Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $17.95
  • Save: $5.62 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Not God: A History of Alc... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book in Good Condition. Book shows wear. Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! fast Amazon shipping plus hassle free return policy means your satisfaction is guaranteed! tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous Paperback – April 1, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.33
$8.24 $5.05

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$12.33 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous
  • +
  • The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning
  • +
  • Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects - Steps Six and Seven
Total price: $37.26
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ernie Kurtz received his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University in 1978. His doctoral dissertation was published as the book, Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since then, he has published The Spirituality of Imperfection, and the booklet, Shame and Guilt: Characteristics of the Dependency Cycle. He has also published a number of articles, both scholarly and popular, on topics related to his interests and has lectured nationally and internationally on subjects related to the academic study of spirituality. Some of his articles have been published in the 1999 book, The Collected Ernie Kurtz. Dr. Kurtz taught American History and the History of Religion in America at the University of Georgia and Loyola University of Chicago. From 1978 to 1997, he served on the faculty of the Rutgers University Summer School of Alcohol Studies and from 1987 to 1997 as a lecturer at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. After a brief stint as Director of Research and Education at Guest House, then an alcoholism treatment facility for Catholic clergy, Ernie retired to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and began taking classes in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He continued to travel widely offering presentations until late 1997, when a botched medical procedure led to spinal surgery that only partially restored his ability to stand and walk. Noting that "it is ironic that I now walk like a drunk," Ernie now devotes time to the intricacies and possibilities of electronic research in this field.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden; First Thus edition (April 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894860658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894860652
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert W. Smith on August 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
well, in my opinion, kurtz accomplished a quite difficult undertaking. it started out as a doctoral dissertation and it was revised a bit for public reading. kurtz describes some of the earliest history of Alcoholics Anonymous. more than that, he examines the underlying cultural evolution that led to the foundation of AA (e.g., the Oxford Movement). it examines a bit of the spread of AA in the USA and elsewhere. i think, perhaps, most importantly, kurtz discusses the psychological dynamics involved in overcoming an addiction, not by masterful tactics, but rather, humility, belief in some form of higher power. that humility, and the power of group processes and sponsorship's guidance, lead the active alcoholic into a potential life of great contributions in guiding others in their search for a way of living without living and finding a life of purpose. i liked it! it was well documented. i take issue with a couple of historical "facts", but, with 99.999% of the facts presented in this book, they appear accurate. this book is, in the words of an original AA'er, "rather pedantic", so, if you're not inclined to read scholarly stuff, it's probably not the most desirable of books to read. if, however, you enjoy scholarly texts, you are intrigued by AA and its history, then this book is very highly recommended. i give it an "A+".
Comment 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is absolutely an essential history of AA. I would say, "THE essential history", but different people have different needs.

Like Dick B., I find Kurtz's footnotes to be a rich vein for further research. I also found refreshing Kurtz's resistance to the hagiography or iconoclasm that usually accompanies histories of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, AA's co-founders.

It may be helpful to remember that Not God is a reworked dissertation in American Studies, not History. It is essentially academic, but Kurtz retains the ability to marvel at the mystery of the miraculous recoveries that have resulted from the rise of twelve-step programs.
Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Good book without the mumbo jumbo that one usually finds on the subject. He tackles the question: "Is AA a cult" by describing the common characteristics of cults. A book for the thinking AA member and those interested in the background of a very influential movement that started in the USA and has spread over a large part of the developed world.
9 Comments 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Bookrook on August 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wonderfully insightful for all. Splendidly illustrates the history and formation of AA and it's painstaking growth through the early formative years of AA.

A great read!
Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far the most in-depth history I have read to date on the A.A. program. Definitely not a fast read, it is written like a textbook. I am finding it very helpful in my quest to understand the origins of A.A., and what the organization has been through to bring it to it's current state as I know it.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kurtz masterfully captures the early days of AA. This book is a must read for students of the 12 Steps and anyone interested in this spiritual program of recovery that has improved the lives of millions. -- Frank D., Author of The Annotated AA Handbook
Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a replacement for one I had read and given away several years ago. It is a must read for anyone wanting to know how AA came to be and what it's deepest core philosophy is about. This book was written as a research project by a man (who is not an alcoholic or addict) that received authorization from AA to research their archives in preparing the book. The actual reading is split into two parts. The first is the most detailed explanation of the origin and development of AA that exists. It describes what is written in the AA approved literature but goes into so much more detail, particularly about the decisions made by individual groups during the formative years of AA which lead to the development of the "steps" and "traditions" and overall group harmony. The second half of the book describes in painstaking detail the notion of "not God" and how it applies to the AA view of surrender to win. I first bought this book after my AA sponsor requested I read it after I had been sober about 10 years. It is clearly written and concise but 456 pages of microprint. Around the time I read this I became a licensed counselor working in drug treatment facilities and used much of what I gained from this book to pass on to newly recovering addicts trying to understand community based recovery through the various 12 Step programs. I believe the material in this book (along with the approved 12 Step material) allowed me to convey a deeper understanding to people of why to consider 12 step programs after treatment than I could have with only the institutional training I got in graduate school. I reread the first half of the book about 5 years ago after 20 years of sobriety and found it just as interesting and refreshing as the first reading years before. As I say, it is must reading for persons serious about 12 Step recovery. Don't pick it up for light reading because that it is not.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
for those with an interest in the history of AA this is an excellent place to start and finish. provides history of how AA grew as well as what was going on in the U.S. while AA was growing. and details why it succeeded so well and still can today. reads like a novel not a text book.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous