It has been forty years since Ernest Kurtz wrote Not-God, the last truly scholarly treatment of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. While many books dealing with A.A. history have been written since then, Writing the Big Book is the first to bring that same kind of exhaustive research, professional discipline and informed insight to the subject.
Focused primarily on the eighteen months from October, 1937, when a book was first proposed, and April, 1939 when Alcoholics Anonymous was published, Schaberg’s history is based on eleven years of research into the wealth of 1930s documents currently preserved in several A.A. archives. Woven together into an exciting narrative, these real-time documents tell an almost week-by-week story of how the book was created, providing many unexpected turns and more than a few surprising departures from the hallowed stories that have been so widely circulated in the past about early A.A. history.
Schaberg delves decisively into question of who, why and how this book was written, providing unexpected answers to those questions, not least of which are the emergence of Bill’s right-hand man, Hank Parkhurst as the unsung hero of the book’s creation and the prominent role that money so often played in the book’s evolution.
Fast paced, engaging and contrary, Writing the Big Book presents a vivid picture of how early A.A. operated and grew along with an amazing amount of previously unreported details about the colorful cast of characters who were responsible for making that group so successful.
This is a book that will definitely change whatever you think you know about early A.A. history and the ways in which the Big Book – so central to the worldwide growth of this important movement of spiritual recovery – actually came into being.