Last updated:
December 05, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous History
The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth

By Dick B.

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The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth

books read by early AAs for spiritual growthIf you would like to know how the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous maintained and grew in the spiritual condition produced by their recovery program, then this book is for you. The author has spent over eight years in travel, research, and interviews discovering the books and other written materials that were studied by members of the highly successful A.A. of the late 1930's.

Here you will find that their primary source book was the Bible—called by A.A. co-founder, Dr. Bob, "The Good Book." There is a summary of the immense amount of spiritual literature that Dr. Bob read, recommended, and loaned to the thousands he helped. Anne Ripley Smith, Dr. Bob's wife, who was called the "Mother of A.A.," assembled a wide variety of spiritual books which she read, recommended, and interpreted to the early A.A.'s and their families at the Smith home on 855 Ardmore Avenue, Akron, Ohio. A.A.'s other "co-founders" in Akron also did a great amount of reading for spiritual growth. And this title contains the books that Henrietta Seiberling, T. Henry and Clarace Williams, and Clarence S. discussed at the meetings of "the alcoholic squad of the Oxford Group," as the early AAs called themselves.

In addition, you will find a comprehensive list of the daily Bible devotionals, and the writings of the Oxford Group and of Sam Shoemaker that inspired early AAs. You will also learn of the large amount of other Christian literature of the day that was studied by Bill and Lois Wilson, and the others in their Oxford Group and alcoholic circle of friends and acquaintances. The recollections of Bill Wilson's secretary, Nell Wing, and of other oldtimers are listed. Without a doubt, this title contains, not only the most recent, but also the most comprehensive report on the spiritual literature that was read and utilized during A.A.'s formative years.

Contents of The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, 7th ed.

Preface to the Seventh Edition

Chap. 1:           The Bible: “The Main Source Book of All”
Chap. 2:           Dr. Bob’s Reading and Recommendations
Chap. 3:           Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939
Chap. 4:           The Upper Room and Bible Devotionals
Chap. 5:           Henrietta Seiberling’s Books
Chap. 6:           T. Henry and Clarace Williams’ Library
Chap. 7:           The Oxford Group Literature
Chap. 8:           The Reverend Sam Shoemaker’s Books and Writings
Chap. 9:           Bill and Lois Wilson’s Comments
Chap. 10:         Nell Wing’s Recollections
Chap. 11:         Pioneer Clarence S.
Chap. 12:         Comments of Other A.A. Oldtimers
Chap. 13:         Some Suggestions for You
Chap. 14:         Conclusion

Appendix:       Inventory of Books on Hand at Calvary House September 12, 1933

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 126 pp.; 6 x 9; perfect bound; 1998; $21.95; ISBN 1-885803-26-5


Dick B.'s son Ken
P.O. Box 262
Kihei, Hawaii
Tel.: (808) 276-4945

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