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Gone with the Wind (The Margaret Mitchell Anniversary Edition) (original 1936; edition 1976)

by Margaret Mitchell

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14,471279138 (4.36)911
abby2010's review
I have always loved this book. I actually have the 1939 Movie addition of this book that I won in a bet. The bet was that I could not find in the movie where the work "Damn" was said other than the famous line. It was when the men are gathered around before the war and you can hear it in the background. Everyone should read this book. It is better than the movie.
  abby2010 | Jan 30, 2010 |
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Shelf Notes Review

4.5/5 stars

Dear Reader,

What an epic story! Even though this took me quite some time to finish due to the incredible length, I still enjoyed every moment of it. This story is so well known, I'm not sure if I have to write a blurb about it, but I'll try to do it justice. The setting of "Gone with the Wind" ranges from a plantation in the countryside of Georgia to the city of Atlanta. Scarlett O'Hara is the main character and the story is told from her perspective, mostly. The Author does a little back and forth to get some of the other views of the different characters but Mitchell mostly sticks with Scarlett. This is a true coming of age story, a little unique since it's set during the Civil War and is told from the eyes of a spoiled girl who grows up on a plantation in Georgia. We follow her from age sixteen to twenty-eight during the time span of 1861 until 1873. For those of you who know your Civil War history, you'll see how those few years would completely change the life of a girl brought up in the privileged South. The story takes you from riches, to war, to freedom, to poor, to struggle, to regained riches, to loss, to death, to love and SO much more.

Some would believe that this is a historical romance, even I was mislead by the common knowledge just the title, "Gone with the Wind" carries, however this is far from the full truth. I would put this under historical fiction, mainly because it's so much more than a love story. Yes, Scarlett is shallow and can only think about herself and boys/men, but this wouldn't be a coming of age story without a little hardship. Scarlett lives through the hardest times in the South, the ones that made all the wealthy plantation owners destitute. She struggled and survived, coming out on the other side stronger. Sadly, she doesn't learn enough lessons to change her selfishness until it's too late, making this more of a tragedy. Scarlett is so intolerably selfish, it made me want to slap her silly (satisfyingly, Rhett does this enough to placate me).

So what about the love story? It's a good one, mostly because of how tragic it truly is. This is not some warm fuzzy feeling book with a happy ending, be prepared to cry. The one fact that I got out of this tragic love story is that you can't change someone, no matter how hard you try. Scarlett never apologizes for her inadequacy and I believe this is why I started to feel a bit of sympathy for her. In a world where the proper way of being a "lady" is more important than life itself, one can't blame Scarlett for rebelling. Take this for example; back then you couldn't speak of being pregnant, nor go out of the house while with child because it was deemed inappropriate. Can you imagine if this was something that didn't change with the times? Outrageous. The Civil War broke many people down and caused some of these absurd traditions to break free. Nobody cared that much of what was proper, when you have a dying civilization surrounding you. Okay, so maybe it didn't change THAT drastically and Scarlett is a perfect example of a girl who breaks free but gets the cold shoulder from all her "supposed" family friends. Don't get me wrong, she does some dastardly things that warrant the cold shoulder, but she also gives the reader some hope for the female race. I mean we know how it all turns out, and it might not have changed so drastically if it weren't for woman like Scarlett.

The Civil War is something that hits home, being an American. It was hard reading about things from a different perspective because you didn't know what the truth truly was. I don't remember hearing much about the hardships the South faced during and after the war, coming from a Northern school system. I wonder if that would have been different if I had grown up in the South. I'm sure the same can be said vice versa. I'm glad to have these different perspectives to ponder on, I might never know the full truth but I can be rest assured that we've come together in the right direction. This is such a hard topic because we know what is "RIGHT" and "WRONG" with slavery, but in order to get America changed to "RIGHT", we had to destroy a civilization, which is what the Southern culture was essentially. I think one of my favorite lines in the book was spoken by the dashing Rhett Butler, "I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up. Remember my words. Perhaps they may be of use to you some day." This quote really is quite insightful and surprisingly, I couldn't find it anywhere on the internet (not even in the six pages of quotes from this book on Goodreads... until I added it). Thankfully, I highlight when I read so I could look back and find it because I think it's worth sharing and sums up a huge theme of this book, money.

I think I've gone rambling on enough and this book elicits some very interesting and numerous topics of conversation. I think it would be a great book club book, actually. I want to leave you with my thoughts on the movie made from this novel. IF you've only seen the movie, I find it imperative for you to pick up this book immediately. I know... the movie was good, but the book is fantastic and gives you so much depth the movie couldn't bring to it. I'll leave you with this, "Fiddle de dee, tomorrow is another day".

Happy Reading,
AmberBug ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
I clicked on a GR link that offered me a bunch of books to rate that I apparently haven't added to my bookshelves here. I was surprised by this one. I've read it a couple of times & it's wonderful. It's a grand, nail biting tour through the Civil War and its aftermath from a southern belle's perspective. As selfish as she is, one can't help but feel for Scarlett & those around her. The romance in her life is epic, as are the changes & though the book ends, I just know the characters went on & have spent many hours pondering what might have happened. It's such a compelling world, that I just can't help it.

How many fiction books actually make such a character portrayal as to get a syndrome named for them? And the Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome is well recognized as not just for procrastination, but also for wishful, magical thinking, especially among the drug addicted.

The best thing is that the writing is super. There's enough detail to paint an entire world, but the story doesn't flow along so much as drag you in its current. It's a big book, so many don't start it, but once I start reading it, everything else goes on the back burner. I don't want to quit & then I'm sorry that it ends.

The original movie was so well done that they've never done a remake of it. That says a lot. Hollywood always re-does a success until I'm so sick of it I don't even want to hear about it, but they haven't with this one. If you've seen the movie, you know it's excellent, but if you haven't read the book, you haven't even touched the whole story yet. As good as Gable was a Rhett, the book's character is so much more. Definitely a must-read.
( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Between Scarlett O'Hara, Melanie Wilkes, and Rhett Butler...how could this book not be so beloved? Its beauty has no end, even for a modern generation. ( )
  writercity | Aug 13, 2014 |
I thought I would hate this book. Thought I'd have to drag myself through it. But I absolutely LOVED it. It was amazing. I'll read it again and again, I'm sure.

Oh, and I think Johnny Depp should play Captain Butler in a new movie version. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
Amazing, definitely one of my favorites! I wish she had written a sequel! ( )
  meggarrett0609 | Aug 6, 2014 |
After 2 days of marathon reading, I've finished the book. I found Rhett and Ashley to both be much more interesting characters in the book than in the movie. Scarlett though better formed as a character in the book still annoys me. I would have liked to have seen more growth in her but she seems forever stuck at 16. Perhaps that's part of the point of the book. I'll be mailing this book out on Saturday, August 2nd. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 3, 2014 |
I do feel Johnny-come-lately recommending this book. Everybody knows the movie, but have they read the book?? And so many have.

I read the book first, and *then* saw the movie. I think GWTW is one of the best books ever written: not so much because of the great love story, but because Margaret Mitchell portrayed history about as well as anyone I have ever read. She does not top Edward Gibbon in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but Mitchell certainly tells her story in a fantastically interesting way. Plus you don't have to feel all snooty telling people you are reading GWTW, like you would with Decline and Fall!

She showed the foolishness of the South to go to war, but also the brutality of the North. I think readers often miss the astonishing portrayal of the Civil War. Even all that aside, Mitchell portrayed each possible viewpoint of the South of various groups, social levels and individuals among these groups.

For me it was a fabulous and exciting love story and history lesson.

I listened to the whole book on my iPod downloaded from Audible.com. This was a tremendous "read" by the narrator.

Lastly, I am still trying to revamp my view of Abraham Lincoln (in a nice way, of course). But NO, the Civil War should not have been fought. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Comencé este libro cuatro veces, sin lograr pasar mas allá de las primeras paginas, hasta que me decidí a hacer el esfuerzo y leerlo completo. No me arrepiento.

¿Como no amar una historia así?:

Scarlett: Soy la más bella. Todos los hombres del condado me aman. Todos menos Ashley, y yo amo es a Ashley.

Ashley: Si te amo.

Scarlett: Casémonos entonces.

Ashley: No puedo, debo casarme con mi prima Melanie. No la amo pero en mi familia siempre nos casamos entre primos. Tenemos una reputación de aspecto enfermo que defender.

Scarlett: Te odio Ashley Wilkes. Largate.

Rhett: Hola. Escuche todo. Te estoy imaginando desnuda. Nunca me casaría contigo pero ¿quieres ser mi amante?

Scarlett: Te odio Rhett Butler. Largate.



Scarlett se casa con Charles.

Comienza la guerra.

Charles muere.

Scarlett pasa hambre.



Scarlett: Juro que nunca más volveré a pasar hambre. Le robaré el novio millonario a mi hermana y me casaré yo con el.

Scarlett se casa con Frank.

Frank muere.



Scarlett: Ashley te amo. Abandona a Melanie. Huyamos.

Ashley: También te amo. Nunca podré abandonar a Melanie, soy un cobarde.

Scarlett: Odio a Melanie.



Rhett: Scarlett casate conmigo.

Scarlett: Rhett yo te odio.

Rhett: También te odio, solo deseo tu cuerpo. Ademas recuerda que soy millonario.

Scarlett: Ok, con eso me convenciste. Me casaré contigo sólo por tu dinero y podrás usar mi cuerpo mientras yo sigo amando a Ashley.



Scarlett se casa con Rhett.

Scarlett y Rhett tienen una hija llamada Bonnie.

Rhett: Te amo Scarlett. Me has hecho muy feliz.

Scarlett: El embarazo me dejó gorda. Es tu culpa Rhett, te odio.

Bonnie muere.



Scarlett: Ashley acabo de darme cuenta que no te amo. Amo es a Rhett.

Ashley: Yo también me he dado cuenta que no te amo. Amo es a Melanie. Celebremos dándonos un abrazo.

Ven a Scarlett y Ashley abrazados. Le dicen a Rhett y a Melanie que estan siendo engañados.



Melanie: Scarlett, querida, se que eres incapaz de eso. Tu eres un angel.

Scarlett: Te amo Melanie.

Melanie muere.



Scarlett: Rhett, Melanie murió.

Rhett: Debes estar feliz, ahora puedes largarte con Ashley.

Scarlett: No, ya no lo amo. Te amo es a ti.

Rhett: Lastima yo ya no te amo.

Scarlett: Pero que yo SÍ te amo.

Rhett:


*Inserte aquí millones de lagrimas mientras leía este final*

Llore tanto que las ultimas paginas de mi libro quedaron irremediablemente manchadas. Y desde ese momento y para siempre soy una fanática de Lo Que El Viento Se Llevó.

( )
  Glire | Jul 7, 2014 |
Who doesn't love this book? Scarlet is so shallow, but I still pull for her. Melanie is so weak and sweet, but for some reason she's the bad guy. This novel defies conventional expectations ( )
  saradiann | Jun 29, 2014 |
I read this book in about 2007 after I graduated from high school. I wanted to be studious. ( )
  allygggggg | May 26, 2014 |
I first tried to read this book in high school because my father always reminisced about seeing the movie in our small town's movie theater. At the age of 16, however, the story did not take hold of my imagination and love of history. As an adult, I have to admit that I found the first 200 pages a bit dull. Had it not been classified for me as a "classic" of sorts, I doubt that I would have stuck with the book.

However, something happened 200 pages into the book that made it completely readable and even interesting. Perhaps the characters began to really stand out to me or maybe I began to cheer on Scarlett's efforts to save all that she loves about the south.

While Scarlett is admittedly flawed in many ways, I could relate to her character and her sheer determination to overcome the challenges the end of the war brings to her once idyllic life. Scarlett makes the tough decisions that many are too scared to make and isn't afraid to do the hard work necessary to overcome. She is incredibly inept, however, at reading people and one of the great tragedies of the novel, in my opinion, is how she misread Rhett throughout their many years together.

Rhett, on the other hand, reads people well and this is one of the reasons he is so successful and can hustle people. This characteristic is one of the driving forces throughout the novel as Rhett intermittently antagonizes and loves Scarlett. The greatest disappointment in the novel is that Scarlett does not fully appreciate how much Rhett loves her because of her inability to empathizes with others and childish notions about who she loves as well as Rhett's inability to be truthful about his feelings.

Upon completion of the novel, I am happy that I stuck out those first 200 pages. I enjoyed the historical perspective throughout the novel as well as the character development throughout. Ultimately, this was a richly woven saga of love, destruction and renewal--definitely worth a second read somewhere in the future of my literary life. ( )
  speedy74 | May 4, 2014 |
EPIC. Read it first as a teenager, re-read it probably 30 times in the past 40 years, and it just keeps getting better. ( )
  christineplouvier | Apr 20, 2014 |
I have said many times that this is my favorite book of all time :) Scarlett, though a completely spoiled well to do bitchy little girl, is one smart cookie, & when the war breaks out, she does what her devious little mind tells her she has to do in order to survive it. She is definitely NOT a good role model for motherhood, & even Rhett tells her that a mother cat has better instincts than she does. i found that absolutely hilarious. BUT, that not withstanding, she IS a role model for courage under fire. Yes, she spends the majority of the book mooning over Ashley, but in her defense, I felt that Ashley was a weak man who actually led her on because even though he did what was expected & married Melanie, he did love Scarlett for her brightness, her quirkiness, & her spirit, & just couldn't tell her definitively that he loved Melanie & there was no hope for her. Had he manned up at the beginning, I think Scarlett would have left him alone & moved on to happiness with Rhett. ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
Nobody can deny that Gone With the Wind is a sweeping story of the south during its time of greatest upheaval. In this novel, Margaret Mitchell created a rich story of unrequited love, war-time tragedy, personal loss, and dogged determination to thrive in the midst of chaos and destruction. The novel covers an impressive span of time, and bridges the distance between the antebellum south and the aftermath of the bloody and destructive Civil War.

Of course, Mitchell also created a colossally selfish main character in Scarlett O'Hara, and an extremely one-sided depiction of life in the Civil War south. Scarlett is a woman who will go to any length to create a comfortable lifestyle for herself, and she operates without any regard for her family and friends or the suffering of those around her. Scarlett's cruelty and selfishness are thinly veiled under the guise of Scarlett's "passion for life". But even more upsetting, Mitchell glorifies the southern plantations and slave owners' lifestyles, and villainizes anything and everything that threatens that lifestyle. The long and horrible history of slavery in the United States is glossed over completely in Gone With the Wind, and Mitchell justifies her portrayal of the south by creating African American characters who actually want to serve Scarlett and her family, and who feel lost without their subservient roles. This narrative is a sweeping saga, yes, but Mitchell's specialty seems to be sweeping the inhumane treatment of slaves under the rug.

The only positive thing that can be said for the book is that it reads quickly, and it is extremely easy to get engrossed in the story. Even as you cringe at Mitchell's blatant racism and idealistic view of the south, it is a book that makes you want to keep reading. ( )
  CinnamonandGinger | Apr 8, 2014 |
Another fabulous book perhaps made more fabulous by the iconic film. Honestly, it's hard to say which is better. Despite the film this is still truly worth the read.

The characters are more complex and interesting in the novel - though the movie remains true to the story. You have to overlook the idealized version of slavery that the book presents - it's not right, but it makes a damn good story.

Read it. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
It's "Gone with the Wind" man. Just go with it. ( )
  mlyons1 | Feb 12, 2014 |
GWTW, the great American epic, certainly earns its reputation by being a big sweeping novel of the collapse and rebuilding of the American south. Mitchell’s research about the many battles in and around Atlanta is evident, as is her knowledge of Southern plantation and urban life. But despite all of her research, her personal bias is evident and clouds her recounting of history. Mitchell is a product of her times, Southern born and bred 70 years after the civil war. She believes that slavery was not so bad, and the slaves were treated like family and were protected and cared for. Her descriptions of free slaves in Atlanta makes one cringe, and she devotes half of chapter 37 to this narrative with quotes like, “There they conducted themselves as creatures of small intelligence might naturally do. Like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects…” Another of her characters, Big Sam, a former slave on Tara has tried freedom and doesn’t like it and is trying to make his way back to Tara where he knows he will be cared for again. Nowhere in the book does Mitchell make reference to the hard and inhumane lives slaves lived, and the fact that they were property with no rights or lives they could call their own. She even tries to justify the existence of the KKK, saying that the free blacks were running so amuck over of the whites that the Southern men, who had been stripped of their rights by the Yankees, had to do something to avenge these wrongs.

Putting aside all of Mitchell’s personal bias about slavery, I did enjoy this book and ultimately felt it was a many layered love story between Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, and Ashley, all intertwined in matters of the heart. Scarlett, the central character and most interesting by far, is a modern woman ahead of her time. She is outspoken, strong-willed and a shrewd business woman. She does whatever it takes to get what she wants in affairs of business and the heart. She is a fully developed character with a range of emotions from pride and pettiness to compassion and understanding (although she tends to lean more toward the former emotions). At times we thoroughly dislike her, others we can relate to her, sometimes we pity her and occasionally we even cheer for her. Mitchell also spends time developing her other major characters, Rhett, Melanie and Ashley, and by the end we feel as if we really know all of them.

Despite its 1,000 pages or 41 hours on audio cd, which I listened to, I never got bored, and in fact didn’t want to end. The story always moved right along. Someone was always dying, getting married, having a baby, going to or planning a party, plotting, scheming, or getting into or out of trouble. It is melodrama at its best and I am so glad I actually read it instead of just seeing the abridged story in the form of the movie.
( )
  trishrope | Feb 7, 2014 |
The romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara obsessed me as a young teenager, but now I find it annoying: the tantalizing question of whether these feisty characters who "belong together" will ever be able to live a fully realized partnership seems more like a gimmick to keep one "hooked" on the story. (And as I said, it worked back when I was 15, a long while back.)

However, I loved the extensive descriptions of the South and the land and the characters--however unrealistic and "false" the romanticized Old South turned out to be. I picked up a copy a few years back and remembered how much I still loved the quality of the writing. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | Jan 22, 2014 |
memorable, tragic love story a la Shakespeare ( )
  cherylwhatley | Jan 20, 2014 |
4.5 stars

Scarlett O'Hara is 16-years old and living comfortably with her family on a large plantation in Georgia. But, the Civil War is just around the corner, and Scarlett's world is turned completely around, as she struggles just to survive. She has the help of the incredibly selfless Melanie (Melly) Wilkes, who loves Scarlett like a sister, even though Scarlett hates her for loving and marrying the man she herself is in love with, Ashley. Scarlett also leans on the older, handsome man, Rhett Butler, though he has a bad reputation amongst the fine southern folk who live in Scarlett's "world".

I do love the movie and have seen it a few times (though it's been a few years since the last time), but this is the first time I've read the book. This actually started off a little slow for me (not sure why), but about 1/3 of the way through, when Melly had her baby, then they had to get out of Atlanta right away, things really picked up from there and it just got better and better for me. At the start, Scarlett is a spoiled, selfish child, but she has to learn to be strong to survive during the war and immediately after. She is definitely not a typical southern lady with her temper and being so strong-willed, but she meets her match in Rhett. I loved Rhett! And Melly. This is often considered a love story, but it is so much more than that! The characters are amazing; there is also so much more to each of them than initially meets the eye. ( )
  LibraryCin | Dec 31, 2013 |
One of my favorite books (and movies, though the two are quite different.) ( )
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
Both books in excellent condition. Book boxes have faded.
  Olimpia5019 | Dec 15, 2013 |
Beautifully written. Just as enthralling as the first time I read it. Two of my favorite literary characters: Scarlet and Rhett. ( )
  creighley | Dec 2, 2013 |
In spite of the horrifying racism that is woven throughout this book's point of view, I can't help but love this story. The book's main protagonists, Scarlett and Rhett, are both selfish, manipulative, and cruel, but I can't help but cheer them on, groan at their mistakes, and wish for them to wake up and become the better people they have the potential to be. I wanted a happily ever after for them all. Of course nobody gets a happily ever after in this book, not even the only truly likeable character, Melanie. Of course even Melanie's character has to be considered with the perspective of time and changing social mores. I can't help but cringe at the thought that even in the 1930's when this book was written, a compassionate and selfless woman of high moral character would consider the murder of a cheating wife to be justifiable homicide. I suppose that's why I've enjoyed this story every time I've read it. Each character is finely drawn, with their flaws and strengths on full display, and they always behave according to character. Yet your perception of each changes over the course of the book as they themselves learn and grow through their experiences during war, reconstruction, and with one another. ( )
  PortM | Nov 30, 2013 |
I read this book when I was a teenager and loved every word! Still one of my favorite books of all time, and Rhett Butler is still one of my favorite romantic heroes! (Scarlet, how could you be so blind!) ( )
  KristinaMiranda | Oct 26, 2013 |
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