In the News

Heritage Auctions' Chicago Comics & Comic Art Auction Could Challenge Record

Dallas, TX - The book considered by many to be the “Holy Grail” of... read more

Over 280 Important Manuscripts Offered at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ May 1 Auction

The highlight of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' May 1st sale of Fine Printed Books and... read more

Collectible Toys, Comic Books, and Comic Art at Bruneau & Co. on April 28

Cranston, RI - Nearly 350 lots of toys, comic books and comic art will... read more

Illustrator John Vernon Lord Shortlisted at 2018 V&A Awards for the Folio Society Edition of "Ulysses"

The V&A have announced that John Vernon Lord has been shortlisted for this year’s... read more

Fine Art & Artifacts, Vellum Indentures, Antique Newspapers at Worth Auctions

Ithaca, NY—Worth Auctions, located in Dryden, NY, announces the launch of their next auction... read more

Potter & Potter Auctions' May 19 Sale Offers Gambling Memorabilia and Books

Chicago — Potter and Potter Auctions is pleased to announce this upcoming sale to... read more

New England Society in the City of New York Announces Annual Book Awards Finalists

New York City-The New England Society in the City of New York (NES) is... read more

Anthology of Nineteenth Century American Legal Poetry Published

Talbot Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of an important new title: Despite... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Fine Books Review

Scarlett at 75

An engaging history of Margaret Mitchell’s great American novel
By Rebecca Rego Barry Rebecca Rego Barry is the editor of this magazine.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood

Ellen F. Brown and
John Wiley, Jr.
Taylor Trade
379 pages with photo insert
jacketed hardcover
$26.95

Some people are born readers. I was not one of them. But I can trace my subsequent devotion to books to the reading of one title—Gone With the Wind—at the age of fourteen. It was that simple a transition from ‘regular person’ to reader to bibliophile. The plump red paperback affected me in a way that The Iliad or The Good Earth (the reading list of my ninth-grade literature class) decidedly did not. Margaret Mitchell gave me Scarlett fever, and I am eternally grateful.

So it was with great eagerness that I dove into Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.’s new history of Mitchell’s masterpiece (Brown is a regular contributor to this magazine). It’s been too long since I revisited the book, or the film for that matter, and I was repeatedly surprised and delighted by the stories Brown and Wiley, Jr. uncovered in the archives. Using the voluminous correspondence of Mitchell and her family, editors, publishing executives, agents, movie producers, literary executors, and fans, an incredibly rich story emerges about all the people involved in this great American success story. Its cast of characters sometimes as riveting as Mitchell’s: the associate editor who never received the credit for ‘discovering’ Mitchell; the over-zealous husband who acted as copyeditor and manager; the underhanded agents who bungled deals and stole royalties. As Macmillan publisher George Brett keenly observed in a letter to Mitchell, “What history [GWTW] is writing in the annals of American publishing!”

Brown and Wiley, Jr. have focused on the book’s wild ride from manuscript to movie, from editorial details to producer David O. Selznick’s repeated attempts to secure sequel rights. Because so much correspondence survived—real letters on real paper, thankfully not destroyed upon her death—Mitchell becomes less of a mystery as well, no longer the shy, reclusive Southern lady, instead a whip-smart woman with a sense of humor who was surprised by her own success and, at the same time, horrified by too much of it.

With such comprehensive research and dynamic writing, this book is certain to appeal to a wide audience of literary, history, and film buffs. GWTW aficionados may already be familiar with one of the authors—Wiley, Jr. is a major collector of GWTW and Mitchell memorabilia and publisher of the Scarlett Letter, a newsletter for fans and collectors. His extensive collection and knowledge of foreign translations of the novel are put to good use here, both in the text and the impressive photo insert. Foreign editions actually played quite a role in the history of GWTW, as Mitchell owned and managed these rights—through World War II, no less—a task that greatly challenged her and her husband, John Marsh.

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the book’s publication. From Pulitzer to Academy Award, Gone With the Wind is one of the greatest American stories, one that endures with every new generation. Brown and Wiley, Jr. have given us an accessible, highly enjoyable history worthy of that legacy.

Page 1 | 2 | Next
comments powered by Disqus