Writing the Big Book: The Creation of A.A.


Product Details

$40.00  $36.80
Central Recovery Press
Publish Date
November 05, 2019
7.0 X 9.6 X 2.5 inches | 3.05 pounds

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About the Author

William H. Schaberg is a scholar and rare book dealer based in Fairfield, Connecticut. His interest in the history of ideas led him to amass a large collection of first edition philosophy texts and inspired his first scholarly work, The Nietzsche Canon: A Publication History and Bibliography (University of Chicago Press, 1995). Schaberg has delivered lectures on Nietzsche, William James, and other philosophers with his mentor King Dykeman at his alma mater, Fairfield University. He has served in the United States Air Force and ran a family printing business for over thirty years before retiring to commit more energy to his bookselling business, Athena Rare Books. Schaberg's scholarly investigation into the authorship of Alcoholics Anonymous was an eleven-year project that, like his Nietzsche book, began with bibliographical confusion over the text's prepublication history and culminated in an unprecedented chronology of the "Big Book" origins.


Publishers Weekly

Writing the Big Book: The Creation of A.A.William H. Schaberg. Central Recovery, $40 (800p) ISBN 978-1-949481-28-0

Rare books dealer Schaberg (The Nietzsche Canon) provides an admirably exhaustive, albeit intimidatingly lengthy, look at the writing of Alcoholic Anonymous's foundational 1939 text--known colloquially as The Big Book, and in full as Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. Through years of archival research, Schaberg uncovered a tremendous amount of first-hand documentation related to the book's composition. He demonstrates a detective's skill in using this evidence to examine accounts by major A.A. figures and identify contradictions, often traceable to what he calls the mythmaking tendencies of A.A.'s charismatic and garrulous founder Bill Wilson, the Big Book's primary author. Among other things, Schaberg shows that the creation of A.A.'s most famous tenet, the 12 Steps, was likely not the sudden, inspired event [Wilson] so frequently reported, but a much more... deliberate affair. Elsewhere, Schaberg demonstrates equal skill as a literary archeologist in excavating past drafts of the book, finding traces of a planned but unwritten chapter about the potential alcoholic still evident in the finished text, and showing how a much-debated internal A.A. decision--to use the word God, but not more creed-specific language--shaped the Steps. The main caveat for general readers will be this book's monumental scale; nonetheless, Schaberg's work is a landmark study. (Oct.)


Writing the Big Book: The Creation of A.A. Written by William H. Schaberg. Published by Central Recovery Press


All I can say is if you are in any way connected to A.A. or want to be, READ this book. It is an incredible source of information from the early days of A.A. and how the Big Book was written. The detailed retelling - based on primary document research - of the events from Sept 1937 to April 1939. We have all heard bits and pieces of how the Big Book was written, and what was originally going to be included, and the debates over the content, as it was being written. William H. Schaberg puts all the pieces together pulled from the vast resources found in the A.A. archives. An enjoyable and easy read. Do not let the size of this book scare you. Each area of the Big Book is outlined and explained, with factual detail. He introduces us to the importance of Hank Parkhurst's influence on the text. William makes sure to include where all this information was obtained from, he took special attention to separate exact quotes and lightly modified. I feel that the author took extreme measures to give us the REAL re-telling of the creation of the Big Book. Thank you, William H. Schaberg, for taking so much time, energy and loving respect in the writing of this vital book. My favorite part was The original Twelve Steps. This book would make a great gift. I loved this book and I can't wait to share al the great facts I learned while reading this book. Five Big Shiny Sober Stars.