Boats Against the Current: The Honeymoon Summer of Scott and Zelda
- 2 Seas Represents: Dutch, French and Nordic rights.
Mr. Williams, a music producer-turned-filmmaker, and Richard Webb Jr., who taught high school history for 25 years, have a different and somewhat contrarian view of the Fitzgerald landscape. – James Baron, The New York Times
If filmmaker Robert Steven Williams and author Richard Webb, Jr., who is writing a book due out June 26 that will accompany the documentary, have won over skeptical Scribner, himself an academic, they’re doing something right. – Sam Dangremond, Town & Country
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.
The book is beautifully 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.
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 devote much of his time to actively researching her claim.
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.
Richard Webb Jr. is an author, award-winning educator, and documentary filmmaker. He grew up in Westport, down the street from the Fitzgeralds’ place. When he 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 The Great Gatsby, he was stirred to actively researching her claim. Webb is also co-creator and co-producer with Robert Williams of a documentary film Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story which aired on public television earlier this year.