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The original handbook of Alcoholics Anonymous, first published in 1939. The founders of the A.A. fellowship used the book to outline their twelve step program of recovery from alcoholism. Also included are first person narratives written by A.A. members. At the time the first edition was published, no A.A. member had more than five years of sobriety. A.A. has published a number of subsequent books to expand on the ideas presented in the "Big Book."

The original big book was as large as it was because in order to be able to publish it they had to do so on a shoestring budget, and the thicker the paper stock the cheaper it was, so despite the smaller number of pages, the pages were so thick that the book ended up being quite large.

Another interesting fact is that the first edition had a comment on the inside cover to the effect that one could return the book within seven days for a full refund, postage paid. At the time the price of the book was $1.50, but of course this is in 1935 dollars. However, most modern members of AA who hear about this usually end up being highly amused as:

  • AA's coming into the program for the first time often expect to learn everything they need to know
    about the program in the first few days
  • it's highly unlikely that anybody is ever going to benefit from reading -any- edition of the big book
    after only seven days...

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