Gone with the Wind is a novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea”. This historical novel features a coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.
The book was first published on June 10, 1936 (on bookstands by June 30). Mitchell hoped the book she wrote on her own time in her Midtown apartment would sell 5,000 copies. Within 6 months, Gone with the Wind sold one million copies. Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. It was adapted into the 1939 film of the same name, which is often considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.
Margaret Mitchell didn’t want anyone to know she was writing a book. She would hide her book chapters in envelopes around her Midtown apartment when guests came over. Mitchell gave H. S. Latham, a vice president of the Macmillan Company, the only copy of the manuscript. If he had lost it, the book would have been gone forever.