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John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs

Jack London

Book Overview: 

Jack London died at the age of forty. In this autobiographical work, London describes his life as seen through the eyes of John Barleycorn (alcohol). There is much controversy about the cause of his death just as there is about alcoholism and addiction. London’s brutally frank and honest analysis of his own struggles and bouts with alcohol was way before its time and more modern theories of addiction. With remarkable candor and insight, London describes the demons and gods he encountered through both friend and enemy, John Barleycorn.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .to petty routine, who flouted restrictions and the law, who carried their lives and their liberty in their hands. And it was through John Barleycorn that I came to join this glorious company of free souls, unashamed and unafraid.

And the afternoon seabreeze blew its tang into my lungs, and curled the waves in mid-channel. Before it came the scow schooners, wing-and-wing, blowing their horns for the drawbridges to open. Red-stacked tugs tore by, rocking the Razzle Dazzle in the waves of their wake. A sugar barque towed from the "boneyard" to sea. The sun-wash was on the crisping water, and life was big. And Spider sang:

"Oh, it's Lulu, black Lulu, my darling,
Oh, it's where have you been so long?
Been layin' in jail,
A-waitin' for bail,
Till my bully comes rollin' along."

There it was, the smack and slap of the spirit of revolt, of adventure, of romance, of the things forbidden and done. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Quando vivi una vita degna di un romanzo e scegli di tramutarla in un'opera scrivi un capolavoro. Quando, in questa stessa opera hai il coraggio di porti a nudo senza remore o freni e di giunger persino a parlar del tuo più feroce fantasma, consegui l'eccellenza. Romanzo straordinario. Un altro picc

Me, I drink. My father drank. But he had a hollow leg and I never but once saw him the worse for liquor, the New Year's Day morning (a day on which my parents traditionally had a revolving-door party for their friends and relations) when Brother Peter phoned from Mexico to state that he and his budd

If you want to know what it’s like to live the life of an alcoholic, read this. In this book, Jack London tells us what it is like to live the life of an alcoholic. There is no substitute for a firsthand account. I have spent the last 10 years working as a Substance Abuse Counselor. This is an amazi

This physical loathing for alcohol I have never got over. But I have conquered it. To this day I conquer it every time I take a drink. The palate never ceases to rebel, and the palate can be trusted to know what is good for the body......

John Barleycorn was written by Jack London in 1913 — just thr

Mi è piaciuta davvero molto questa autobiografia. Anzi, questa autobiografia alcoolica (mai titolo fu più azzeccato). Non solo perché è davvero interessante entrare nel pensiero di Jack London e vedere come ragiona questo grande autore, in quello che diventa quasi un monologo. C'è la sua viva voce c

Jack London, tra gli scrittori più conosciuti e letti in assoluto, fa parte della schiera dei miei scrittori preferiti. Uno scrittore passionale, emozionale, riflessivo ed intelligente, accosta una scrittura piena di animosità verso la vita e critico verso la società decadente di fine Ottocento ed i

Finito perché non poteva essere letto a pezzi e bocconi.

Finito perché mio figlio va a fare un giro alle Eolie in barca (in comodato d’uso assieme a due amici, eh!) e vuole averlo in prestito ma solo “se è un tascabile e non uno “importante” da maneggiare con cura.

Guarda, gli ho detto, che io la pen

A disturbing memorial against the indelible trivialization and glorification of a widely used drug

London concludes that it essential to be a proponent of suffragettes and emancipation to start a social change towards prohibition and a not drug-poisoned youth and no millions of suffering relatives, w

Magnifica risposta alla domanda che mi sono fatta leggendo il libro che precede questo nella lista delle letture di quest'anno (carver) e cioè: non è che l'unico vero protagonista della letteratura americana (scrittori e scritti) sia l'acool?

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