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Head of Zeus
The Wrath to Come
The Wrath to Come: Gone with the Wind and the Lies America Tells by Sarah Churchwell

The history America never wanted you to read.

'The narrative took my breath away' Philippe Sands
'An extraordinarily and shockingly powerful read' Peter Frankopan
'One of the must-reads of the year' Suzannah Lipscomb
'Brilliant and provocative' Gavin Esler

Sarah Churchwell examines one of the most enduringly popular stories of all time, Gone with the Wind, to help explain the divisions ripping the United States apart today. Separating fact from fiction, she shows how histories of mythmaking have informed America's racial and gender politics, the controversies over Confederate statues, the resurgence of white nationalism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the enduring power of the American Dream, and the violence of Trumpism.

Gone with the Wind was an instant bestseller when it was published in 1936; its film version became the most successful Hollywood film of all time. Today the story's racism is again a subject of controversy, but it was just as controversial in the 1930s, foreshadowing today's debates over race and American fascism. In The Wrath to Come, Sarah Churchwell charts an extraordinary journey through 160 years of American denialism. From the Lost Cause to the romances behind the Ku Klux Klan, from the invention of the 'ideal' slave plantation to the erasure of interwar fascism, Churchwell shows what happens when we do violence to history, as collective denial turns fictions into lies, and lies into a vicious reality.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Modern History
07 Jul 2022 * 464pp * £9.99 * 9781789542974
'Eye-opening and at times jaw-dropping; a powerful reminder of the prejudices and suffering horrors of the recent past, and a call to arms to learn from the lessons of history. Highly recommended'
Peter Frankopan
'A brilliant and important book that exposes the truths hidden by one of the world's most famous stories and, in so doing, reveals how the (im)moral weight of this tale has not only shaped American culture over the last century but is shaping American politics and society today. One of the must-reads of the year'
Suzannah Lipscomb
'Sarah Churchwell's brilliant and provocative guide to understanding the twenty-first century dis-United States of America explores America's myths about itself, through that great Hollywood myth about the South and racism, Gone With the Wind. If you want to know why Donald Trump connects with so many Americans today, as a link to the 'Lost Cause' of the Confederacy, Churchwell's account offers the answers'
Gavin Esler
'My number one contributor when it comes to US politics'
Dan Snow
Sarah Churchwell
Sarah Churchwell
Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream and Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby. She was co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer's Award and longlisted for the 2021 Orwell Prize for Journalism.