History v. Hollywood: Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind is a classic movie that has been loved by many Americans over many generations. In 1939, the film won eight Academy Awards. It is a great love story set in the American Civil War and the period of Reconstruction afterwards. Told from the viewpoint of the South, the Confederacy, it is more of a dramatic love story than a war movie. David O. Selznick produced the film and he hired two southerners as advisors for accuracy, Wilbur G. Kurtz and Susan Myrick. With their help, Gone With the Wind is accurate in its portrayal of life for civilians in 1860s America, events, and the background details, yet inaccurate in its portrayal of race relations. The main characters of the film are fictional but are said to be loosely based on characters in real stories told to the author of the novel of the same title by family and friends. There are several military men mentioned in the movie and they are all placed in their proper roles. Abraham Lincoln is stated to be president, William Sherman is said to be a Union general, and General Lee one for the Confederacy, all correct. The places and events are all quite accurate as well. One of the main characters, Ashley Wilkes, is a part of Cobb’s Legion, which was an actual military unit, also called the Georgia Legion. Fort Sumter was accurately portrayed as the start of the war. The battle of Gettysburg was said in the movie to be a very deadly battle and it was. 7,863 total lives were lost in Gettysburg, 4,708 of those were Confederate deaths. William Sherman was responsible for the march that devastated much of Atlanta. The Union soldiers took what they wanted from the farms and homes of civilians in Georgia and burned them down when people fought back.
After the war the South went through a harsh period of rebuilding called the Reconstruction. Carpetbaggers are mentioned and shown several times...