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Boats Against the Current : The Honeymoon Summer of Scott and Zelda: Westport, Connecticut 1920
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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 best-selling author Barbara Probst Solomon (who grew up across the river from the F.E. Lewis estate) wrote an article in the New Yorker that Westport was the real setting for Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, he was stirred to begin researching her claim.
Boats Against the Current tells the real story behind the famous novel and its hero, and uncovers the actual basis for Fitzgerald's novel, debunking the long-held belief that the book was set 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.
Interwoven with the Fitzgerald in Westport story, Webb recounts his own journey to tell that story, working with fellow Westport resident writer Robert Steven Williams, to make a documentary film that accompanies this book.
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.