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

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Overview

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood presents the first comprehensive overview of how this iconic novel became an international phenomenon that has managed to sustain the public's interest for seventy-five years. Various Mitchell biographies and several compilations of her letters tell part of the story, but, until now, no single source has revealed the full saga. This entertaining account of a literary and pop culture phenomenon tells how Mitchell's book was ...
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Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood

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Overview

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood presents the first comprehensive overview of how this iconic novel became an international phenomenon that has managed to sustain the public's interest for seventy-five years. Various Mitchell biographies and several compilations of her letters tell part of the story, but, until now, no single source has revealed the full saga. This entertaining account of a literary and pop culture phenomenon tells how Mitchell's book was developed, marketed, distributed, and otherwise groomed for success in the 1930s—and the savvy measures taken since then by the author, her publisher, and her estate to ensure its longevity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the landmark film, this volume charts Mitchell’s course from unpublished author to enduring, international success. Brown, a rare book dealer, and Wiley, who has for 25 years published a quarterly Gone With the Wind newsletter, set aside exegesis in favor of the lesser-known "insider" look at one of publishing’s benchmark phenomenon, the book industry during the '30s and '40s, the toll that fame exacted upon Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, as well as the challenges of building and preserving a legacy. Featuring key players in Mitchell’s story—including her brother and lawyer Stephen Mitchell, friends Lois Cole and Allan Taylor, Macmillan editors, producer David O. Selznick, and others—the authors expertly turn even the most technical subjects into an adventure. Whether contending with onerous contracts, copyright infringements, unauthorized editions, betrayals, and other problems stemming from sudden acclaim, Mitchell remained grounded in principles, responding with grace and a firm insistence on accuracy. She is revealed here as a most humane figure in a sobering, affective examination of celebrity that is also a testament to perseverance. Photos. (Feb.)
Style Weekly
...[T]he story behind the story is the riveting equivalent of a literary thriller.
Boomer Magazine
Amazingly, Brown and Wiley have written a book about a novel that...reads like a novel.
Fine Books & Collections
With such comprehensive research and dynamic writing, this book is certain to appeal to a wide audience of literary, history, and film buffs.
Deep South Magazine
...[R]eads like an intriguing international mystery. Granted unprecedented access to records and correspondence about the book’s publishing, movie that followed and legacy that remains, the authors reveal the whole saga—worthy of a fainting spell from Scarlett herself.
River City Fiction blog
[Brown and Wiley] tell a new version of events and give a fuller picture of the phenomenon than anyone before.
Richmond Times Dispatch
A must-read for aficionados, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind is engaging history—and a powerful testament to the plucky Georgian who birthed her fictional baby and then, with dignity and grace, protected that child from tasteless, dishonest and unworthy assaults.
Gone With the Wind Scrapbook
Immaculately researched and addictively readable...a fascinating read for both casual and fervent fans alike.
Author Magazine
Who would image that a book about the publication history of a novel would be so fascinating?
Midwest Book Review
A fascinating exploration of literature, culture, and film, 'Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood' is a fine read and highly recommended.
Las Vegas Review Journal
...[W]ill fascinate not only fans of the book and movie, but anyone interested in literary/filmmaking development.
Ventura County Star
Learning more about how this fascinating book came into being and how it still stands up to today's reading demands is a captivating subject, and Brown and Wiley do an admirable job shining light on the process.
StarNews
[W]ill enthrall the general reader as well as the wannabe author.
The Midwest Book Review
A fascinating exploration of literature, culture, and film, 'Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood' is a fine read and highly recommended.
Devourer of Books blog
People with an interest in Gone With the Wind and the publishing business in general will find much to fascinate in this captivating history of the Gone With the Wind empire. Highly recommended.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Entertaining and thoroughly researched, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind provides fascinating new insights into the woman who created one of the world's most famous and enduring couples.
Executive Producer of Georgia Public Broadcasting's documentary
Oh my goodness what a beautiful book! I started reading and couldn’t put it down last night, turned off the light close to 1am. A real winner.
The Book Lady's Blog - Rebecca Joines Schinsky
In a narrative as engaging and well-paced as that of Gone With the Wind itself, Brown and Wiley chronicle the journey of the story that captured the world’s imagination and the woman whose tireless efforts changed the way books are made, sold, and read. This is a celebration of the unique power great books have to shelter, heal, and unite us and it is a must-read for anyone who has wondered what life is like for the artists whose work changes our lives.
Steve Berry
History is one of my loves and any book that delves into the hidden, behind-the-scenes stories of great events fascinates me. Ellen Brown and John Wiley have written just such a book, explaining the untold story of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. This is a must read for any aficionado of this classic in American literature.
Dean King
Who would have thought that reading a book about the writing of Gone With the Wind could be almost as riveting as the real thing? In this deep examination of the life and times of GWTW, Brown and Wiley have inked a masterwork of their own. Booklovers of all stripes—not just those who bleed scarlet when pricked—will be enthralled by this story of one of the great literary successes of modern times.
Cavalier House Books
Fans of GWTW will surely enjoy this new book, but anyone with an interest in writing, publishing, or bookselling will find something to appreciate in this look inside the industry. Mitchell's book had quite a life of its own and reading about it from conception to publishing phenomenon to international copyright horror is endlessly fascinating. Margaret Mitchell alone imbues the book with such a charming and vivacious spirit I felt I couldn't get enough of her.
Susann Cokal
Brown and Wiley give Mitchell’s monumental novel its due here. Drawing on meticulous research and unprecedented access to private papers, they follow Gone With the Wind from the glimmer of an idea to explosion as a global bestseller, hugely popular film, and subject of heated copyright battles. This is a vivid, highly readable account of the life of a story—and, incidentally, of its spirited, scrappy author. It is also a remarkable contribution to publishing history and literary studies.
From the Publisher
[A] fascinating perspective on the life of a tremendously successful book... New Books in Biography
Richmond Times-Dispatch
A must-read for aficionados, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind is engaging history—and a powerful testament to the plucky Georgian who birthed her fictional baby and then, with dignity and grace, protected that child from tasteless, dishonest and unworthy assaults.
Library Journal
Any novice writer who aspires to pen a phenomenally successful novel will come away wide-eyed from this detailed and well-documented account of the creation, publication, and ongoing product management of Margaret Mitchell's famous novel of the Civil War South, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Freelance author Brown and Gone with the Wind collector Wiley take readers on the journey from Mitchell's typewriter to Hollywood, showing how much care is required to maintain legal rights when it comes to publication, movie production, and merchandising, not to mention the 1930s price wars between drugstore book racks and traditional bookstores. The authors show the genesis of the novel itself, which Mitchell started as a way to fill time as she recuperated from an ankle injury. Once she completed the manuscript, prepublication interest grew. Before long, she found herself coping with fan mail and autograph seekers. The book concludes with current efforts by Mitchell's estate to uphold the copyright, which expires in 2031. VERDICT This will appeal to all fans of the book or the film, as well as popular literary history buffs and writers.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589795679
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/16/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 462,071
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen F. Brown is a rare book dealer and freelance writer specializing in stories about antiquarian books and the rare book industry. She lives in Richmond, Virginia. John Wiley, Jr. owns one of the largest collections of Gone With the Wind memorabilia in private hands, including every American edition of the novel and over 600 foreign editions. He writes a quarterly newsletter, The Scarlett Letter, for GWTW fans and collectors.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Who knew a biography could be such a page turner!

    I couldn't put the nook down! I was always a casual GWTW fan, but this gave me a new understanding and love for it. Beautifully written, this account brings the GWTW journey to life. I applaud the citation and use of so many sources in a way that tells a dynamic story of what could easily just have been a monotone history lesson. I highly recommend this to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Enthralling to the very end

    So much happens in this book and it keeps you engaged the whole time. It was incredible!

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    Excellent Book on GWTW!

    I met one of the author's tonight at public library presentation and 75th anniversary of GWTW. Wiley presented with his dynamic historical context from which he drew most of the research for his book. I truly enjoyed reading it and recommend this for any GWTW fan!

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Must-Have for the GWTW Fan

    My grandmother stood on Peachtree Street during the premier of Gone With the Wind and swore she could have reached out and touched Clark Gable. She introduced me to the novel and movie at a young age, and I've reread it, re-watched it, and treasured it ever since. I was thrilled to see that a new book on this Southern icon was available, and I eagerly read it. Even though I have read a good deal about the book, movie, and Margaret Mitchell, I learned some things from this book that I did not know. I found Brown and Wiley's efforts outstanding, especially when it came to sharing little-known information. For instance, I never knew the role that Lois Cole played in the discovery of the novel. The information on the foreign copyrights and Mitchell's efforts on behalf of other American writers was quite interesting. This book also brings the entire saga, including Ripley's sequel and stage productions, up-to-date; the authors don't simply end the book with Mitchell's death, as so many other works do. If you are a GWTW fan and want to know more about this wonderful book, then this is a book that needs to be a part of your collection.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging account well-told and lovingly-researched

    I am not a hardcore GWTW fan, nor a lover of biographies or history for that matter. That being said, Bestseller's Odyssey was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the life and times of Margaret Mitchell's great work. I received an advance copy of Bestseller's Odyssey with few preconceptions and so was not surprised to discover how little I understood of the publishing industry. What I was not expecting was to be so intrigued by the nature and number of legal hurdles which Mitchell and her work overcame. Extending far beyond its initial print publication, this book details all those who shaped the ultimate path of Gone with the Wind.

    Despite my original ambivalence (apologies all) towards GWTW, I found myself rooting for Mitchell as she struggled to protect her work and maintain her principled stance. My appreciation for Mitchell deepened reading how she overcame each successive challenge as she shepherded the book along its way. I chuckled reading the frequent excerpts from Mitchell's genteel yet fierce correspondence. The depth and breadth of this book was impressive and left me rueful for simpler, more civil times.

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    Posted September 9, 2011

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