Webb is an author, documentary filmmaker and historian. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he is a multiple award-winning educator who has taught at the high school and university level for more than 25 years. A featured presenter in the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Prohibition documentary Connecticut Goes Dry, Webb is Executive Producer of Gatsby in Connecticut, an F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald documentary by Robert Steven Williams. Boats Against the Current is the companion piece of the film. Considered an authority on Westport history, he is a consultant to several local historical societies and has given talks throughout Fairfield County on the Fitzgeralds’ time in Westport.
Pictured here with Daisy (left) and Zelda (right)
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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, and lays out enough information about the fascinating Mr. Lewis that it is difficult not to believe that author Webb has located the true inspiration for one of the most captivating and iconic characters in American literature, the great Gatsby himself.
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 is curious to know its’ origins.