Gone with the Wind takes place 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 the destruction of the Civil War. Scarlett lives through an extreme reversal of fortune and wealth, as she searches for love and happiness.
Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the outset and was the top American fiction bestseller in 1936 and 1937. As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, just behind the Bible. More than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide. Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the novel in 1937.