Short-changing Alcoholics Anonymous History:
Several repeatedly advertised “Alcoholics Anonymous History” titles make the untenable claim that they contain the “comprehensive,” “the best,” “the complete” Alcoholics Anonymous History. But they can’t be and aren’t. And for several important reasons:
(1) Two or three books were published in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. And the couldn’t possibly cover A.A. history adequately, accurately, or completely. Primarily because most of the history had not been unearthed until the mid-1990’s and thereafter. Also because most of the valuable and large repositories of books, manuscripts, and papers were not yet in existence–at places like Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont; Dr. Bob’s Core Library at North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, Ohio; Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Founders Day Archives and Akron Intergroup Archives in Akron, Ohio; the extensive traveling library of Ray G., archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home; the Seiberling Gate Lodge which was only recently renovated and opened to the public; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio; and fledgling efforts at Stepping Stones in Bedford Hills, New York; and Brown University in Rhode Island. I have donated the majority of materials at all but the last two; and my donations were made after 1990 and extensive research and travels.
(2) Many of the writers of individual books never went beyond some particular subject or some geographical area and hence excluded a vast amount of information about the Bible, Oxford Group, Reverend Samuel Shoemaker, Dr. Frank Buchman, W. Irving and Julia Harris, the golden text of A.A., the cures of the early AAs, and “The Solution” in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the books early AAs read, Quiet Time, Dr. Silkworth, Lois Wilson, Bill Wilson’s autobiography, the Akron beginnings of A.A., the Christian upbringing of Dr. Bob and Bill W. in Vermont, Anne Ripley Smith, Henrietta B. Seiberling, Clarence H. Snyder, T. Henry and Clarace Williams, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the rescue missions, the great evangelists like Moody and Sankey, the Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury,, Vermont Congregationalism, the Christian Endeavor Society, East Dorset Congregational Church, North Congregational Church of St.Johnsbury, Manchester Congregational Church, Hartford Seminary, A.A. World Services, Inc., Princeton University Alumni archives, huge Oxford Group collections, Episcopal Church Archives in Texas, Calvary Episcopal Church in New York, St. Johnsbury Academy, Burr and Burton Seminary, and Norwich University in Northfield,,the details about how the first three AAs got sober, the seven point summary of the original Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program; the personal stories of the A.A. pioneers in the First Edition of the Big Book, Cleveland A.A., the whole new era of A.A. History found and to be found in Vermont, and on and on. Plus the sixteen plus practices of the Akron AA Christian Fellowship members,
(3) the writing and changing of the First Edition of the Big Book, the committee of four who changed the whole complexion of A.A. in favor of atheists and agnostics just before the Big Book printer’s manuscript went to press.
With the aid of my son Ken (a non-alcoholic), I have been traveling, investigating, interviewing, reading, collecting, visiting libraries and archives, and reviewing over many more than 30,000 books and papers relevant to A..A. History. This began in 1986 and continues to this day. And there’s more to come.
So far, we have published 46 titles and over 1500 articles on the subject and posted their contents, descriptions, titles, and bibliographic information in blogs, forums, newsletters, radio interviews, videos, and the like. Lots are described extensively in http://www.dickb.com/titles.shtml, amazon.com books, etc.
The intent of the foregoing statements is not to boast of what has been done, but to encourage those who want to know A.A. history and help the alcoholic who still suffers to take the time to read, hear, view, and accurately report A.A. history and keep up with the updates we regularly post.
The newcomer who has the best shot at complete recovery is the one who decides to quit drinking for good, surrender his life to God, work with others; learn about early A.A.’s reliance on God, the Bible, prayer, Quiet Time, and Christian literature; master relevant A.A. Conference-approved literature like the Big Book 1st and 4th editions, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, “Pass It On,” The Language of the Heart, and The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837.
Right now my 29 volume Dick B. Alcoholics Anonymous History Reference Set is available for only $249. plus free shipping in USA, sold far below the $700.00 list price of the individual history books.