Gone with the Wind is not one of those books you forget about after you finish. It charms you with its sentimental depiction of the antebellum South and persuades you there's nowhere you'd rather be. I read the book slowly over the entire summer, dreading the day when I would reach the end (page 1037 in my copy). Gone with the Wind left me nostalgic for a time I never even experienced and longing for a chivalric gentleman like Rhett Butler to waltz into my life. And then there's Scarlett O'Hara, the feisty and headstrong, yet charming and unabashedly romantic heroine of the story, whose fearlessness continues to dazzle me months after finishing her story. True, author Margaret Mitchell's depictions of slavery strike the modern reader as anachronistic and perhaps even racist, but we should not make the mistake of disregarding her novel entirely for this reason. Mitchell didn't write Gone with the Wind as a commentary on the institution of slavery; she wrote it to tell the story of Southern society before, during, and just after the Civil War. Through the eyes of Scarlett, Rhett, and of course the handsome Ashley Wilkes, we see both their world of elegant balls and summer barbeques in the antebellum period and the struggles they faced in preserving their traditional Southern lifestyle after the war's end. An epic tale of romance, bravery, perseverance and heartbreak, theirs is the story of a defining element in American history,as the introduction says: "a civilization gone with the wind."