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Rhett Butler's People

by Donald McCaig

      Rhett Butler is the disowned son of a cruel South Carolina rice planter, Langston Butler. †Rhett rejects the life of a rice plantation owner and takes to the sea and the gold mines of California and various other fields of endeavor. During the Civil War he became a†blockade runner. His best friend is a former slave, now a freeman, Tunis. †He has a brother, Julian, and a sister, Rosemary, whom he loves dearly. †He has a duel with Shad Watling, Belleís brother, to defend his honor. †Later he rescues Belle from a wretched life in New Orleans and becomes a mentor to her son, Tazewell. †These are all characters in Rhett's background, who pave the way for Gone With the Wind and Scarlett.

McCaig has a sure feel for Mitchell's Rhett, whom he paints as a worldwise charmer. †He portrays the upper class society of the pre-Civil War South. †But he also paints a picture of a Civil War South where poor whites seethe with resentment, with slavery and racism as brutal facts of life. †The scenes of the battlefronts are graphic and powerful.

This is a required read for any fan of Gone With the Wind as it completes many of the voids in the character's personalities.

The Book

St. Martinís Press
August 2008
Mass Market Paperback
0312945787 / 9780312945787
Fiction / Historical / Civil War / America
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2008
© 2008