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How 155,000 copies of ‘The Great Gatsby’ were pivotal for World War II soldiers and F Scott Fitzgerald

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic piece of literature today that has been read by millions. 

The book set on Long Island during the Jazz Age is a work read by English classes across the country.

The story told by narrator Nick Carraway about his wealthy, mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and his love for Daisy Buchanan wasn’t always one popular among critics. 

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Fitzgerald’s earlier works, “The Side of Paradise” (1920) and “The Beautiful and Damned” (1922), were much better received.

Fitzgerald never got to see the success of “The Great Gatsby” in his lifetime. 

Initially, when the book was a mere $2 to buy, there were fewer than 20,000 copies sold. 

The very last royalty check Fitzgerald received for the work before his death on Dec. 21, 1940, was for $13.13, according to the Washington Post. 

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It wasn’t until World War II that “The Great Gatsby” saw a huge boost in popularity.

During the war, the United States government came up with a program in which they shipped out pocket-sized versions of books for soldiers to read in their downtime. “The Great Gatsby” was one of the books chosen for this program. 

The books chosen fell into a wide variety of genres, so there was something for everyone. 

There were a total of 1,324 titles published in the series, according to the Library of Congress.

There were 155,000 free Armed Service Editions of “The Great Gatsby” given to U.S. soldiers, according to the Library of Congress.

After that was when the book saw a huge boost in popularity. 

Now, there have been more than 25 million copies of “The Great Gatsby” sold. 

The story has also been made for the big screen four times.

The newest film version of the book is the most popular. The Baz Luhrmann-directed movie sees Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. 

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