New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. (2d ed.)

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9781885803276: New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. (2d ed.)

This is the definitive work on the Reverend Canon Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., and his relationship with and contributions to Alcoholics Anonymous and its founder William Griffith Wilson. Prior to the writing of the first edition of this book, few in or out of A.A. had any idea what Bill Wilson really meant when a called Sam Shoemaker a "cofounder" of Alcoholics Anonymous. In this book, however, you will learn the details about Sam Shoemaker, about his participation in and leadership of the American activities of the Oxford Group, his activities in both Calvary Episcopal Church in New York and Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. The book reviews almost every one of Sam's more than 30 published titles as well as many of his articles and sermons. It shows his towering stature as a life-changer, both in early A.A. and later in the Pittsburgh businessmen's scene. Bill Wilson said that Shoemaker had taught Bill and Bob almost all the subjects encompassed in A.A.'s last of the ten Twelve Steps. This book reveals that Bill actually asked Shoemaker to write those steps, but that Shoemaker declined. The reader will see the great resemblance between A.A. Big Book language and the language which Shoemaker used so often in his writings. The personal friendship between Bill and Sam is covered at length. And, in connection with the Second Edition, author Dick B. and his son traveled to the home of one of Shoemaker's daughters to view Sam's personal journal entries about Bill and other early A.A. figures. They then traveled to the Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas, and there searched through 58 boxes of papers that disclosed Shoemaker's correspondence with Wilson, with Roman Catholic priests, with Oxford Group members, and with many others. The appendices in the book are wide-spread in detail and coverage. They include observations by Oxford Group people, by Lois Wilson, by Wilson, and others. And, in all, they enable the reader to see this clergyman who was named as one of the leading American preachers just as Bill Wilson and the many Shoemaker admirers saw the man. There are also the articles by Shoemaker about A.A. and the contents of his talks to AAs at their international conventions in St. Louis and Long Beach. Three notable people contributed Forewords to this book--Mrs. W. Irving Harris, wife of Shoemaker's assistant minister, who was a resident of Calvary House where Shoemaker lived and was the steward of the Oxford Group and Shoemaker books sold there; Mrs. Nickie Shoemaker Haggart, Shoemaker's younger daughter, who told of her father's affection for AAs and for Bill; and the distinguished former professor of chemical dependency and counseling at Penn State University, Dr. Karen Plavan. There is simply nothing as important, as comprehensive, or as useful for the study of Bill Wilson's formulation of the Big Book as this study of Wilson and Shoemaker.

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From the Publisher:

This particular volume by A.A.'s "unofficial historian" Dick B. is his latest work on the six major spiritual roots of Alcoholics Anonymous. It relates in detail the writings of the famous Episcopal rector Sam Shoemaker. It tells of Shoemaker's relationship with A.A., with Akron (A.A.'s birthplace), and with A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson. Since Wilson asked Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps, provided him with a copy of the manuscript of A.A.'s basic text, and kept in close personal touch with Sam from 1934 until Sam's death, this book is a vital part of an understanding of A.A., its principles, and practices. It shows the very words and ideas that A.A. incorporated from Sam's writings and tells the story of Sam's circle of friends who gave so much to A.A.

From the Author:

For nine years, I have been researching, traveling, writing, and interviewing to unearth and publicize the much obscured Biblical/Christian roots of A.A. The most challenging task concerned the immense influence of Sam Shoemaker on A.A. Whether you start with the Biblical ideas which A.A. borrowed, or the Christian Fellowship of which it was an integral part, or the Big Book it published, or the Twelve Step program of recovery it developed, Sam Shoemaker is at the heart of the story. You will best understand A.A.'s relationship with the Bible, Quiet Time, the Oxford Group, and the Christian literature of that day, if you understand the specifics about Shoemaker which this book lays out.

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