There is a reason for the enduring popularity of this saga: it is a ripping good story, fast moving, replete with battles, romance, intrigue, murder, suspense, and a surprisingly strong feminist theme. For all that, Scarlett is such a simpering "Southern belle," but when the chips are down, she takes charge and gets things done no matter the cost. The theme, after all, is surviving change and overcoming obstacles, and the women do that far better than the men (remember poor Ashley?). The audiobook, of course, is far richer than the movie could be; richer characterizations, deeper scene setting and examination of the role of women in the sociology of the South, heart-wrenching descriptions of the carnage of war, and a generally carefully researched history of the period, with many events and even characters that do not appear in the film. To modern ears the language is shocking: pickaninnies, black bucks, darkies (and worse), but this sort of nonchalant racism serves to create the flavor of the times and a better understanding of the pre- and postwar South. Narrator Linda Stephens gets about a B minus; her Scarlett is near perfect, and her other white female Southerners are good, but the white males sound a bit too female, the Northerners sound Southern, and her black characters are just dreadful. There are lots of familiar lines (yes, Rhett really does say he doesn't give a damn) and scenes, and one is struck by how closely the film actors match the authors' descriptions of their characters (or maybe 60-odd years of "knowing" what they look like interferes). All in all, listeners intrepid enough to take this on will not be disappointed. Harriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.