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Under the Red White and Blue Reviews

Under the Red White and Blue by Greil Marcus

Under the Red White and Blue: Patriotism, Disenchantment and the Stubborn Myth of the Great Gatsby

Greil Marcus

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Non-fiction, History
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 3 Jul 2020
ISBN: 9780300228908

A deep dive into how F. Scott Fitzgerald's vision of the American Dream has been understood, portrayed, distorted, misused, and kept alive

3 stars out of 5
Leo Robson
23 Sep 2020

"Perhaps Marcus felt that a conventional approach would fail to bottle the book’s magic and account for its place in the culture"

It’s typical that Marcus registers no irony or sense of the ridiculous when suggesting that the “place to start” might be the bumpy reputation of a different novel altogether: Moby-Dick. Before long, a peculiar frame of reference emerges. Harold Bloom – whose views on Fitzgerald we do not hear – is quoted on the subject of the Band, because Ishmael’s account of falling in line at funeral processions reminds Marcus of the opening lines of their song “The Weight”, while Edmund Wilson features not as Fitzgerald’s adviser and executor, but because he published his account of Civil War literature, Patriotic Gore (1962), the year after the magazine TV Guide included a listing of John Huston’s film of Melville’s novel.


2 stars out of 5
7 Jul 2020

" Accounts of Great Gatsby adaptations yield scant critical insight"

But if Under the Red White and Blue underwhelms, it delivers on one front: quoting generously from Gatsby itself. Granted it’s a target-rich environment, but there’s an art to this and the excerpts are well-chosen. Anything that drives readers back to a transcendent work, fully “commensurate to [our] capacity for wonder”, is to be commended.