Writing the Big Book


The definitive history of the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, told through extensive archival research into the eighteen months between when the Big Book was proposed and published. Relying on primary, real-time documents, the author pieces together the narrative of conceiving, writing and producing the “Big Book,” while demythologizing popular anecdotes about the early history of AA. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW. Official release date is October 22, 2019.

SKU: 978-1-949481-28-0 Categories: , Product ID: 7522
Pages: 844
Format: Hardcover


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 TimersAlcoholics 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.

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Dimensions 7.25 × 9.25 × 1.5 in





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