How Historically Accurate Is Gone With The Wind?


3 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
In its details about dates, places and times, Gone With the Wind (I mean the Margaret Mitchell novel) is remarkably accurate. Anything regarding the dates of battles, legislation passed, and even small things like fashions in women's clothing etc, historians tend to be extremely impressed by Mitchell's scholarship.

Of course her analysis of the American Civil War and its aftermath is another matter. However exciting the book may be, and however convincing its style, even its fans can't deny that it shows extreme prejudice. This is mainly towards the Northeners or "Yankees" who are mostly depicted as marauding brutes, looting and pillaging in a manner quite unknown to the "gentlemanly" Southerners. Even more noticeable is her extraordinary depiction - in defiance of most historical records - of plantation slavery as an essentially benevolent institution, with simple-minded slaves depending on their kind owners and, in some cases, rejecting freedom. Mitchell has been rightly criticised for this; I have heard that her real-life views were rather more complex, but couldn't tell you much about that.
Akshay Kalbag Profile
Akshay Kalbag answered
They say history is part fact and part fiction anyway. Margaret Mitchell took a lot of trouble and spent considerable time and resources on making her work as historically accurate as she could. The Librarians at the Carnegie Library located in Atlanta were also involved in helping her with her research. Research went into the kinds of perfumes used, the culture and dance of that time, the Uniforms and dressing fashion of the time, census records and both local and national history. There are however still certain inaccuracies in the book which were presented by Albert Castel in 1986 in the magazine Blue & Grey. Also it is believed to be a partisan book in terms of leaning towards the Confederacy, and so biased. The film glossed up some of the facts in the book even further.
Arun Raj Profile
Arun Raj answered
Gone with the Wind, an American novel was a literary masterpiece written by Margaret Mitchell. It was published in 1936 and went on to won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. The book mentions about the fall of Atlanta in 1864 and the destruction wrought by the war. Most of these elements were not found in the movie by the same name in the year 1939. The book, though fiction, is based on a tremendous amount of historical research. She got her research done with the help of historians and Southern writers of those times. The impeccable narrative of the war and the subsequent tragedy was the highlight of the award winning book.

There is also a part in the book which relates to the Ku Klux Klan, an outcome of the Civil War. Mitchell got the fodder for her story from relatives and neighbours who passed on the war stories of the Civil War to her.

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