Watch the film. Read the book.

 “As the fourth generation of Charleses (in our redundant family) involved in publishing this classic Jazz Age novel, I read every new book written about it. This one is quite simply the most original, entertaining and dramatic new window on the origins of Gatsby and the syncopated lives of Scott and Zelda in decades! It’s as brilliant as Fitzgerald’s ‘Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ and reads like a detective story illustrated by photos worthy of the cinema screen (no surprise it will soon be a documentary film). Refreshing, engaging, enlightening, and as fun as one of Gatsby’s parties, it is more than a beautiful book: it is a gift, indeed a treasure. Five stars plus a green light!”

Charles Scribner III

 

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald honeymooned for five months in the summer of 1920 in a modest gray house in Westport, Connecticut. It was an experience that had a more profound impact on both of their collective works than any other place they lived.

It was, for Scott and Zelda, their honeymoon. Having just gotten married and after being kicked out of some of New York city’s finest hotels, they were, for the first time, in their very own place, albeit for only five months. It was a time that Scott Fitzgerald called “the happiest year since I was eighteen.”He had, after all, just achieved success with his first novel, This Side of Paradise,and was suddenly basking in money.

The Fitzgeralds lived a wild life of drinking, driving and endless partying while living in suburban Connecticut. As it happens, living near the beach, they were neighbors to a larger-than-life reclusive multi-millionaire, F.E. Lewis.

Historian Richard Webb grew up in Westport a few doors down the street from where the Fitzgeralds had lived some forty years earlier. Fascinated with the Fitzgeralds, when Webb learned that author Barbara Probst Solomon, who grew up across the river from the F.E. Lewis estate, proposed in the New Yorker that Westport was the real setting for Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, he was stirred to actively researching her claim.

Boats Against the Current tells the real story behind the famous novel and its tragic hero, debunking the long-held belief that the book was solely inspired by the Fitzgerald’s time in Great Neck, across the Sound in Long Island.

Illustrated with a fantastic array of never-before-seen photos from the Lewis family, as well as the scrapbooks of the Fitzgeralds, period newspaper clippings, and a myriad of compelling stories about Scott, Zelda and their fantastically wealthy neighbor.

A companion book to the documentary Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story, Boats Against the Current also recounts Webb’s own journey of making the film with fellow Westporter and filmmaker, Robert Steven Williams.

The Great Gatsby may be one of America’s essential novels. Boats Against the Current is an essential document for anyone who has read the book and wondered at the fantastical world whose story it tells.

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