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Writing the Big Book

The Creation of A.A.

William H. Schaberg (author)

ISBN: 9781949481280

Publication Date: Feb 2020

Format: Paperback

The result of eleven years of in-depth research into the formative years of A.A. Granted unprecedented access to the GSO archive, among others, the author reveals the inner workings of the early Fellowship, the conflicts, personalities, failures, and dispels myths of canonical texts.
£38.50

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Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most significant self-help books of the twentieth century with an estimated thirty-seven million copies sold, translated into seventy languages. Released in 1939, the Big Book, as it is commonly known, has spawned a number of recovery communities around the world and remains a vibrant tool in introducing a plan of recovery from addiction in all its manifestations.

It has been forty years since the last scholarly history of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), Ernie Kurtz's Not God, published in 1979. Since then, all books that focus on one or more aspects of A.A. history have relied almost exclusively on the anecdotal stories told long after the fact by Bill Wilson and number of other early members, accounts that have proved at times to be inaccurate.

Writing the Big Book is the result of eleven years of in-depth research into the formative years of A.A. Granted unprecedented access to the GSO archive, among others, the author reveals the inner workings of the early Fellowship, the conflicts, personalities, failures, and dispels myths of canonical texts such as Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, and A Brief History of the Big Book.

Relying, whenever possible, on primary, real-time documents, the author pulls various threads into a remarkably coherent narrative. While the story focuses primarily on the eighteen months between October 1937 (when a book was first proposed) and April, 1939 (when Alcoholics Anonymous was published), relevant events both before and shortly after those dates are fully incorporated. Across the span of these eighteen months, the wealth of available archival materials allows a week-by-week accounting of events, which is presented here through an amazing amount of previously unreported details in a comprehensive and compelling story.

Reviews

"Bill Schaberg does a great service to the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous with his exhaustive examination of archival documents, separating myth from fact. The result is a clearer picture of the beginnings of A.A. and the development of the Big Book, along with a rich and compelling portrait of Bill W. Less myth produces a much better story."
- The Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, D.D., Trustee and past Chair of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Retired Dean and President of the General Theological Seminary, New York

"Like a good suspense novel, this book captures the day-to-day struggles these few intrepid men encountered over those years"
- Linda Farris Jurtz, Professor Emerita, Eastern Michigan University

"Schaberg's study of Alcoholics Anonymous is a true gift to A.A. and its membership, past, present, and future."
- Kevin Hanlon, co-cretor of the documentary Bill W.
Pages 844
Dimensions 235 x 184
Date Published 28 Feb 2020
Publisher Central Recovery Press
Subject/s Social groups   Cultural studies   Social issues & processes   Family & health   History of medicine   Addiction & therapy   20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000   Illness & addiction: social aspects  
William Schaberg graduated from Fairfield University in 1966 with a degree in history. He began his business career in the local family business and ended it 39 years later as the Vice-President of Corporate Development and Communications for the American Reprographics Company. Today, he is the proprietor of Athena Rare Books, a firm specializing in first edition copies of works important to the history of ideas.

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