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John Barleycorn: `Alcoholic Memoirs' (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Jack London , John Sutherland
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 10 Sep 1998 --  
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John Barleycorn: `Alcoholic Memoirs' (Oxford World's Classics) John Barleycorn: `Alcoholic Memoirs' (Oxford World's Classics) 3.8 out of 5 stars (9)
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Book Description

10 Sep 1998 Oxford World's Classics
Published in 1913, this harrowing, autobiographical 'A to Z' of drinking shattered London's reputation as a clean-living adventurer and massively successful author of such books as White Fang and The Call of the Wild.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (10 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192837176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192837172
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,557,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

.

Published in 1913, this harrowing, autobiographical 'A to Z' of drinking shattered London's reputation as a clean-living adventurer and massively successful author of such books as White Fang and The Call of the Wild.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Griffith "Jack" London (born John Griffith Chaney, January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone. He is best remembered as the author of Call of the Wild and White Fang. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boozing For Cruising 18 May 2010
Format:Paperback
A terrific read.You,re there in the adventurous stories ranging across his lifetime.He says that if he had not participated in drinking with his working comrades he would not have made the connections that enabled him to have such an interesting life, as drink helps people bond after the daily barriers are broken down.I think this is amongst his best writing on a par with Martin Eden,The Iron Heel,Call Of The Wild.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Jack London's autobiographical tale, first published in 1913, of his life-long 'battle' with alcoholism makes for compelling reading. Charting his experiences with the mythical figure representing alcohol, John Barleycorn (a figure which dates back to the days of medieval Britain), London takes in his time from his first taste of alcohol (when, at 5 years of age, he was tasked by his father to fetch a pail of beer and, out of curiosity, ended up drinking much of the contents) through to his working experiences as oyster pirate, goldminer, deep-sea sealer, hobo and budding author. As ever, London writes in his style of easy-to-read, but at times lyrically poetic, prose, mixing what is essentially a tragic tale with smatterings of dark humour.

London makes a number of telling points during his tale, perhaps the most significant being his contention that the causes of alcoholism are entirely due to mental, rather than physical addictive, factors - a contention that would appear to be borne out by the continuing difficulty of identifying specific physical causes of the addiction - and that, in his case where he maintains that he was never actually an alcoholic per se, his addiction was almost exclusively caused by the social pressure (and expectation) to drink. In the book, London also creates two personae for the spectre of alcoholism, The Long Sickness and White Logic, the latter of which provides an entertainingly surreal debate with London's 'normal' self, towards the end of the book.

Given the current debate around minimum pricing of alcohol in the UK, London's educational tale provides a stark reminder of the potential dangers of alcoholism, although his particular focus on adult males as the section of society most prone to the dangers, and his plea on behalf of children and contention that women (as 'conservators of the race') will be a preventive influence against the addiction may be misplaced in the context of recent history (certainly in the UK).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cheer up it might never happen 9 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
There is something else happening here. This is more than just a treatise on alcohol (at least the best bits are). Jack London’s White Logic is right. As I interpret it what the Logic states is that all we are is a biological fabric made from the atoms of the universe. Nothing more. Even our consciousness is part of an organic process. From dust we come and shall return. Consciousness is not a ticket to heaven or hell. Any thoughts about being greater than this are delusion. Being sober doesn’t change this and in any case mine’s a Guinness and whiskey please.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting observations 27 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
archaic language and I had to look a lot of words up because of that, but great sentiments about how the mind of an alcoholic works
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3.0 out of 5 stars John Barleycorn by Jack London 2 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting but found it a bit samey but it did have some great characters. Obviously, the poor man had a great struggle with the booze.
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