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The Crack Up

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0811200516
ISBN-10: 0811200515
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1941) was one of the literary titans of the 20th century. A member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, Fitzgerald’s writings best captured what he termed “The Jazz Age,” a period of declining traditional American values, prohibition and speakeasies, and great leaps in modernist trends. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (February 1, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811200515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811200516
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,693,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Avery on March 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
"This is too real and there ain't no escape" -- Nick Lowe, "Cracking Up"

I carried F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE CRACK-UP around with me for almost ten years before I got around to reading it last month. It was one of those books that I felt I was literarily required to read, what with my affection for all things Fitzgerald -- especially Gatsby. Once I got into the book, I found parts of it fairly impenetrable, which must have been Fitzgerald's state of mind while writing some of the material, a posthumous hodgepodge of uncollected pieces, samplings of notebooks, and unpublished letters (both from and to the author).

An excellent companion piece to the book is the PBS American Masters documentary, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: WINTER DREAMS, which draws heavily from THE CRACK-UP. The film, in its quest to simulate the elegance that its subject so desperately tried (and failed) to attain, unfortunately breezes over some key points in the writer's life; but the DVD is well worth checking out (literally, either from your local library or Netflix). (PBS's website makes up for some of these omissions with a nifty timeline that puts all of Fitzgerald's accomplishments into context with the tragic goings-on in his life. It also offers some additional footage that does not appear in the film, most notably interviews with E.L. Doctorow and Budd Schulberg, who wrote the screenplay for On the Waterfront and who, as a young screenwriter, was rewritten by Fitzgerald.)

Originally written as three essays for Esquire in 1936, "The Crack-Up" was Fitzgerald's bearing of his soul, his confession, his mea culpa to the world at large for letting them -- and himself -- down.
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Format: Paperback
F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the dreams and aspirations of so many people when he wrote of the fabulous excesses of the 20's - a time not unlike the recent "get-rich-quick" mania of the Internet bubble, which also crashed, destroying many fortunes and lifestyles.
In The Crack-Up Fitzgerald writes equally poignantly of the agony of the aftermath of such excess and unfulfilled desires and social insecurities. He was able to capture all of this so clearly because it was the life that he and Zelda aspired to and, from time to time, lived. But they were always just on the outside, depending on the generosity of others both financially socially. He takes no prisoners.
It is no surprise that he is still being widely read. Don't miss Fitzgeral - it doesn't really matter which of his books you start with, you will find yourself moving through the collection.
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Format: Paperback
If you ever wondered what the down side of the twenties were read this. The excess was all a grand show, an escape from post war realities. A whole generation seemed to refuse to grow up, at least for awhile. Maturity was forced upon Scott and in these short confessions he reveals that all was not well in paradise. He lived in a haze of liquor, that was the dream preserving liquid illusion. But reality was not to be fought off forever. This is as close to a biography as we have from Scott, and it is moving in the way it is moving to see an athlete we all wanted to believe would live forever come to his day of retirement. He had the ability or charisma compounded by artistic talent to embody not just his but a whole societies dreams. But his moment passed and by the time Scott wrote this his books were no longer the rage. What makes him such a tragic figure is that he never altogether let go of those first illusons, never went through a moment where he learned from them and let them go. And one senses just as he had the egotists ability to romanticize his life with his words he also had the ability to perhaps overdramatize his own demise. He was not a person to learn, become made of harder stuff, and continue. Still there is some good stuff in this book. His letters to his daughter( who also wished to become a writer) in which he urges her to read great authors including his own favorite Browning are touching and revealing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently become enraptured by not only New York of the 20's but also of the literary works of the lost generation. Over the past few months I have found myself turning to the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and William Seabrook (No Hiding Place An Autobiography) anytime I want to read some fiction. Having read much of this, The Crack Up rises to the top as a true gem.

The book is made up of a series of short narratives that Fitzgerald wrote describing the world around him leading up to his death at the age of 44. As usual his writing is so incredibly lucid and eloquent that you are not only transported to the place but can sense the anguish and frustration that he feels with his life. Take this excerpt for example:

"The tempo of the city had changed sharply. The uncertainties of 1920 were drowned in a steady golden roar and many of our friends had grown wealthy. But the restlessness of New York in 1927 approached hysteria. The parties were bigger, the catering to dissipation set an example to Paris, the shows were broader, the buildings higher, the morals looser and the whiskey cheaper" - Pg. 30

The middle of the book is made of some lists that Fitzgerald was obsessed with making and the final section is filled with his personal correspondence. The letters between him and Hemingway are true gems.

Highly Recommended
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