Thursday, February 24, 2011

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood

Editors' Note: As we first mentioned several months ago, there's a wonderful new book out about Gone with the Wind. Today we're thrilled to bring you our review of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood. Later this week we'll also have an interview with authors Ellen Brown and John Wiley, who will join us on the blog to discuss their book. Thank you to Ellen and John for their generosity and kindness in sharing their book with us!
The market for Gone with the Wind books is a rather crowded one. You can find (and have probably read) plenty of biographies about Margaret Mitchell, accounts about the movie's production and a handful of books on GWTW memorabilia. But, until now, there hasn't been a complete account of the history of Gone with the Wind, the novel. And that's exactly what Ellen Brown and John Wiley give us in their fascinating new book, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood

In A Bestseller's Odyssey, Brown and Wiley examine the publishing phenomenon of Gone with the Wind, from the novel's earliest days to its whirlwind success in the 1930s and 1940s to its enduring popularity in the modern era. Immaculately researched and addictively readable, A Bestseller's Odyssey offers tremendous insights--many of them reported for the very first time--about the unique twists and turns of GWTW's publishing history. In vivid, captivating detail, the book illustrates Margaret Mitchell's personal, well, odyssey of managing her famous novel, a journey with enough plot twists and colorful characters to rival Gone with the Wind itself.

Brown and Wiley's skillful narration gives the reader no less than a front row seat to see GWTW history unfold. You experience the surreal and overwhelming GWTW-mania that ensued upon the novel's publication, completely ending forever the quiet life of Margaret Mitchell and husband John Marsh. You get the inside scoop on the sometimes tense standoffs between the main actors in creating the GWTW phenomenon--Macmillan Publishing, David O. Selznick and the Marshes. You see Margaret Mitchell battle to protect her novel's copyright from thieves and opportunists across multiple continents. You explore the inner workings of the Mitchell Stephens Trusts and why they ultimately decided to authorize official sequels.

As longtime Gone with the Wind fans, we were completely enthralled by A Bestseller's Odyssey. We cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who has even a remote interest in GWTW. This is a truly definitive account of GWTW the novel, a fascinating read for both casual and fervent fans alike. And for us passionate Windies, the book not only provides a great look at GWTW's publishing history but is chock-full of tantalizing new morsels of information that offer to change the way we look at MM and GWTW.

Have we peaked your interest? Here's just a small list of some of the awesome things you'll discover in A Bestseller's Odyssey: 
  • What MM really thought happened to Rhett and Scarlett after the conclusion to GWTW
  • Captain Rhett K. Butler's middle name, according to MM
  • MM's thoughts on whether Melanie ever suspected anything between Ashley and Scarlett
  • The plot line to an obscure (and hilarious) continuation of GWTW published by an American magazine in the 1940s
  • Full plot line summaries for the three aborted GWTW sequels by Anne Edwards, Emma Tennant, and Pat Conroy

Sounds good to you? Well, then go out and buy the book today! And be sure to stay tuned for our Q&A later this week with authors Ellen Brown and John Wiley.
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