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John Barleycorn: `Alcoholic Memoirs' (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 10 Sep 1998
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one of the most memorable of all boozing odysseys' Times Higher Education Supplement
'It is an extraordinary work, boastful and denying by turns ... suspiciously protesting in its detestation of alcohol, but also wholeheartedly committed to the machismo of hard drinking.' Brian Morton, The Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jack London (1876-1916) was an American writer who produced two hundred short stories, more than four hundred nonfiction pieces, twenty novels, and three full-length plays in less than two decades. His best-known works include The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, and White Fang. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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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