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The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous Hardcover – September 3, 2010
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Nevertheless, having obtained the finished product, it is well worth the $65 for which it is being sold by Hazelden (pre-orders for the next shipment are discounted there until around the end of November).
The book is VERY high quality, with color plates for each and every page of the manuscript, at actual size. This is a very large, and very heavy book. AA history buffs will absolutely LOVE it. The commentaries help to put the edits in context, and whether you agree or disagree with some of the editorial decisions made, these are what shaped the book that became the foundation of the Fellowship.
I don't doubt that there will be more books to come, each with their own gloss on what is reproduced here. GREAT holiday gift for anyone in AA who loves the Big Book.
Bill Wilson, the primary writer of the book, together with the other contributors, sent out 400 or so copies of the manuscript to psychiatrists, doctors, ministers, and so on, to get their opinions and suggestions and reactions to the book. When they sent their copies back, with commentary, suggestions and comments thought to be of importance were then copied into a "master copy", this book. Some suggestions were taken, some not, but every suggestion for changes written in here was considered important enough to at least talk over with the group by Bill Wilson, or one of the other contributors.
What's interesting to me are some of the small changes that probably didn't mean a lot. True, some of the changes were significant, and a stroke of genius, like the switch from prescriptive language (YOU MUST!!) to descriptive language (this is what we did that has worked for us). Some of the changes not taken are interesting as well. But there are some changes that are small and don't mean much. For example, the wording "we are ordinary Americans" was changed to "we are average Americans" and a comment in the margins says: Do people like being called ordinary? I don't think anybody would notice this line either way. But it reminds me, that this was a group of drunks who wanted to be taken seriously. They had only been sober for, at the most, 4 years. They were insecure and wanted things to be perfect. Even taking the time to change any little word that could possibly harm their credibility. That's very touching and telling to me. I don't know, maybe I'm imagining things but these drunks wanted to help people and be taken seriously that they even worried about saying the book would "instruct". A note in the margins said, "Do people like to be instructed". Very interesting stuff like that!!
If you're interested in Alcoholics Anonymous, the book or the fellowship, or alcoholism, or 12 step programs, this book is definitely worth the price. It's fascinating and, a very well put together, attractive book for the shelf or the coffee table. I don't think you'll regret the purchase at all!!
interesting. I owe my sobriety to my Higher Power. I love the people who created and made possible this book as they
have truly saved my life. I have not 36 years of sobriety, one day at a time and Never forget that my sobriety is a gift and
I thank my Higher Power every day of my life. Without these men and this book, I would have died a long time ago. As it
is I have a really good life and am still learning the life lessons of the 12 steps today. I am soooooo grateful and never
ever take this gift of sobriety for granted. I love this book. colene Walker
The 2 sets of historical review leeds the reader through a comprehensive journey of just exactly what each person was thinking at the time of the changes made in the "Big Book" prior to printing it in 1939. To see what each person did in an effert to create a book that would not create controversy is truly amazing. Everyone should get this book and teach their sponsee's what AA truly is all about. Thank-you to Louis Wilson and Hazelton for bring this original manuscrip to all of us.
The fun part is that, almost without exception, nearly everyone with whom I've shared my copy of the book has wanted to get a copy for themselves (or as a gift for a friend, sponsor, etc.). I'm grateful that I ordered a pre-publication copy through Amazon!