Good Minds Suggest: Susan Meissner's Favorite Books About Gone with the WindJanuary, 2016
Scarlett O'Hara would have liked the protagonists of Susan Meissner's new novel, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard. Violet and Audrey are her type of people—stubbornly ambitious, with a dreamer's sense of purpose and destiny. Although Violet wants family and Audrey seeks fame, they form a powerful friendship while working on the set of Gone with the Wind during Hollywood's golden age. Meissner expertly weaves together the past and the present, just as she did in her previous books, Secrets of a Charmed Life, A Fall of Marigolds, and The Girl in the Glass. Here she uses Scarlett O'Hara's iconic velvet green hat as the catalyst that years later brings Violet and Audrey's story to their grandchildren. Meissner shares her favorite books about the behind-the-scenes magic and mayhem of Gone with the Wind that inspired her own novel.
The Making of Gone with the Wind by Steve Wilson
"Beautifully composed, this coffee-table-worthy book is a must-have for any Gone with the Wind devotee. The pages tell the story of the film from start to finish, with gorgeous photographs, behind-the-scenes details, and many of Walter Plunkett's costume sketches and William Cameron Menzies' concept paintings. It's published by the University of Texas at Austin, whose Harry Ransom Center has in its museum collection many of the original Gone with the Wind costumes, including the infamous curtain-dress and hat."
Memo from David O. Selznick by David O. Selznick, Rudy Behlmer (editor)
"It's said that Rudy Behlmer, when tasked with editing David O. Selznick's memos for a book, spent his first minutes on the job staring in disbelief at the 2,000 file boxes he would need to sift through! Here is a compilation of a mere selection of Selznick's correspondence, beginning with his first years in the movie industry at MGM in 1926. Selznick, who produced the film version of Gone with the Wind, among other movies, was famous for inundating his cast and crew—and anyone else connected to his films—with memos. Today it would be like getting a never-ending stream of text messages. Selznick was a clever and courageous visionary, and his memos attest to his unceasing attention to detail."
The Complete Gone with the Wind Trivia Book by Paula Bartel
"Any project as monumental and history-making as Gone with the Wind is going to leave behind a trove of trivia. If you want to know which other actresses were screen-tested for the role of Scarlett O'Hara, or how many scenes took place on staircases, or what kinds of jokes Clark Gable played on his fellow cast members (like the time he put real liquor in Hattie McDaniel's glass for the scene when Rhett and Mammy toast the birth of Bonnie), all this and more can be found in this book."
The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone with the Wind by John Wiley Jr. (editor)
"This collection of Margaret Mitchell's private correspondence about the 1939 film version of Gone with the Wind reveals so much about the woman who wanted nothing to do with the film adaptation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Peggy Marsh—Margaret Mitchell's real name—wrote hundreds of letters to fans, friends, critics, and the actors themselves, including Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland. Readers who want to know more about the woman whose bestselling book is still a topic of discussion seven decades after she wrote it need look no further."
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
"No list of books about the making of the movie Gone with the Wind would be complete without Margaret Mitchell's one and only novel in the tally. Her solo work has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated into more than 70 languages. It has been celebrated; it has been banned. It is 1,000-plus pages of love, betrayal, war, sacrifice, struggle, courage, survival, and yes, racial epithets. It is a story about the Old South and the Lost Cause, surely, but the setting is not the story. As with any five-star book, Mitchell's wonderfully flawed characters are what breathe life into this beloved and epic tale. The story question is actually not political but rather something far deeper, and that is: Will loss change us? And if it does, how? Will we recognize ourselves in the end? A must-read."
Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Epic Historical Fiction Books