March 16, 2021

“Gone With the Wind and the Construction of Civil War Memory – Leslie Goddard

March 16 2021

Seventy-five years after its blockbuster premiere in 1939, Gone with the Wind continues to inspire both passionate devotion and academic criticism. One historian has called it “almost certainly the single most powerful influence on American perceptions of the Civil War.” In this illustrated slide lecture about the history of the movie, we’ll consider both the accuracy of its portrayal of the American Civil War and its lasting influence in shaping popular understanding of Civil War history. What accounts for this film’s widespread – and enduring – popularity among viewers? Does Gone with the Wind still matter in scholarly and popular conversations about the Civil War?

Leslie Goddard holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University specializing in U.S. history and American studies, as well as a master’s degree in theater. A former museum director, she is the author of two books on Chicago history and currently serves on the executive board of the Chicago Civil War Round Table. She speaks frequently on topics in history with particular expertise in the areas of Civil War history, women’s history, and Chicago history.