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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 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 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.
Another epic story complete This was a very good one I have read a few huge books in my life Some are a struggle to get through and others are so captivating they read easier than a 300 page novel Gone With The Wind falls in the captivating category At no point was I bored with the story or wondering if it was ever going to end I was fully invested every step of the way invested to the point that my wife was amused that I spent a lot of time talking back to the book or exclaiming when something big or shocking happened Gone With The Wind was the complete experience.Before I go further, I will address the uncomfortable part of the book the depiction of race, dialect, and other Civil War era activities in the South At times I felt like maybe I shouldn t be enjoying a book featuring a sympathetic view of the South or feeling bad for those who struggled in their losses to the North However, the story was really interesting and I have seen a lot of people from a wide variety of races give this book 5 stars, so I believe it is generally acceptable to enjoy it for what it is with an understanding of the time period it was written.The writing so great How is it that Margaret Mitchell is only known for this book I will have to look it up and see if she wrote any others To write such a large book with a great story, symbolism, character development, etc like this is pure genius.The story I had seen the movie but was not sure if I should expect it to be the same seems like Hollywood used to stick closer to the source material than they do now From what I remember of the move, it is a pretty fair adaptation of the book I thought the combination of fictional characters and events along side and intertwined with ones that actually occurred was very well done Because of that I am sure this is a novel that historians enjoy as well.The characters Great character studies and development Watching where everyone starts compared to where the finish was very interesting It is not often you get to go along on what seems like an almost daily journey with the characters from youth through adulthood None of these characters have it easy Seeing how each character handles the struggles of drastic life changes is the heart and soul of this book.Gone With The Wind lives up to its reputation as a classic If you have the time for a 900 page book, you really should check it out.Side note finished this while in Greenville, South Carolina pretty close to Atlanta Seems appropriate 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 KKK this, 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 s 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 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, lauded colleagues Unlike that once glorious South in the war, with Gone With the Wind you, the reader, will not lose So much has been said in praise of this book it feels redundant to add 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 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 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. Margaret Mitchell was a racist and in 1936, 70 years after the Civil War, she whined for a thousand pages about how much she missed slavery If you d like to hear why slavery was terrific and black people are inferior to whites and they liked being slaves, here is your epic If that sounds unpleasant, you re not going to like Gone With the Wind.A non racist book can have racist characters, and all the characters in this book are racist Is the book itself necessarily racist Yes It has an omniscient narrator, and many long, racist passages that are clearly not from any character s perspective they feel like the nonfiction interludes in War Peace Is it possible Mitchell means for us to disagree with her omniscient narrator No There s no evidence whatsoever of that, and the passages that defend the South and slavery are written with passion and supported by racist scenes in the story This book intends to be racist Margaret Mitchell believes what she says she was a racist person who wrote a hateful book I can prove it and I m about to.We start off in the glory days of the Old South, as a young, callow, beautiful Scarlett O Hara flirts with everyone s boyfriends Happy slaves bustle around The house negroes of the County considered themselves superior to white trashthey were well fed, well clothed and looked after in sickness and old age They were proud of the good names of their owners and, for the most part, proud to belong to people who were quality We meet some of them, Scarlett s small white hand disappearing into their huge black paws and the four capered with delight at the meeting and with pride at displaying before their comrades what a pretty Young Miss they had Faithful slave Mammy is introduced, with her kind face, sad with the uncomprehending sadness of a monkey s face the mottled wise old eyes saw deeply, saw clearly, with the directness of the savage and the child, undeterred by conscience when danger threatened her pet Mammy is one of the few morally pure characters in the book, but it s always that noble savage quality.Luckily Scarlett stays away from the slave quarters, where the faint niggery smell which crept from the cabin increased her nausea But then war comes Here s noble and boring Ashley, the limpest point of the oncoming love triangle, describing what the war is about Notice that his vision of the South is indivisible from slavery I hear the darkies coming home across the fields at dusk, tired and singing and ready for supper, and the sound of the windlass as the bucket goes down into the cool well And there s the long view down the road to the river, across the cotton fields, and the mist rising from the bottom lands in the twilight And that is why I m here who have no love of death or misery or glory and no hatred for anyone Perhaps that is what is called patriotism.After the War and during Reconstruction, things get really dark get it lol as Northerners ruin black people Some of the free negroes were getting quite insolent This last Scarlett could hardly believe, for she had never seen an insolent negro in her life But The Freedmen s Bureau fed them while they loafed and poisoned their minds against their former masters And here s much from the omniscient narrator They further told the negroes they were as good as the whites in every way and soon white and negro marriages would be permitted, soon the estates of their former owners would be divided and every negro would be given forty acres and a mule for his own They kept the negroes stirred up with tales of cruelty perpetrated by the whites and, in a section long famed for the affectionate relations between slaves and slave owners, hate and suspicion began to grow Now Southerners were looking on the state they loved, seeing it trampled by the enemy, rascals making a mock of the law, their former slaves a menace, their men disenfranchised, their women insulted.This eventually leads to the formation of the noble Ku Klux Klan, who merely attempt to protect Southern women from being raped by uppity former slaves Here s a Klan member now Wilkerson had gone a bit too far with his nigger equality business Oh yes, he talks it to those black fools by the hour He had the gall the Tony sputtered helplessly, to say niggers had a right to to white women The negroes were on top and behind them were the Yankee bayonets, thinks Scarlett She could be killed, she could be raped and, very probably, nothing would ever be done about it And here s the omniscient narrator summing it up It was the large number of outrages on women and the ever present fear for the safety of their wives and daughters that drove Southern men to cold and trembling fury and caused the Ku Klux Klan to spring up overnight And it was against this nocturnal organization that the newspapers of the North cried out most loudly, never realizing the tragic necessity that brought it into being.This is all demonstrated in the action Scarlett O Hara s headstrong ways nearly get every man in town hung view spoiler Her foolish habit of driving alone through the worst parts of town almost gets her raped by a freed slave, forcing the Klan to take action and lynch him, and they all almost get caught Her second husband is killed hide spoiler 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. 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 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 familyOr 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 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 (Download Book) õ Gone with the Wind ã Margaret Mitchell S Monumental Epic Of The South Won A Pulitzer Prize, Gave Rise To The Most Popular Motion Picture Of Our Time, And Inspired A Sequel That Became The Fastest Selling Novel Of The Century It Is One Of The Most Popular Books Ever Written Than Million Copies Of The Book Have Been Sold In Than Countries Today, Than Years After Its Initial Publication, Its Achievements Are Unparalleled, And It Remains The Most Revered American Saga And The Most Beloved Work By An American Writer Back Cover 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 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 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 wasMy 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