‘GWTW’ prequel to focus on Mammy

NEW YORK — Decades after the publication of “Gone With the Wind,” Mammy is finally getting a back story.

Simon &Schuster imprint Atria announced Thursday that it will publish Donald McCaig’s “Ruth’s Journey” in October. A prequel to Margaret Mitchell’s million-selling 1936 novel, the book was authorized by Mitchell’s estate. McCaig previously wrote an authorized spinoff focused on Rhett Butler, “Rhett’s People.”

“Ruth’s Journey” will track Scarlett O’Hara’s no-nonsense servant’s life from her arrival in Georgia in the early 19th century. In 1939, Mammy was immortalized on film by Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black performer to win an Academy Award. Mitchell’s novel was often criticized for romanticizing antebellum life and for its one-dimensional portraits of blacks.

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