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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 December 2007
Firstly Gone With The Wind is my favourit book and film, I have read the book 8 times in the past two years and seen the film at least 50 times. Rhett Butler's People was suppossed to give background to Rhett and how he became the man who fell in love with Scarlett O'Hara and people mentioned in GWTW whose characters weren't explored. I didn't find many interesting facts about Rhett's past and the gaps in time I felt missed opportunites for revalations about Rhett's life before Scarlett. Most of the new characters introduced were of little interest or significance compared with the characters in GWTW. I loved the pleasure of having Scarlett brought back into my life but the changes he made were and are unforgivable. I firmly believe this author never read the book and only watched the film a couple of times. He makes no facutal errors that contradict the film but loads compared with the book, Charles Hamilton buried at Twelve Oaks, Belle Watling reading Ivanhoe when Rhett called her an illiterate whore, the stately Mrs Butler dying from alzheimers before Bonnie died, Scarlett selling her mills to Ashley before his birthday party are but a few errors that make this book drivel!
Apart from these errors his biggest sins are allowing Melanie to know of the Scarlett and Ashley affair which if you'd read the book she knew nothing about. Belle becoming friends with Melanie and then Scarlett, the obvious contradiction in Rhett's feelings from the original novel. Also allowing Tara to burn which is what half of GWTW is about Scarlett preventing plus a lot of other unnecessary sadness and tragedy which don't add to the story of GWTW but take away from it. There were a few good scenes but these are easily forgotten when so much rubbish surrounds them. Finally the author decided to ignore the authorised sequel Scarlett which although also terrible in parts, mainly the second crazy half about IRA terrorists in Ireland, appears like a classic novel in comparison. The people who authorised this version of Rhett Butler's People should be so ashamed of the way they treated these beloved characters that they should be lashed with a buggy whip!
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on 6 December 2010
I was amazed to discover that this was actually an authorised prequel. The characters bear no resemblance to their Gone With the Wind originals - I didn't feel that Rhett, Scarlett or Melanie were rendered with any degree of consistency. The writing was awkward and characters often given anachronistic and cliched points of view - Rhett being oh-so-tolerant and being friends with slaves and freedmen, society matrons suddenly becoming tolerant after the war and befriending Belle Watling, etc. Any fan of the original masterpiece will be disappointed.
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on 6 November 2007
When I received an advance copy of Rhett Butler's People a sequel to my all time favorite novel Gone With the wind, I began reading it with trepidation. I still have not forgotten the murderous job of a sequel Alexandria Ripley did with Scarlett, (Scarlett selling off Tara and moving to Ireland--no way!) Some things are beset left alone. My curiosity got the better of me however and I cracked open the book and was soon drawn in to the world of Rhett Butler. Does this book stand up to the original? Not even close, however, I still found it a fun read. It covers Rehtt's life the early 1840's through the mid 1870's. This book at times gives a less romanticized view of the old south then was portrayed in gone with the wind, which is good. Since this is the story of Rhett the reader sees things through his eyes, and since he had the opportunity to ramble and do business over much of the old south a more compete vision of the time period is displayed. It was alos fun to get a look into Rhett's early life and read about his strained family relationships. The heart of the story of course is his one great love, Scarlett. Fun read for fans of the original, just don't expect quite the same magic.
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I’ve read ‘Gone With the Wind’ several times over the years, and recently read Donald McCaig’s book ‘Ruth’s Journey’, which is the tale of Mammy. In that book, Mammy’s story is told up to the time of the fateful barbecue at the Wilkes’ house, where war overtakes life. That book, and this are both authorised novels by the Margaret Mitchell Estate, so should remain true to the ‘Gone With the Wind’ story.

In this book, we read of Rhett Butler, but the book takes us through Rhett’s childhood, and through the years of the War and beyond. From the time of the War, we read much of the same tale as told in ‘Gone With the Wind’, but from Rhett’s experience, and from that of the other characters in GWTW whose tales were not told in full in that book. There is therefore a broader interpretation of the events of GWTW which is good in that it fills out the whole experience of that read. But it does suffer slightly in that the narrative becomes a bit fractured, and is not so coherent a read as either GWTW or the author’s other book, ‘Ruth’s Journey’. Rhett never emerges quite as a fully developed character, and his interactions with some of the other characters seem a little opaque and implied, rather than demonstrated.

I think if you had not read GWTW you would not enjoy this book so much, as there are nuances which relate to GWTW which are felt more fully in this book. So it acts well as an addition, if you like, to the story from which its heroes and villains are derived, but does not stand so well on its own. I really enjoyed the read, but I was not so enthralled by it as I was by ‘Ruth’s Journey’.
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on 5 July 2008
McCaig is not Mitchell, but then this isn't meant to be about Scarlett - it's about Rhett - and as the title states - his 'people'.

You see the history of his family, his relationships with his sister and father, his friends, and only in short, very short reworkings of the famous Rhett/Scarlett moments do they ever come together...and in those moments you realise just why Rhett was always laughing at people, and what he really thought of Scarlett.

The book goes so far as to erase Ripley's 'Scarlett' from continuity. Now THAT wasn't a bad book for the first 1/3 though heavily sanitised, but it crashed and burned like Atlanta when Scarlett joined the precursors of the IRA in Ireland. I digress.

McCaig captures Rhett almost perfectly, fleshes out Belle Watling, even helps one understand Ashley Wilkes, and at the same time removes the sickly sweetness of Melanie Wilkes. He clarifies who Belle Watling's son is (not whom you may think) is an inspired piece of writing that flows without appearing bolted on.

In short, it's a good book, and worthy of its precursor. Now if only the legions of fan(atic)s who have GWTW on a shrine would get over themselves, more people would enjoy Rhett Butler's People.
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on 9 December 2009
There are two redeeming features to this book. Just two points which prevent this becoming one of the books you throw into the bag for the charity shop. Firstly, it gives a more balanced view of the life of slaves in the American South, and secondly, it relates a credible story around Rhett shooting another man. Other than that, there is nothing to recommend it at all. The story is lame and painfully predictable, the writing is erratic and there are too many errors relating to the original book (just one example - the slave quarters were burned by the Yankees along with their first crop of cotton, not left intact as this book says on more than one occasion). New characters are not given any depth, and what insights we learned about people in the original were overlooked. With a whole world to explore with Rhett's past history, and his activities during the war, we have to be content with a few half-hearted letters to his sister and two highly implausible visits to the army.

But on the plus side, it does look at the slave population with more honesty than the somewhat doubtful `Gone With The Wind' view that they were happy child-like people who loved their masters and did not like being free, and the few who were not like this were dangerous individuals who fully deserved any treatment meted out by the blameless gentlemen who formed the KKK. Rhett's adventures began as a result of the brutality towards the slaves, and laid the groundwork for others, including the highly plausible story of his childhood friend and the prostitute which left him in the Atlanta prison where Scarlett visited him in her velvet-curtain dress.

Taken on the whole, if asked, I would say that this book is best left alone. It will frustrate rather than entertain. Save your money and buy `Scarlett' instead.
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on 4 April 2008
as a stand alone book its ok, but as a compliment to gwtw no chance, I am a huge gwtw fan, book and movie, (I will admit I even enjoyed scarlett) at least alexander ripley seemed to have actually read gwtw(in responce to another reviewer scarlett did not sell tara off she bought carreens third from the church and kept it for wade) , the glaring errors in donalds mccraigs charachters are unforgivable, the clayton county set as coarse farmers, frank kennedy as a merchant, belle watlings charachter beggars belief, ashley and melanie are completely different people. I liked reading of rhett alone but the encounters between him and scarlett are completely contradictory.
not a very good job at all.
was not boring at all and was quite a good read but if you love gwtw you wont like it.
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on 7 April 2016
I don't think Donald McCaig has actually read gone with the wind!! It's supposed to be a parallel story, but I found too many discrepancies. Even rhetts mother has a different name. However, I did enjoy the book, I was intrigued with Belles life & other characters. A must read if a big fan of gwtw.
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I’ve read ‘Gone With the Wind’ several times over the years, and recently read Donald McCaig’s book ‘Ruth’s Journey’, which is the tale of Mammy. In that book, Mammy’s story is told up to the time of the fateful barbecue at the Wilkes’ house, where war overtakes life. That book, and this are both authorised novels by the Margaret Mitchell Estate, so should remain true to the ‘Gone With the Wind’ story.

In this book, we read of Rhett Butler, but the book takes us through Rhett’s childhood, and through the years of the War and beyond. From the time of the War, we read much of the same tale as told in ‘Gone With the Wind’, but from Rhett’s experience, and from that of the other characters in GWTW whose tales were not told in full in that book. There is therefore a broader interpretation of the events of GWTW which is good in that it fills out the whole experience of that read. But it does suffer slightly in that the narrative becomes a bit fractured, and is not so coherent a read as either GWTW or the author’s other book, ‘Ruth’s Journey’. Rhett never emerges quite as a fully developed character, and his interactions with some of the other characters seem a little opaque and implied, rather than demonstrated.

I think if you had not read GWTW you would not enjoy this book so much, as there are nuances which relate to GWTW which are felt more fully in this book. So it acts well as an addition, if you like, to the story from which its heroes and villains are derived, but does not stand so well on its own. I really enjoyed the read, but I was not so enthralled by it as I was by ‘Ruth’s Journey’.
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on 6 September 2008
I loved GWTW, and adored Scarlett as a sequel - so had great hopes of this book, but was really disappointed.
Not only does the author ignore "Scarlett"'s storyline completely - he doesn't seem to understand Mitchell's original characters either, my favourite characters in this re-telling have become shallow and insipid.
His Civil War History may be accurate, but nothing else is.
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