There's probably nothing I can say about Gone With the Wind that hasn't already been said, but I'm going to put in a plug for it anyway, because it's an incredible book and because a large number of people (most probably haven't read it) just don't get it--I'm talking particularly about those who think it's a romance novel.
Gone With the Wind is incredible for its value as historical fiction. Written in the early 20th century by an author who grew up hearing stories about the Civil War and Reconstruction, it recreates that era far more successfully than any modern-day writer could. I've lived most of my life within a half-day's drive of Atlanta, but had never heard the South's perspective in the Civil War laid out as it is here. Some have complained that the book is racist, but to me, that's part of the point. This is no whitewashed, modern-day version of what Southerners thought in the 1860s; instead, it's a priceless and sometimes surprising reproduction of what they really thought and how that culture (very different from today's South!) operated.
Aside from the beautiful portrayals of the people, places and events of the time period, there's some good action--those turned off by long books will be surprised at how readable this one is. The main characters, like them or hate them, are well-developed. And, yes, they have love lives. But then, we're modern readers, even if Scarlett isn't, so we should be used to that, right?