A historical romantic novel set during the Civil War, Gone with the Wind tells the story of Scarlett O'hara and Rhett Butler and how they survived the war. In the words of Mitchell, she described the novel's plot as that of survival:
Authorized sequels:If Gone With the Wind has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong, and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn't.
The Mitchell estate allowed two sequels: Scarlett and Rhett Butler's People.
Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley, is about the Scarlett and Rhett after war and their love-hate relationship. It was published in 1991 and became a bestseller.
Rhett Butler's People, by Donald McCaig and published in 2007, retells the events in Gone with the Wind from the viewpoint of Rhett Butler.
In 2002, the copyright holders blocked distribution of an unauthorized sequel published in the U.S, The Winds of Tara by Katherine Pinotti, alleging copyright infringement. The story follows Scarlett as she returns to Tara where a family issue threatens Tara and the family's reputation. In it Scarlett shows just how far she will go to protect her family and her home. The book was immediately removed from bookstores by publisher Xlibris. The book sold in excess of 2,000 copies within 2 weeks before being removed. More recently, in 2008, Australian publisher Fontaine Press re-published The Winds of Tara exclusively for their domestic market, avoiding U.S. copyright restrictions.
The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall is a parody retelling the story of Gone with the Wind from the perspective of the slave characters. Attempts were made to block its publication for copyright infringement but under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, it was released in 2001 and became a bestseller.