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The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous Hardcover – September 1, 2010
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Unable to agree among themselves, the three factions eventually named Bill the final arbiter of the book's content. An initial draft of the manuscript was completed by February. Concerned that the book be widely acceptable, some 400 mimeograph or multilith copies were sent out for comment. As these were returned, it became evident that the book had been well received in all quarters, the medical and religious professions included.
Still, the dispute in NY went on unabated. The minority of "radicals" there had always seen the book as an opportunity to educate the "benighted Akronites" and they pressed their effort to edit God out. In this they had an ally in the person of a Dr. Howard, a NJ psychiatrist whose returned mimeograph was filled with edits deleting "God" and inserting other terms.
From the start, Bill had recognized the two horns of the dilemma facing the book. "If you labeled it a strictly Christian book" all kinds of problems would arise and many alcoholics would stay away, while if "we make a psychological job of it nobody would get well from it.Read more ›
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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this for a friend - it was what he always wanted/ I never opened it. Thanks for finding it.Published 2 months ago by Joel Bartlett
A must read for those inquisitive AA members who like history and tradition.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Like the book for its historical content and the way the book was put together.Published 4 months ago by Aaron H.
I have wanted this book for some time and was able to afford it. Now that I could I was glad it was available. IPublished 4 months ago by Timothy M. Deran
I got this as a Christmas present from my daughter and couldn't help but cry. It is a beautiful work that gives us so many insights to the origins of the program and our... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Theron