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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really, really great book!
'Gone With The Wind' amazed me. I thought it would be light, throwaway romantic fiction. Instead, it is a tough, believable, intelligent and completely gripping historical novel.
The characters are mesmerising, plausible and original - I expected more cliches, but having read it I have come to the conclusion that GWTW created the cliches because it is just so damn...
Published on 19 July 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are like myself: enjoy a great read
Too long winded!!! Thought I'd read a classic, but this is 1'000 pages long. I've read so much thought this would be a change from the Richard and judy book list but found it monotonous and a bit of a bore. If you are like myself: enjoy a great read, enjoy longevity in a read but like excitement ; then leave it be. Almost as bad as War and Peace. I may cone back to it on...
Published 1 month ago by LouiseCanavan


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really, really great book!, 19 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
'Gone With The Wind' amazed me. I thought it would be light, throwaway romantic fiction. Instead, it is a tough, believable, intelligent and completely gripping historical novel.
The characters are mesmerising, plausible and original - I expected more cliches, but having read it I have come to the conclusion that GWTW created the cliches because it is just so damn good!
I can really see why people still consider it the greatest historical novel ever written. The fact that it has survived the test of time, unlike the many books that are applauded as brilliant one year and forgotten the next, should give you some clue as to just how good this book is.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarn - with one massive flaw, 31 May 2008
By 
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
This is a book with a thoroughly unlikable heroine; it is shot through with jaw dropping racism, so how can it qualify for four stars?

The simple answer is that it is fundamentally an absolutely ripping yarn. Margaret Mitchell's achievement is in creating a set of flawed characters, but then making the reader care about what happens to them. Couple engaging characters with a beautifully paced plot and it is easy to understand why Gone With The Wind is still in print and massively popular.

It is the story of selfish, determined daughter of a plantation, Scarlett O'Hara, her enduring love for neighbour Ashley Wilkes, his marriage to Melanie, who becomes Scarlett's devoted friend, and of course the love of Rhett Butler for Scarlett. The context of the story is the American south before, during and after the civil war. We see the relationships between the characters develop as they go from affluence, through degradation in defeat, and then rebuild.

Scarlett is of course the centre of the book and Mitchell skilfully plays with the reader's emotions towards her heroine. Basically she is selfish, spiteful, snobbish, racist, a hideously bad parent, an exploitative employer, but courageous and engaging. Initially we dislike her as a spoilt brat, her marriages are exasperating, we grow to admire her courage as she fights to survive during and after the war, she becomes a figure of ridicule as she joins the nouveau riche and finally her inability to understand Rhett's love is frustrating, infuriating and eventually tragic.

I have never seen the film, only heard the famous lines, and so was surprised to find that Rhett Butler, rather than being a heartless cad is in fact brutally honest with himself and is a strong and proud man brought low by his love for the unknowing Scarlett.

Despite the fantastic nature of the story, the epic background, the major flaw which cannot be ignored is the appalling racism. I was ready to be accepting and view the racism in the book as a portrayal rather than an espousal of the attitudes of the time. I'm afraid I can't maintain that line, Mitchell is too clearly and openly sympathetic to slavery. Her attitude is basically that slaves are subhuman, that the "good" ones prefer enslavement and that the institution was vindicated by the fact that the North perpetrated some unacceptable acts in abolishing it. Some of the sections after the civil war are just dreadful in their proslavery sentiment. It is almost unbelievable that this book was written and published in a democracy during the 20th Century. This is further illustrated by the toe curlingly embarrassing speech patterns Mitchell gives to the slave characters.

That the book can still have any validity despite this is a testament to the power of the story. The whole thing cracks along superbly with some brilliantly evocative scenes which will stick in the mind for a long time: the first time Scarlett dances with Rhett, the birth of Melanie's baby, the flight from Atlanta, Scarlet and Ashley in the Saw Mill and of course the final scene between Rhett and Scarlett.

In a strange way GWTW reminded me of the Lord of the Rings. It is not a great work of literature. It has some serious flaws, but it is an absolutely fabulous story, and it gave rise to a whole sub genre, while remaining superior to any of its successors.

So final thoughts.
-I highly recommend GWTW as a thundering good read, but be aware you'll need a strong stomach
-Don't be daunted by the size, the plot is well paced and it never drags
-It's not just a girly book, I'm an (ex) rugby playing bloke and I loved the story
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece in every way, 7 Mar. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
All too often, when the book 'Gone With The Wind' is mentioned, people let out a groan of derision. Mostly these are people who have only seen the film. The film, although a wonderful classic, is a product of its times. Like many epics of that era, it is none too subtle. It also feels overly dramatic, no doubt the effect of cramming such a long story into a single film. The novel, however, is flawless. It may get written off as a romance in the same vein as Mills & Boon, but anyone who has read it will agree that is a most unfair comparison. It is a brilliantly researched historical drama, containing many finer points that are only discovered upon a second, or even third reading. The characters are so vividly drawn, and as the novel takes place over many years, there is real scope for development. Scarlett O'Hara is utterly believable as the flawed heroine, as is Rhett Butler, the cynical anti-hero. Ashley is symbolic of the civilisation 'gone with the wind'. But the most quietly fascinating character of all must be Melanie. The love story between Scarlett and Rhett is not so central a theme to the novel as survival and the struggle for independence. For a novel that contains such a broad scope of events and rich abundance of characters, Margaret Mitchell manages to keep a tight rein on both plot and pace. There are those books that make such a profound impression on our own lives that we never forget them - 'Gone With The Wind' is such a book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best, 3 Jun. 2007
By 
Ros France (South West France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
Everyone will have heard of this book, many will have watched the film, and drawn assumptions. This is NOT a bodice-ripping saga, not by any means. This is an extremely well written novel - clear, coherent, often humourous, flowing, with a large cast of well crafted characters (including the unlikeable but ultimately unforgettable Scarlett!)all contained within a finely planned plot. The historical background is well researched and used with consumate skill to add body and context to the story. This book is exceptionally well written - it won the Pulitzer Prize, yet so many people don't read it because they think it will be romantic, soppy women's stuff...............and it soooooo isn't! This book deserves 10 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, War and Survival, 26 Jan. 2007
By 
Ms. K. A. Beats "K. Beats" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
Although this book is certainly intimidating to look at, being over 1000 pages long, it also takes a little while to get into and certainly to forgive the writer and the period for certain terminologies, and yet I can say with some surprise that this is the best book that I have ever read. Not only does the author take great care with relating historic events of the period, but her characters are equally well researched and thought out. Although none of the characters deserve our unwavering admiration or rebukes, they damn our apathy. This book is about the struggle to face the realities of changed circumstances, the ability to understand emotions which are so well concealed that even we cannot guess their true feelings. Ultimately, this book is about lose of innocence, and the selfishness of survival and whether we like it or not, every reader will see themselves in the actions and emotions of the characters, but we hope to have the ability to learn from their mistakes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without doubt the best book i have ever ever read!!!!, 20 July 2011
Set amidst the American Civil War, Mitchell's epic takes readers on an emotional journey through the 'Old South'. Scarlett O'Hara, the heroine of the novel, witnesses first hand the terrible effects of the war and the subsequent demise of an entire civilisation; now lost forever. No doubt many readers, like myself, are abhored by the very thought of a society that defends slavery and repression of African Americans. Yet, Mitchell's carefully crafted narrative, leaves readers questioning their own predjudices and assumptions. The Confederacy, shamefully supported the principle of slavery, but if there is one thing the history books conveniently leave out, its the Yankee's attitude towards the slaves they sought to free. Whilst Lincoln's motive was no doubt genuine, many in the North sought to exploit the Black population through other means, whether at the ballot box or through cheap labour.

Moreover, the Yankee generals showed little remorse when they ravaged the South for all it was worth. Defeated and heartbroken, the people of the South were subjected to a long period of 'reconstruction', which was designed to keep the South firmly under the hands of the Northern politicians. The people of Georgia and the surrounding states, having had their whole world torn from under their feet, were left to rot in what was once their home.

All this is personified in the great Scarlett O'Hara, who mirrors the changing world around her. Once the belle of the county, and the envy of all women, Scarlett is literally thrown into the midst of a war, that changes her forever. Meanwhile we, the readers, are entertained by the incredibly complex Captain Rhet Butler, who throughout the novel shamelessly attempts to court the favour of Scarlett, only to be rejected again and again. A man, we see, of great integrity and tactfulness.

Male readers - do not be put off by rumours about this novel - this is not Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, this is quite simply the best novel ever written.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm Welcome to the new cover!, 16 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
So pleased that a version of this great book has been printed which doesn't undermine the whole novel. The previous orange cover (beautifully dramatic) was also misleading, and pure "bodice-ripper" material. From what I recall there's only a kiss (or two?) between Scarlett and Rhett in the whole story - not unreasonable, given that they married!

What there is though, is a fascinating novel deep and detailed about the destruction caused by the American Civil War, and the changes it brought to the lives it impacted.

Never boring, the whole glorious thing never slacks pace, and is a fabulous "read".

Don't expect to like Scarlet, though, she has some good points, but being "nice" isn't one of them as she develops from a spoiled princess into a mature woman who needs to rebuild her life - yet again.

Well worth the price - I'll ditch the bodice-ripper copy I have, and get one of these.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could eat this book, I would- amazing!!!, 7 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
This is a really great book that is interesting as well as informing. Margeret Mitchell shows Scarlett's character very well, and explains her motives behind her increadible bitchiness. I love the character of Scarlett- she is not one of those perfect main characters like in a lot of books, she is actually very spoilt and full of herself.

There is a lot of racism in this book, but I think it just makes it more realistic, as that is how it was in those days.

Altogether, it is a really good book, though be prepared for a very long read- it is over 1000 pages long! It is good for all ages of 12 and up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow wow wow, 22 Nov. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
I can not praise it enough - I find reading hard work and never tackle big books if i can help it. I friend pursuaded me to try this though and wow. I haven't eaten, drunk or been out in days...I couldn't take my nose out of it. Even better all my 'unbelieving' friends are getting it for Christmas and I know there won't be any disappointment when they start it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling story, 12 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
I found no difficulty in reading this 1000-page novel of the American Civil war, which I found engrossing. It is written from the southern, Confederate viewpoint, which was new to me. I saw the film as a small boy (seventy years ago!) and remembered it as a love story, with Rhett Butler as the cad. In fact, it is a realistic historical novel of the Civil War period- and Rhett has my every sympathy.
Scarlett O'Hara must be the most unattractive "heroine" in literature: she is selfish, greedy, unscrupulous, cruel and grasping- and she doesn't learn from her many mistakes. Even at the end, she is plotting to win Rhett back.
Others have commented on the racism endemic in the book. It seems to me this misses the point. It is accurately recording the racist sentiments of that time, the 1860's, not those of the 1930's, when it was written (one wonders how much more enlightened they had actually become by then?). We don't criticise Dickens or Trollope for the anti-semiticism inherant in their books, nor do we condemn Sansom for the crudity, sordidness and violence in his 16th century Shardlake novels. The function of a historical novel is to record it as it was, not as we would like it to be, nor as it would be now.
Well worth reading.
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Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Paperback - 3 May 2011)
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