have the wonderful advantage of perspective. We can empathise with characters because we know how they think and feel and we're touched by it. My dad is a cinephile and despite never having read the book, has seen Gone with the Wind multiple times. Based on this, he views Scarlett as selfish and spoilt, when she's actually so much more than that. I enjoyed the film very much, but I wish adaptations wouldn't have to downplay characters so. Despite all of this, I love movie-Scarlett As readers, we have the wonderful advantage of perspective. We can empathise with characters because we know how they think and feel and we're touched by it. My dad is a cinephile and despite never having read the book, has seen Gone with the Wind multiple times. Based on this, he views Scarlett as selfish and spoilt, when she's actually so much more than that. I enjoyed the film very much, but I wish adaptations wouldn't have to downplay characters so. Despite all of this, I love movie-Scarlett. Vivien Leigh is Scarlett O'Hara.-------------------------------------I convinced my mom to give this a go. You can read her review here. We're hoping to watch the movie soon, albeit it won't be in a single sitting. Actually, even if something were an hour long, we wouldn't see it in one sitting.-------------------------------------Next Tuesday I'll be travelling to Santiago. Hardly ever do I make a dent in a book while on holiday, but I always bring one anyway. I got this on my Kindle a little over a week ago to curb my in-flight boredom. I didn't know anything about it until I started reading. The story begins on a plantation in Georgia in the 1860s where we are introduced to our femme fatale, Scarlett O'Hara. All the boys love her, but she doesn't care about them. Ashley Wilkes is the only one for her. When she hears that he's going to get married, she naturally decides to profess her undying love to him at a party to win him over. When he denies her, she becomes angry and smashes a vase only to discover that their conversation wasn't so private after all. A man named Rhett Butler has been quietly chuckling in the room over her outburst. What an utter cad!For the sake of those who aren't familiar with the story, I won't give any more of it away. All of that is essentially the backbone of what is to take place in this decent-sized tome. Of the many themes in this book, a Southern way of life is one of the most prominent. Slavery is unfortunately a part of that. At one point there's a heated conversation between Scarlett and some Yankee women. One of the women asks Scarlett how to find a new nurse to look after her children. By the end of it I couldn't help but raise my brows and wonder if all the Confederates were as bad as we make them out to be. "My nurse, my Bridget, has gone back North. She said she wouldn't stay another day down here among the 'naygurs' as she calls them. And the children are just driving me distracted! Do tell me how to go about getting another nurse. I do not know where to apply.""That shouldn't be difficult," said Scarlett and laughed. "If you can find a darky just in from the country who hasn't been spoiled by the Freedmen's Bureau, you'll have the best kind of servant possible. Just stand at your gate here and ask every darky woman who passes and I'm sure-"The three women broke out into indignant outcries."Do you think I'd trust my babies to a black nigger?" cried the Maine woman. "I want a good Irish girl.""I'm afraid you'll find no Irish servants in Atlanta," answered Scarlett, coolness in her voice. "Personally, I've never seen a white servant and I shouldn't care to have one in my house. And," she could not keep a slight note of sarcasm from her words, "I assure you that darkies aren't cannibals and are quite trustworthy.""Goodness, no! I wouldn't have one in my house. The idea!""I wouldn't trust them any farther than I could see them and as for letting them handle my babies...""It's strange you should feel that way when when it was you all who freed them.""Lor'! Not I dearie," laughed the Maine woman. "I never saw a nigger till I came South last month and I don't care if I never see another. They give me the creeps. I wouldn't trust one of them..." Another strong theme in this book is loss. After the war many people cannot let go of losing their way of life and are winnowed out. The people who are brave and smart naturally survive.For those who've read this book and are curious, my favourite character is Rhett followed by Melanie. The characters in this book are very believable and easy to relate to. Although this is considered a romance, it's not a typical one. There are times of elation and triumph, but there are bittersweet and heartbreaking moments as well. I don't think it could have been done any better.This may not have the kind of writing style that will sweep you off your feet (see here), but it does prove that story is and will always be king. The last time that I read a book nearly as good as this was over a year ago and it was The Picture of Dorian Gray. I don't think I've ever read something of this length so rapidly. I can see myself re-reading this and savouring it. There's something immensely special and enchanting about this that I will always treasure. I haven't seen the film yet, but I'll make sure to update when I do.
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  • l a i n e y
    March 29, 2016
    "But I could have been nicer to him""You could have been - if you'd been somebody else" Well, that about sums it up.I am sorry to say this, I do not mean to sound cruel, I understand their considerable stress, but most of the main characters in this book were just plain stupid. Some might not be overtly so but they were in terrible need of serious self-awareness, at any rate.I can't phantom how this was called a love story.. (view spoiler)[If I have to label it anything it would soon be called "But I could have been nicer to him""You could have been - if you'd been somebody else" Well, that about sums it up.I am sorry to say this, I do not mean to sound cruel, I understand their considerable stress, but most of the main characters in this book were just plain stupid. Some might not be overtly so but they were in terrible need of serious self-awareness, at any rate.I can't phantom how this was called a love story.. (view spoiler)[If I have to label it anything it would soon be called a tragey. (hide spoiler)] Bleak fates all around.Another unphantomable incident - I actually finished this mammoth of a book eventhough it frustrated me especially the second half. I started the book adoring Scarlette, then intriqued by Rhett....Rhett, who knew exactly how not to handle Scarlett (view spoiler)[then proceeded to expect her to declare her undying love for him while flaunting his infidelity in her face.What a genius mind you have Rhett (!)(hide spoiler)]
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  • Aoibhínn
    July 20, 2011
    I've had a lot of trouble writing this review. I've been writing and re-writing this review over the last few months, and I just couldn't get it perfect. I've finally come to realise no review I can ever write will do this novel justice so I am just going to post it as it is.Set in the state of Georgia, before, during and after the American Civil War, Gone With the Wind tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a vain, spoiled, over-privileged daughter of a plantation owner, from her days as a carefre I've had a lot of trouble writing this review. I've been writing and re-writing this review over the last few months, and I just couldn't get it perfect. I've finally come to realise no review I can ever write will do this novel justice so I am just going to post it as it is.Set in the state of Georgia, before, during and after the American Civil War, Gone With the Wind tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a vain, spoiled, over-privileged daughter of a plantation owner, from her days as a carefree southern belle, through the destruction of the war, and the terror of reconstruction that followed. The world Scarlett grew up in is destroyed and gone forever, but she is brave, strong and determined. Scarlett's a fighter and she is prepared to do whatever she has to do to survive the war and protect her family and their plantation at Tara. She faces difficult, challenging and, at times, life threatening situations. Along the way, Scarlett meets Rhett Butler. He is a rich, charming, handsome rogue – the perfect match for Scarlett if only she wasn't blinded by her infatuation for her married neighbour Ashley Wilkes. Refusing to be second best no longer, Rhett leaves Scarlett just as she realises that she simply only wanted Ashley because she couldn't have him and it is Rhett that she's truly loved all along. Scarlett vows to win him back. The reader is left to draw their own conclusion about the fate of Scarlett and Rhett. The novel is beautifully well-written, enthralling, gripping historical drama and romance story with a well-researched and developed plot and well-crafted and original characters. I loved all the brilliant dialogue between Rhett and Scarlett. I swear you could literally see the sparks flying off the pages between these two. It is by far one of the greatest romantic pieces of literature ever written. The novel is extremely historically accurate and incredibly vivid. The depth of the novel actually surprised me. It made me feel like I was actually there in Old South in the 1860's during the Civil War. Beware, there is a lot of racism in this novel and it can be quite shocking at times. But I think that just makes the story more realistic, after all that's how it was like back in the mid 19th Century. When you're writing a historical fiction novel, you can't change history no matter how much you may want to. If Margaret Mitchell had sugar-coated the racism, it would have ruined the story.All of Margaret Mitchell's characters are extremely vivid and complex. They become alive to you and remain with you long after you've finished the book. The main characters of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are flawed but the author succeeds in making you fall in love with them in spite of this. If you must know, I actually loved the fact that Scarlett wasn't one of those absolutely perfect main characters you see in a lot of novels. The fact that she had a lot of faults and weaknesses made her feel more real to me. As the story progresses, you begin to understand how the experiences Scarlett goes through during the war have radically changed Scarlett's perception of the world. By the end of the novel, I sympathised with Scarlett and admired the strong courageous person she had become. Both Scarlett and Rhett have become my favourite literary characters. Gone With the Wind is one of those novels you can barely put down. The novel is over one thousand pages long. I'm actually happy that it was so long because as I read page after page, I didn't want the story to end. The book is incredibly engrossing. Beware, it will take over your life. You won't want to put it down and you'll have no interest in doing anything apart from reading this book. I think Margaret Mitchell was an incredibly talented author and it's a shame that she died so young in a car accident and never got a chance to write a sequel (or any other novels for that matter). Of all the books that I've read in my entire life this is my ultimate favourite! I don't think I can express how much I love this novel. It definitely deserved the Pulitzer Prize it won in 1937. I'd give Gone With the Wind far more than five stars if I could! It deserves at least 20!
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  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    March 14, 2015
    Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchellعنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نوشته: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: حسن شهباز، مشخصات نشر: تهران، امیرکبیر، موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1336، در دو جلد، در 1460 ص؛ چاپ شوم 1357؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ چاپ نهم و دهم 1387؛ مترجم: شبنم کیان ؛ تهران، پانوس، 1363، در سه جلد، چاپ دیگر: تهران، گلدیس، 1368، در دو جلد؛ چاپ یازدهم 1374؛ شابک: 9646512062؛ چاپ بعدی 1377؛ روایت عشق یک دختر جنوبی در خلال جنگ داخلی آمریکاست؛ اسکارلت بزرگترین دختر جرالد اوهارا صاحب مزرعه ی پنبه تارا، با فهمیدن اعلام نامزدی Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchellعنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نوشته: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: حسن شهباز، مشخصات نشر: تهران، امیرکبیر، موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1336، در دو جلد، در 1460 ص؛ چاپ شوم 1357؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ چاپ نهم و دهم 1387؛ مترجم: شبنم کیان ؛ تهران، پانوس، 1363، در سه جلد، چاپ دیگر: تهران، گلدیس، 1368، در دو جلد؛ چاپ یازدهم 1374؛ شابک: 9646512062؛ چاپ بعدی 1377؛ روایت عشق یک دختر جنوبی در خلال جنگ داخلی آمریکاست؛ اسکارلت بزرگ‌ترین دختر جرالد اوهارا صاحب مزرعه ی پنبه تارا، با فهمیدن اعلام نامزدی و ازدواج اشلی ویلکز پسر مالک مزرعه مجاور با دختر خاله‌ اش ملانی همیلتون، به فکر ابراز علاقه به اشلی می‌افتد چون فکر می‌کند اشلی به خاطر ناامید شدن از او می‌خواهد ازدواج کند. در یک میهمانی در خانه ویلکز، اسکارلت به اشلی اظهار علاقه می‌کند؛ ولی اشلی عنوان می‌کند که می‌خواهد با دخترخاله اش ملانی ازدواج کند. رت باتلر ماجراجوی خوش قیافه‌ ای که شاهد صحبت‌ها بوده‌ از جسارت اسکارلت خوشش می‌آید. جنگ شمال و جنوب آمریکا آغاز می‌شود و اسکارلت، با چارلز برادر ملانی ازدواج می‌کند، ولی چارلز در اردوی آموزشی درمی‌گذرد. اسکارلت به آتلانتا پیش ملانی می‌رود و در آنجا دوباره با رت باتلر که حالا دلال ارتش است و پول کلانی به جیب می‌زند روبه رو می‌شود. وقتی آتلانتا مورد حمله نیروهای شمالی قرار می‌گیرد رت به اسکارلت و ملانی که تازه زایمان کرده، کمک می‌کند تا از شهر بگریزند؛ و آنگاه به جنوبی‌ها می‌پیوندد. وقتی اسکارلت به تارا می‌رسد، مادرش مرده و پدرش دچار جنون شده‌ است؛ و مسئولیت نگهداری مزرعه بر دوش اسکارلت می‌افتد. اشلی از جنگ برمی‌گردد، و در کنار اسکارلت زندگی می‌کند. شمالی‌ها برای مزرعه مالیات سنگینی وضع می‌کنند؛ و اسکارلت برای نگهداری مزرعه، و تهیه ی پول به شهر می‌رود؛ و با فرانک کندی نامزد خواهرش ازدواج می‌کند. پس از مرگ فرانک، اسکارلت اداره ی کارخانه چوببری او را به عهده می‌گیرد. سرانجام رت باتلر از اسکارلت تقاضای ازدواج می‌کند؛ و با هم ازدواج می‌کنند؛ ولی توجه مداوم او به اشلی، ازدواجشان را به جدایی می‌کشاند. پس از مرگ دختر خردسالشان رت برای همیشه اسکارلت را ترک می‌کند؛ و اسکارلت که بالاخره درمییابد که اشلی هیچگاه او را دوست نداشته؛ و علاقه او به اشلی بیشتر یک رؤیای کودکانه بوده‌ است به مزرعه پنبه تارا باز می‌گردد؛ تا به زمین نزدیک باشد و از آن نیروی حیات بگیرد. ا. شربیانی
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  • Judy
    June 5, 2008
    Having a hard time slogging through the blatant racism in this book. Times sure have changed. And thank God for that.Okay, nearly forty years since I first read it, the epic love story set against the brutality of the Civil War still manages to sweep me up. But the racism still wrankles, especially the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan--southern gentlemen had no other choice. They weren't bullies terrorizing people because of the color of their skin, they were protecting their women from the rap Having a hard time slogging through the blatant racism in this book. Times sure have changed. And thank God for that.Okay, nearly forty years since I first read it, the epic love story set against the brutality of the Civil War still manages to sweep me up. But the racism still wrankles, especially the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan--southern gentlemen had no other choice. They weren't bullies terrorizing people because of the color of their skin, they were protecting their women from the rapacious appetites of the newly freed slaves.Mitchell says more than once that the blacks were like children and couldn't manage without whites taking care of them. There's a part in the book where she describes how Scarlett's mother Ellen would evaluate the Negro children, selecting the best and the brightest to be house servants. The others would be taught a trade and if they failed at that, they become field hands. As the best and the brightest of the race, the house servants were the ones who stayed with their masters, apparently aware of their own limitations.And yet, this is a book about a strong woman who actively defies the strictures for women of her time. Scarlett runs Tara, she becomes successful at business, she bosses grown men around, even though she was taught that a lady must hide her intelligence and always appear subservient and helpless around men. Since they had little if any rights, that was the only recourse for women at the time.I find it ironic that Ms. Mitchell never realized that just as the women were playing the role of fragile creatures subservient to the fathers and husbands, their black slaves were doing the same thing--hiding their abilities and intelligence because they had no other choice.Something else, my daughter is reading GWTW and commented "Everybody dies." I explained that during the Civil War, 800,000 men died and just like the Tarletons, families lost all their sons. A good reason not to go to war.
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  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    August 14, 2011
    “Perhaps - I want the old days back again and they'll never come back, and I am haunted by the memory of them and of the world falling about my ears. ” The civil war. A beautiful woman at the height of selfishness. The love and death of home and land. Society wound up so tight an improper wink could undo you. Destruction, tragedy, political corruption, truth, lies, life, death, love, loss, big changes, new beginnings, intermingled with never ending cycles. All of this helps make Gone with the wi “Perhaps - I want the old days back again and they'll never come back, and I am haunted by the memory of them and of the world falling about my ears. ” The civil war. A beautiful woman at the height of selfishness. The love and death of home and land. Society wound up so tight an improper wink could undo you. Destruction, tragedy, political corruption, truth, lies, life, death, love, loss, big changes, new beginnings, intermingled with never ending cycles. All of this helps make Gone with the wind what it is: an epic novel that will never be forgotten, that will forever be loved, cherished, and discovered with delight by new readers for ages.I am one of those new readers. In my early thirties I’ve finally read the rather intimidating sized tomb that speaks of southern charm twisted with the civil war and all the tragedies that surrounded it. Of course I’ve seen the film – several times – and I always loved the story. Scarlett O’Hara is far from the typical heroine. She’s easier to hate than to enjoy, her thought processes are understandable but leave the reader cold. Her motivations are for the sake of survival, but her climb toward the top still leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Even before she does what she has to because she ‘has to’, she’s not likeable. Her spoiled demeanor and enjoying being the main twinkle in every man’s eye at the barbecue, taking away boyfriends from all the women without a twinge of conscience, makes it easier to sympathize with the rest than with her. Margaret Mitchell did a unique thing by taking an unlikeable woman and making it her story. It’s sort of a destructive, moral lesson tale that you can’t look away from, a literary train wreck impossible to ignore. While the movie had her spawn one beautiful, endearing child, the book showed her to have three kids instead. One from Charles, one from Frank, and finally one from Rhett. She was a horrible mother and some of the more heart wrenching scenes was poor Wade trying to psychologically adapt during the war. Ella is rarely mentioned and holds no scenes at all (unusual). I was especially irked when Scarlett was told a terrible tragedy by someone trying to help her, who sympathized with her plight, but was impatient through the tragedy to be on with her business. Even if Scarlett isn’t likeable with her thoughts, her motivations, and her outlook, she’s still fun as hell to read about. “It was not often that she was alone like this and she did not like it. When she was alone she had to think and, these days, thoughts were not so pleasant.”Rhett shines as a fascinating leading man. When he’s on the page, the paper almost shines. He steals the scenes and his dialogue especially amused me. Some say they are both evil in reviews and neither deserve happiness; I disagree. To me Rhett did have heart, he did have feelings, but he still enjoyed shunning a society which shunned him first. He spoke from intellectual insight and common sense, not letting falsely inflated southern pride puff him up to rush into a battle that had such poor odds. He didn’t mind speaking his mind, no matter how unpopular that mindset was. He did eagerly make money off societies failing, and without apology reveled in the riches he made from the war where it could be made. Still, he clearly hated the war, he warned against it, he hated the tragedy sowed. He was respectful to Mammie and her role in Scarlett’s life, he loved his daughter, he genuinely loved the spoiled woman his heart became cursed by.Gone with the Wind is over 1000 pages, and inside those pages the author manages to somehow cram an amazing amount of events while expertly shuffling intriguing inner dialogue and emotional moments that soared without growing boring, dull, or lagging the tale. Her writing style is easily absorbed, she had a natural knack with dialogue, and the scenes merged together flawlessly. She took care to give different insights during the civil war from all sides that I hadn’t considered before. “No, my dear, I'm not in love with you, no more than you are with me, and if I were, you would be the last person I'd ever tell. God help the man who ever really loves you. You'd break his heart, my darling, cruel, destructive little cat who is so careless and confident she doesn't even trouble to sheathe her claws.” The ending is haunting. It was the suiting ending that fit the story, summed up the moral lesson, brought to head the tragic tale of a spoiled main character reaping her spoils. But…even so, the romantic in me yearns for a happy ending she doesn’t deserve. I think it’s mainly because my heart laid with Rhett and it was such a bitter turnout. The ending speech and exchange with the light dying from his eyes shook me. In interviews Mitchell was asked if they reunited - in one version she said no, in another she said maybe. Scarlett's determination was fierce, but Rhett's mind was also all his own. The child’s death was painful. The war was bitter and horrible and all that war really is. Society was so twisted and strange back then, which I find with most historical novels. They would hate to be born in our age, and I thank God I wasn’t born in theirs.“Now she had a fumbling knowledge that, had she ever understood Ashley, she would never have loved him; had she ever understood Rhett, she would never have lost him.” Gone with the Wind didn’t disappoint me at all. It’s impossible to sum up what makes this book so special. I included just some of the traits and events, but there are so many more, the characters being so rich they easily come to life in the reader’s mind, the tragedy is truly felt, the lessons experienced even if those with a conscience don’t need to experience them. It’s easy to see why this story has become such a legend that holds through the ages. The movie suffered a bit from melodrama, but the book not at all. I can’t recommend the novel highly enough. Sure, she didn't write this during the civil war, but the age in which is was written was antiquated with its moral outlook. Outstanding work by a talented author trying so many different sorts of viewpoints and personalities, especially in such a sheltered age.
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  • Vanessa
    May 10, 2015
    This book. This book. Honestly, I would go as far to say that it is a masterpiece, in its scope, its characterisation, its history, and its story. Never have I been so enthralled in such a long book, to the point where I was never bored and constantly wishing I was reading it when I wasn't able to (damn you work *shakes fist*). And never have I read a near-1000 page novel in such a short space of time! For those of you who haven't seen the film, Gone With the Wind is a sweeping Civil War-era dra This book. This book. Honestly, I would go as far to say that it is a masterpiece, in its scope, its characterisation, its history, and its story. Never have I been so enthralled in such a long book, to the point where I was never bored and constantly wishing I was reading it when I wasn't able to (damn you work *shakes fist*). And never have I read a near-1000 page novel in such a short space of time! For those of you who haven't seen the film, Gone With the Wind is a sweeping Civil War-era drama, coming-of-age tale, and romance. It follows Scarlett O'Hara, the Southern Belle daughter of an Irish immigrant and plantation owner, who has to come into her own and fight for safety and security when her comfortable, gentile life is ripped apart by war. That's all you need to know really, because any more detail than that would probably spoil the book for you.The story itself is tremendous - part historical fiction novel, part character study. I normally dislike books that detail aspects of war/battles/troop movements, but not with this one. I found myself learning something about American history (an area I'm not particularly versed in), whilst following the lives of a group of characters that I completely felt for and cared about, which is a double plus for me.The characterisation is one of the best things about this book. Each and every character is brilliantly portrayed, and the lead characters are so fully rounded that you can barely believe they're fictional - they bounce off the page and overwhelm your thoughts. Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most unlikable characters I have ever read, and I still loved her, because everything she did and said had a purpose. She was well fleshed out and believable, and a real force of nature on the page. Melanie, the picture of gentle sweetness and everything women were meant to be at the time, was another character that had an iron will and real back-bone - never a 'too good to be true' type, she had real 'gumption'. And of course there's Rhett Butler, who appears to stir shit up whenever he likes, but who underneath his bravado and sarcasm has a full and loving heart and a great dedication to the causes and people he believes in.I felt the book was very well written - not because the writing was particularly florid and heart-stopping, but because I felt Mitchell managed to great such a brilliantly technicolor world that I felt like I was there each and every time. I loved every description of every surrounding, drinking it all in like I was watching it on the big screen, and at times I felt moved to tears (in public no less!).And did my having seen the film already take away from this reading experience? Well no. I had seen the film quite a few years ago, so a lot of elements were quite hazy to me, but the book has so much more to provide the consumer than the film in my opinion. Saying that, I will be re-watching the film as soon as I have a spare 4 hours!Now this is not to say that there isn't anything problematic with the novel. There is a great deal of racism, both in content and language, and the role of women is something that is deemed archaic now. The racism within the book affected me more than the role of women, and there times where I couldn't believe what I was reading, but we have to take a step back and remember that this book is set in the 1800s, and not even that, was published in the 1930s. Slavery was a major element of The American Civil War, and this book is told from a Southern perspective, so representation is biased and problematic. In order to be a true representation of the slave-owning classes, it's not surprising that this content is so prevalent, and I felt like it just wouldn't have been believable or historically accurate if this content had been toned down. Just be aware of this if you are particularly sensitive to race issues, but at the end of the day I think most people know what they're getting themselves in for with this story.Honestly, I would recommend this book to everyone. Unlike most long books for me, this book read incredibly easily, and despite the slow pace of the story itself the reading experience wasn't slow and never dragged. I was absolutely captivated from start to finish, and this has immediately gone onto my favourites list. Definitely a book I will re-read for years to come.
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  • Lilly
    February 5, 2008
    I read this book when I was fifteen during a hot, sticky Texas summer. That was more than 10 years ago, and I have read the book at least 3 more times since then, but I can still remember the book's initial impact on me. I remember my journal entries about it and my inability to get the book off my mind long after I'd finished it. I was infatuated. In my U.S. History class a year later, my teacher assigned a paper on some historical topic or other. I hardly remember what the actual assignment wa I read this book when I was fifteen during a hot, sticky Texas summer. That was more than 10 years ago, and I have read the book at least 3 more times since then, but I can still remember the book's initial impact on me. I remember my journal entries about it and my inability to get the book off my mind long after I'd finished it. I was infatuated. In my U.S. History class a year later, my teacher assigned a paper on some historical topic or other. I hardly remember what the actual assignment was, because I asked him if I could write a paper on Gone With the Wind instead. I told him it should be considered a historical novel, and yes, I got what I wanted. Man, I was such a nerd then. I only wish I had kept that paper....So, I was thinking just now of the scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan is arguing with Tom Hanks about Pride and Prejudice, and she proclaims that Elizabeth Bennett is one of the most complex heroines ever written (I can't remember if she calls her THE most complex). I think Scarlett is much more complex than Lizzie. Her evolution throughout the novel is so amazing. She is so one-dimensional in the beginning, before the war and before everything that changes her way of life. Granted, Scarlett is always looking out for number one, and it's part of why I love her character. It is so rich with selfishness, her benevolent deeds always fueled by her own objectives, her baddoings justified by her will to survive. Even her relationship with Rhett is one of the most complex love stories ever written. Since I've read the novel several times, I even went back and noticed each and every time where Rhett was bursting with hesitation, just killing himself as he held back his true feelings for her. She doesn't marry Rhett for love, but her realization at the end that she "must have loved you all along" is so tragic and swollen with regret. I could never understand what she saw in Ashley, who was so weak and stupid and useless. I think this novel was my first introduction to nostalgia, and it ruined me forever. Nostalgia now rules my life, and if I were a book, it would be my central theme.
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  • helen the bookowl
    January 6, 2016
    I don't think I need to say much about this story because most of you will have already read the book or watched the movie. I will say though that this book fascinated me, mostly because of the main character Scarlett O'Hara. She is such a brat and 100% selfish; everything she does, she does to gain her goals; but I loved how she is portrayed (mostly) realistically. Everyone has these dark and twisted thoughts inside, Scarlett just isn't afraid to show it. I did feel, however, that her character I don't think I need to say much about this story because most of you will have already read the book or watched the movie. I will say though that this book fascinated me, mostly because of the main character Scarlett O'Hara. She is such a brat and 100% selfish; everything she does, she does to gain her goals; but I loved how she is portrayed (mostly) realistically. Everyone has these dark and twisted thoughts inside, Scarlett just isn't afraid to show it. I did feel, however, that her character was a bit over the top at times, and I found her actions and thoughts a tiny bit unbelievable. I loved this story and I loved the journey it brought me on. I'm not so sure I loved its length as well as its ending. It's a 1000-page-book and while I appreciated all of the descriptions, I didn't feel like all of them necessarily had to be that long. And about the ending: What I interpret from it is not a message that I necessarily like. I obviously can't tell you what I think the overall message is without spoiling it, but I did feel slightly disappointed with the big finale after having gone through all of these pages and all of the characters' struggles. That's why I ended up giving this epic love story 4 out of 5 stars even though I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to everyone else who has an interest in a passionate love story.
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  • Cindy
    June 30, 2010
    Wherein I attempt to write a review using all the new words I learned whilst reading the book. My made-up-on-the-spot rule is one per sentence, to make it a challenge. (Glossary at end of review.)---------------I hope you won’t look upon my review as mere folderol, but the most interesting things to be said about Gone With the Wind have been said over and over: it’s breathtaking, sweeping, American, but also racist and exacerbating. Everyone needs to read the story of one of literature’s best tr Wherein I attempt to write a review using all the new words I learned whilst reading the book. My made-up-on-the-spot rule is one per sentence, to make it a challenge. (Glossary at end of review.)---------------I hope you won’t look upon my review as mere folderol, but the most interesting things to be said about Gone With the Wind have been said over and over: it’s breathtaking, sweeping, American, but also racist and exacerbating. Everyone needs to read the story of one of literature’s best tragic heroines: Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern hoyden who Mitchell has managed to make complex, despite Scarlett's shallow ways. Scarlett normally has pinchbeck pretensions, even towards people she loves. She could inveigle even the most reluctant of men, just to get her way, particularly in marriage. When the reader watches her associate with carpetbaggers and parvenus, forsaking her friends, it’s hard not to cheer when she gets her just rewards. She’s frequently a hypocrite; she criticizes old County farmers who never manumitted a single slave, yet she complains later about the freed slaves in Atlanta.And then we have Rhett, that dashing scalawag, and the only person who can call Scarlett’s bluffs. He’s a man who has approbation for others with strong morals without pretension. He coolly presents verbal zingers, even against his lover, foe, and termagant. Even though Rhett can be rapacious, he has a strong inner code that endears him to the reader. His sibling-like relationship with Melly, a sometimes pusillanimous character, is especially touching. Finally, there is the South: Tara and Atlanta, belles and gentlemen, slaves and cotton, portieres and hoop-skirts. Scarlett, as representation of the South, is a product of her parents: her Irish immigrant, stentor father Gerald, and kindhearted but stoic stalwart mother, Ellen. And as the South rapidly changes and leaves behind it’s old ways, so too is Scarlett able to adapt to her new positions – and this is what helps the reader somewhat forgive some of her rankling, vituperative ways.It was hard not to become lachrymose at the end of Gone With the Wind – I am mourning the loss of these characters in my life.Word List:* approbation: approval; commendation.* carpetbagger: U.S. History . a Northerner who went to the South after the civil war and became active in Republican politics, especially so as to profiteer from the unsettled social and political conditions of the area during Reconstruction.* folderol: mere nonsense; foolish talk or ideas. Also, falderal* hoyden: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy* inveigle: to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements (usually followed by into)* lachrymose: given to shedding tears readily; tearful.* manumitted: to release from slavery or servitude.* portieres: a curtain hung in a doorway, either to replace the door or for decoration.* pinchbeck: sham, spurious, or counterfeit* parvenu: a person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, importance, position, or the like, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners, dress, surroundings, etc.* pusillanimous: lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid. * rapacious: inordinately greedy; predatory; extortionate* scalawag: 1. a scamp; rascal. 2. U.S. History . a native white Southerner who collaborated with the occupying forces during Reconstruction, often for personal gain.* stentor: a person having a very loud or powerful voice.* termagant: a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman.* vituperative: characterized by the nature of verbal abuse or castigation
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  • Diana
    August 1, 2008
    One book I can honestly say that I enjoyed less than the movie. In Margaret Mitchell's book Scarlett has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I spent the better part of the book wanting to slap her silly.
  • David
    February 1, 2012
    I kind of don't want to give this book 5 stars. I'm going to, because it was epic. Seriously, it's a really, really good read and Margaret Mitchell was a fantastic storyteller. She captures the feel of a lost generation and a bygone world and makes it real, pulsing with life and bittersweet memory and pride. Her characters are wonderfully vivid and complicated and conflicted, larger than life archetypes symbolizing the different elements of society each one represents. And the story is sweeping I kind of don't want to give this book 5 stars. I'm going to, because it was epic. Seriously, it's a really, really good read and Margaret Mitchell was a fantastic storyteller. She captures the feel of a lost generation and a bygone world and makes it real, pulsing with life and bittersweet memory and pride. Her characters are wonderfully vivid and complicated and conflicted, larger than life archetypes symbolizing the different elements of society each one represents. And the story is sweeping and grand. If you've seen the movie and thought it was gorgeous and epic, Hollywood only barely did justice to the source material. Gone With the Wind is deservedly one of the greatest Civil War novels ever written.But... there is a really big "but" here. Here was the astonishing spectacle of half a nation attempting, at the point of bayonet, to force upon the other half the rule of negroes, many of them scarcely one generation out of the African jungles. The vote must be given to them but it must be denied to most of their former owners.There are a few things that Hollywood rather prudently left out in the cinematic version, like the fact that every white male character joins the Klan to oppose Yankees and freedmen in the period of Reconstruction following the war. And this is described in approbatory terms by the narrative viewpoint. In the book, unlike the movie, Scarlett finds Rhett Butler in jail because he killed a black man, for being "insolent" to a white woman. And this is treated as an example of how shocking, lawless, and hateful the Yankees are: they actually put a white man in jail just because he killed a negro!Indeed, throughout the book, Mitchell compares African-Americans to monkeys, apes, and children, describes slavery as a benevolent institution in which kind slave owners took care of their "darkies," and when the slaves are freed, society crumbles because black people are destructive children who can't function without white people telling them what to do. Reconstruction (in which the South learns that yes, you really aren't allowed to own slaves anymore and yes, you really did actually lose the war) is a horror beyond enduring, but we're meant to mourn the lost world of balls and barbecues attended by rich white plantation owners and their loyal, happy slaves.Now, you may be saying, "Well, sure, the characters are racist, of course former Confederates are going to be racist." And that's true, I wouldn't have a problem with the characters being racist and flinging the n-word about. That would be historically accurate. But the authorial viewpoint makes it very clear that Margaret Mitchell shared the POV of her characters. Aided by the unscrupulous adventurers who operated the Freedmen's Bureau and urged on by a fervor of Northern hatred almost religious in its fanaticism, the former field hands found themselves suddenly elevated to the seats of the mighty. There they conducted themselves as creatures of small intelligence might naturally be expected to do. Like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects whose value is beyond their comprehension, they ran wild - either from perverse pleasure in destruction or simply because of their ignorance.Everything about the antebellum South (except its sexism, which is treated with satirical amusement and thoroughly lampooned by Scarlett in everything she does) is glorified and painted in a rosy hue. All sympathy is with rich white Southerners when Reconstruction destroys their world. Their former slaves? The author takes pains to describe how much happier and better off most of them were before being freed. Black characters are all offensive racial stereotypes who are constantly described (not by other characters, but in the narrative POV) as apes, monkeys, and children."Gawdlmighty, Miss Scarlett! Ah's sceered ter go runnin' roun' in de dahk by mahseff! Spose de Yankees gits me?"I don't think you have to be overly "politically correct" to find Gone With the Wind to be a hard book to get through at times, with really glaring evidence of the author's Southern sympathies and unquestioned racism.And yet I'm giving it 5 stars. I suppose in the interests of political correctness I should knock off at least a star, but I have to be honest: I was just enthralled by this long, long novel from start to finish. Even while I was sometimes gritting my teeth at the racist descriptions and all the "Wah, wah, poor plantation owners, the Yankees took away all their slaves, life is so hard for them now!" I wanted the story to keep going and going. I wasn't bored for one moment.The protagonists, of course, are what make this a timeless love story. Note that's "love story," not "romance," because there's very little romantic about Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. What Melanie did was no more than all Southern girls were taught to do: to make those about them feel at ease and pleased with themselves. It was this happy feminine conspiracy which made Southern society so pleasant. Women knew that a land in which men were contented, uncontradicted, and safe in possession of unpunctured vanity was likely to be a very pleasant place for women to live. So from the cradle to the grave, women strove to make men pleased with themselves, and the satisfied men repaid lavishly with gallantry and adoration. In fact, men willingly gave the ladies everything in the world, except credit for having intelligence.Scarlett exercised the same charms as Melanie but with a studied artistry and consummate skill. The difference between the two girls lay in the fact that Melanie spoke kind and flattering words from a desire to make people happy, if only temporarily, and Scarlett never did it except to further her own aims.Scarlett is an evil, conniving drama queen who if she had been raised in a society where women were actually allowed to do things would rule the world, but since she wasn't, she just learned to wrap the world around her finger and tell it to go to hell. She is absolutely the most self-centered character you will ever meet: in her mind, she is literally the center of the world. She sees nothing, understands nothing, and cares about nothing that isn't of direct and immediate importance to herself. And yet within her narrow, blindered view of the world, she's brilliant and adaptive and resourceful and unstoppable. The destruction of that glittering world of ball gowns and parties and negroes waiting on her hand and foot, in which she was raised to expect the world to revolve around her, is harrowingly depicted in her trials during the war and after it, and in her downright heroic accomplishments keeping not only herself but her extended family alive. Never mind that she never actually cares about anyone but herself, she does what has to be done, which is largely why her sister-in-law, poor Melanie Wilkes, believes to her dying day that Scarlett is a wonderful, noble, loving sister, even while the entire time Scarlett hates her and covets Melanie's husband Ashley.Then there is Rhett Butler. The most brilliant Byronic rogue ever. Rhett kicks Heathcliff and Rochester's prissy white English arses. He is a first class scoundrel and anti-hero with a dark, brooding swoon-worthy heart. Because he's ruthlessly pragmatic and mercenary, smart enough to know right from the start that the South has started a fight it can't win, and he makes millions as a "speculator," enduring the wrath and hatred of his peers and gleefully, smugly giving them the finger, and yet in the end he goes off to be a hero. And survives, and becomes a (very, very rich) scoundrel again, and his reputation keeps going up and down throughout the book. He is the only man who is a match for Scarlett, because as he points out, they are so much alike. Like Scarlett, he's awesome and caddish and hateful and the best character ever.Scarlett and Rhett's relationship is so much more tempestuous, conflicted, and compelling than in the movie. Every time they are together, it's like watching two grandmasters drawing knives and sparring. They were truly made for each other, they deserve each other, they could be happy together, and yet how could it end in anything but tears?Oh yeah, I loved this book. Parts of it are so offensive, it will not bear scrutiny to modern sensibilities (it was pretty darn offensive when it was written, even if they did make a toned-down Hollywood movie based on it a few years later), and if you can't stand reading Mark Twain and all his uses of the n-word, then Gone With the Wind will probably make you want to throw the book against a wall (which will make a big dent, because this is a big book). But it is powerful and moving, the drama is grander than any epic fantasy doorstopper, the romance is definitely there, and the characters are fabulous and melodramatic and you care about every one of them, even (especially) the African-American characters, despite Mitchell's offensive treatment of them.This is certainly not the only "problematic" book I've ever enjoyed, but never have I so enjoyed so problematic a book. If it weren't so damned racist, I'd give Gone With the Wind my highest recommendation. If it weren't so damned good, I could castigate it as a well-written but really offensive book whose author misused her gifts. But it's both, so I recommend it, but my recommendation comes with a big fat warning label. There was a land ofCavaliers and Cotton Fieldscalled the Old South...Here in this pretty worldGallantry took its last bow..Here was the last ever tobe seen of Knights and theirLadies Fair, of Master and ofSlave...Look for it only in books,for it is no more than adream remembered.A Civilization gone withthe wind...
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  • Kim
    May 14, 2011
    The first time - and until now the only time - I read this book was in December 1975. I had just finished high school and my best friend persuaded me to read her favourite novel. Every afternoon for about three weeks I went to the local beach for a couple of hours to sunbake and read. From that first experience of reading Gone with the Wind , the novel became associated in my mind with the feeling of sunshine on my skin, the smell of the ocean, the sound of waves breaking on the sand and the sen The first time - and until now the only time - I read this book was in December 1975. I had just finished high school and my best friend persuaded me to read her favourite novel. Every afternoon for about three weeks I went to the local beach for a couple of hours to sunbake and read. From that first experience of reading Gone with the Wind , the novel became associated in my mind with the feeling of sunshine on my skin, the smell of the ocean, the sound of waves breaking on the sand and the sense of freedom which came from having my post-school life stretching before me. Those are the impressions that have stayed with me over the years, rather than anything about the work itself. Coming back to the novel almost thirty-seven years later has been a very different experience and not an altogether positive one. I don’t mean that the experience has been all negative, as there are a number of aspects of the work which I like a lot. Firstly, I think Mitchell deserves praise for creating a heroine who is not a likeable character. Scarlett does have some positive qualities – she is practical and highly resilient – but throughout the novel she remains essentially unsympathetic and, well, stupid. There are few writers who would be prepared to make the central character in a romance quite so unlikeable. Secondly, Mitchell’s account of the Civil War and in particular its affect on the civilian population feels authentic. As I read the chapters dealing with the war, I felt that Mitchell was writing about real and not just imagined experiences. Thirdly, the novel has moved beyond being just a work of fiction. At least in part because of the film adaptation, it’s an intrinsic part of American popular culture and therefore of English-language popular culture. In many ways, Gone with the Wind has become the story of the antebellum south, of the Civil War and of the Reconstruction, as well as an iconic love story. However, on this reading, the negatives I perceived in the work had more of an effect on me than did its positive qualities. While I think that the novel is flawed in a number of ways, I’ll only deal with one of the problems I have with it in this review: the way in which Mitchell deals with racial issues. A novel set in the south dealing with the Civil War and the Reconstruction will naturally have characters who reflect the attitudes towards slaves and slavery held by the white population at that time. Moreover, a novel written in the 1930s will reflect 1930s attitudes towards race. I don’t expect “political correctness” in relation to issues of race in a novel written before – say - the 1960s. However, regardless of whether it is realistic, the layering of 1930s-style racism over 1860s racist attitudes was, for me, disturbing and unpleasant. Mitchell deals with race in two main ways, through the narrative and in the language used to describe the black characters. In the narrative, slave owners (and in particular the O’Hara and the Wilkes families) are depicted as caring philanthropists who treated their slaves with kindness and compassion and never abused them. “Good” slaves remain devoted to their former masters after the war and only “bad” slaves – the supposedly less intelligent field hands – pursue freedom. All “free-issue” former slaves are “trashy”, lazy, shiftless and abusive. According to Ashley Wilkes, slaves were not miserable, so there was no problem with the use of slave labour. Further, according to the narrative, the only reason for the creation of the Ku Klux Klan was to enable gallant southern men to protect their womenfolk from being sexually assaulted by former slaves. There is no acknowledgement in the narrative that the lifestyle and culture to which southerners were so attached was based upon human beings buying and selling other human beings. Nor is there any suggestion that there could possibly have been anything wrong with this as a way of life. In relation to the use of language, black characters are described either as animals or children. For example: Mammy’s face is described as having “the uncomprehending sadness of a monkey’s face” and later as having “the sad bewilderment of an old ape”. Elsewhere in the text, Mammy’s eyes are said to see “with the directness of the savage and the child”. Pork is described as having a face “as forlorn as a lost and masterless hound”. The “lowest and most ignorant” of the former slaves are said to conduct themselves “as creatures of small intelligence might naturally be expected to do” and are described as being “like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects”. Scarlett is outraged when the dignified Uncle Peter is humiliated by Yankee women, but then reflects that these women “did not know that negroes had to be handled gently, as though they were children, directed, praised, petted, scolded”. As I read, the language used to describe black characters kept jumping off the page. Such language was not only used to describe the perspective of white characters, it was also used as part of the narrator’s – or author’s – voice. Even if such language is entirely consistent with 1860s or 1930s attitudes towards race, I found it deeply repellent and it adversely affected my response to the work as a whole. It may be argued that for Mitchell to have questioned the myth of slavery as a benevolent institution or to use different language to describe her black characters would have been anachronistic. However, Mitchell had no difficulty acknowledging the hypocrisy of gender relations in the south and, through the character of Scarlett, she challenged accepted standards of female behaviour. I accept that Mitchell was a product of her environment and that the attitudes towards race demonstrated in the novel are not unexpected. However, it was impossible for me to ignore the racism in the narrative: it was just too pervasive for me to overlook or accept.Many, many readers cherish this novel. I can understand why: the grand sweep of the epic is very compelling. Mitchell created a romantic vision of the antebellum and Civil War south and she peopled the world she created with memorable characters. But I can no longer respond to the novel as an iconic romantic drama. Rather, I see it as a work with some good points but with many flaws. In some ways I wish I hadn’t re-read the novel, as its bright place in my memory has now been dimmed. On the other hand, it’s been a very interesting exercise and an experience I’ve enjoyed sharing with my friend Jemidar (and with Jeannette before she threw in the towel and with Anna until she scooted ahead!). I’ve downgraded my rating from the four stars I gave the book when I originally added it to my GR shelves. This is a compromise between the five stars it deserves for Mitchell’s achievement in writing a story which has such an important place in American popular culture, and one star for those things about the novel which I dislike intensely.
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  • Thomas
    May 1, 2011
    I don't know where to start. It took me exactly two weeks to read this 1,024 page novel, and after all of the heartbreaking loss and squeal-worthy romance these characters have experienced, I can only say that there is a reason why this book is a classic. Even if you're not a fan of romance, drama, historical fiction, etc., you need to read this book. You really do.Above is the tidy little summary of how I feel about Gone With the Wind. Now I'm going to go into further detail about why I loved t I don't know where to start. It took me exactly two weeks to read this 1,024 page novel, and after all of the heartbreaking loss and squeal-worthy romance these characters have experienced, I can only say that there is a reason why this book is a classic. Even if you're not a fan of romance, drama, historical fiction, etc., you need to read this book. You really do.Above is the tidy little summary of how I feel about Gone With the Wind. Now I'm going to go into further detail about why I loved this book - but even after three hours, a workout session, and a delicious smoothie, I'm not sure it will sound right. My heart shattered three times just reading the last fifty pages.Scarlett. Oh, I love this girl. I could write a 10,000 word essay about Scarlett O'Hara, with pleasure. I dare say that Margaret Mitchell's greatest accomplishment with Gone With the Wind is the characterization of Scarlett, the headstrong and haughty protagonist. I can't even begin explaining why I adore her so much without divulging plot details or letting loose a rant the size of the typical "terms and conditions" page seen so often (yet ignored, too). It requires serious skill to make the main character of a book selfish, stubborn, and sometimes completely unlikeable - but Mitchell pulls it off effortlessly.Now, I'm no expert on history or the Civil War, but Mitchell's take on this time period shocked me. She portrayed the South in an entirely different way than I was taught in school, and her grasp of the events that occurred is amazing. How she showed the loving relationships between slaves and their owners, how she cast the KKK as not just a hate group against Negroes, and how she connected Scarlett's moral degradation with the fall of the South - it's simply superb.Though the sheer size of this book may seem intimidating, don't be scared - it's worth every word.*cross-posted from my blog, the quiet voice.
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  • Edward Lorn
    December 25, 2016
    I've gone back and forth on whether or not I would review this. Is there anything else left to say about this book? I've scoured Goodreads, reading every low-star review I could find to get the other side of the story. I wanted to know how anyone could possibly dislike this book. There are some valid points: people who can't get past the racism, some who can't get past the phonetic dialogue, those who disliked every character because there isn't a likable character in the entire novel... well, t I've gone back and forth on whether or not I would review this. Is there anything else left to say about this book? I've scoured Goodreads, reading every low-star review I could find to get the other side of the story. I wanted to know how anyone could possibly dislike this book. There are some valid points: people who can't get past the racism, some who can't get past the phonetic dialogue, those who disliked every character because there isn't a likable character in the entire novel... well, that last one isn't exactly true. I think Melly was solid gold. I, however, love reading about the worst of the worst, especially if those shitheads get what they deserve, and damn near every shithead in this book gets what they deserve... to a point.But I'm not going to talk much about this book in general. I want to tell you why I enjoyed the book so much and about my experience living in the southern united states.I don't understand those reviewers who say that this book paints the south in a positive light. Dafuq? Did we read the same book? Because this novel is not kind to the south. Gone with the Wind finds the meatiest, bloodiest sores on the bloated, wretched corpse that is the southern united states and picks those wounds until they fester. Here we have a novel that describes in detail the stubborn, self-serving, two-faced, bitter nature of born southerners, a people who would rather die than be wrong; an overall uneducated people who wallow in their ignorance like swine in mud. These vain, morally-corrupt souls even have a phrase for how well they hide their hate; it's called "Southern Hospitality". Unless of course you're a straight, white christian, then you're cool. I've lived in central Alabama for going on twenty years. Some of my family members are as country as sausage gravy, sweet tea, denial, and racism. I've grown to know these people and have come to expect the reactions me and my wife get while out in public. My nephew, who claims he's not racist in the least, posted a picture of a black guy on Facebook. The black guy had been beaten by police. His lips and eyes were swollen. The caption said, and I quote, "The Lost Ninja Turtle: Niggatello". When I confronted him and my sister (his mother) about the picture, they said, "We don't see Chelle like that!" Like what, pray tell? Like a "nigger", or like a black person? Mind you, this is my family, people who supposedly love me and my family. The day after we moved to the home we currently live in, my wife had to chase down our dog Ash in our neighbor's front yard. Realizing that an honest-to-god black person had moved in next door to them, they started flying an Aryan Nation flag under their confederate flag. On labor day of 2015, they got together with other like-minded neighbors and parked out in front of our house with these same flags dangling from their pickups' windows. They rev their engines and peel out in front of our house. One has even shot at my dog with a BB gun. The police had this to say, "Those good ol' boys don't mean no harm. They're more scared of you than you are of them." That is the reality of the south. Systemic racism and sexism and the culling of sheep with the aid of tradition and religion. It's just the way things are done because that's the way they've always been done. And this novel shines a light on all of that. Especially how kind these people act to your face, when all the while they're plotting against you. I grew up in California and even lived a few years in Maine, and I have never seen such secretly hateful people as those who live in the south. Hate exists everywhere, don't get me wrong, but nowhere else is there a higher concentration of shady motherfuckers. Northerners will tell you quick how they feel about you. Here, you have to catch them slippin'. My experience is with Alabama and Georgia and some Mississippi. Are there good southerners? Yes. Are they few and far between? For the most part. Unless you're one of them--straight and white and christian--then you shouldn't have a problem. Reading this novel made me realize how pointless it is to expect that, someday, this region might change. Southerners act the same way today as they did back in the 1800s. They might hide their hateful, prideful, nationalistic nature a little better these days, but they still cannot stand outsiders, or even insiders, if those insiders aren't the right color, or those insiders don't believe in the same invisible men. And Tom Cruise forbid you don't believe in any invisible men whatsoever. You could shit on the American flag and they'd react better to you in that situation than if you admitted you're an atheist. Gone with the Wind covers all that: tradition, racism, classism, sexism, and religion. Rhett is the character I enjoyed the most because he always pointed out everyone's hypocrisy. Was he guilty of his own hate? Definitely. But at least he admitted it. At least he didn't hide it. Like my wife says, "I'd respect them a lot more if they had balls enough to say shit to my face instead of whispering as we walk by." I've just started staring back at those who lean and whisper as if they have two heads. I like making these assholes feel mutually uncomfortable. The one thing I won't do is let them run me out of my home. I'll leave on my own terms, ya fuckin' hillbillies, thank you very much.In summation: There you have it--my review of Gone with the Wind, a book that does not flinch from what truly makes the south THE SOUTH: hate and fear and ignorance, and pride in all of the above. This book certainly doesn't celebrate the south. If you feel it does, you might want to take a closer look at yourself. Final Judgment: An unflinching look at the darkest period in American history as seen through the eyes of the villains.
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  • Zen Cho
    July 3, 2011
    Copied over from my blog:I'd known this was racist in a vague sort of way, not remembering much about the book or movie except bosoms and swooning, but wow, I didn't know it was that mindblowingly racist. The people who wanted to cut the n-word from Huckleberry Finn should all get together and have let's-set-Gone-With-The-Wind-on-fire parties. Man, if they applied their efforts to Gone With The Wind they could probably cut the book short by about a hundred pages.I should say I like Scarlett as a Copied over from my blog:I'd known this was racist in a vague sort of way, not remembering much about the book or movie except bosoms and swooning, but wow, I didn't know it was that mindblowingly racist. The people who wanted to cut the n-word from Huckleberry Finn should all get together and have let's-set-Gone-With-The-Wind-on-fire parties. Man, if they applied their efforts to Gone With The Wind they could probably cut the book short by about a hundred pages.I should say I like Scarlett as a character and found all the romance and striving bits interesting in themselves, but the book is sick through and through. It was very much worth reading. It's a bracing reminder of the wariness one should have of any nostalgia for false Arcadias.Highlights include:- Former slaveholders reproving Scarlett for hiring leased convicts to work on her mills. When Scarlett points out they were happy to use slave labour, they respond that their slaves weren't miserable! Narrative agrees! It's like satire, but it's not meant to be!- In hunger and trepidation near the end of the war, Scarlett vows to herself that one day there'll be food on the table, her clothes will all be of silk, and black hands instead of white hands will pick the cotton on her plantation.- Scarlett's lowest point is when she collapses in a slave garden and -- urgh, this part is too gross for me to even write it out. Urgh, I feel gross just remembering the line.- Noble gentlemen whose lives have been uprooted and world turned upside down are forced in the nobility of their hearts and the staunchness of their pride to start a little club called the Ku Klux Klan. But they were forced to it! They had the best intentions!- Ludicrous scene where Yankees are shown to be super racist against the black people they purported to want to free from slavery, whereas Southerners are good because they love their slaves and treat them like children as they should be treated.Reading this was like being transported to an alternate universe where up was down, red was green, sweet was bitter and racist shit was not racist shit but a ~beautiful ideal~. I actually started worrying towards the end that I was going to come out of the book a more racist person.After finishing it I felt a violent urge to read nonfiction, so I'm now reading bell hooks' Where We Stand: Class Matters and the Andayas' History of Malaysia. The stuff on alluvial deposits is particularly comforting.One star for Scarlett and for the un-put-downable quality of the writing (it's throw-at-the-wallable, but I was never bored -- just furious). I'd give an extra star for her dynamic with Melanie which I kind of love (but what does it say when Scarlett comes off as LESS racist than Melanie because she buys into the poisonous ideals of the Confederacy less?), but I gotta do something to pull down this four star average.
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  • Laurie
    March 16, 2013
    Just finished my most recent rereading of GWTW and fell in love with this book once again. Margaret Mitchell never fails to weave her magic no matter how many times I've read it. GWTW is not just a romantic story involving Scarlett, Ashley and Rhett but also a well researched account of the civil war. Since the victors always write the history concerning any war it's fascinating to learn about the other side of the story.
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    May 4, 2010
    I can't believe I didn't read this book before now. It's an amazing book. I was swept up in the descriptions of the life in the time period. The characters became part of my family. I cried at the end like I had lost a family member. The movie has long been a favorite of mine but unbelievabley can't stand up to this amazing work of literature.
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