Cover image for Bill W., a different kind of hero : the story of Alcoholics Anonymous
Bill W., a different kind of hero : the story of Alcoholics Anonymous
White, Tom.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, PA : Boyds Mills Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
64 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.2 2.0 80964.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5032.W19 W55 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Bill Wilson, one of the cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous and a revered figure in 12-step communities worldwide, is the subject of this hopeful biography. After discussing Wilson's troubled family life and his service in World War I, White explores his decades-long battle with liquor. Wilson's endless failures at being a "big shot" led him to drink more and more frequently, and each time he had one drink, he found himself unable to stop. His salvation came in the form of faith in a "Higher Power" and fellowship with other alcoholics, which became the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous. Readers will wish for more about Wilson's youth--both because they'll identify more with Wilson the child than Wilson the alcoholic, and because the information would help them better understand the reasons for his drinking. Still, for kids with parents in recovery, this will be a valuable resource, indeed--a readable story that introduces the pain of alcoholism as well as the possibility of recovery through one man's heroic story. --John Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

White, in his first book for children, ably distills events in the life of Bill Wilson (1895-1971) to demonstrate how and why he would go on to found Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill went through his adolescence without ever touching a drink "because of what he knew about the drinking problems of his father and his grandfather Wilson." But at age 20, as a commissioned second lieutenant in the army in 1917, he was offered a Bronx cocktail and "drank to excess" from the get-go. The author lays the groundwork for the drive and obsession with success that would lead to Bill's indefatigable efforts to launch AA. Bill's first obsessive "power drive" occurred when he was but nine years old, just after his father disappeared and Bill's family moved in with his maternal grandparents: Bill's grandfather challenged that "nobody but native Australians could make a boomerang that worked," and after six months of whittling, young Bill emerged with a successful boomerang. The same perseverance won him the spot as captain of the high school baseball team, first violin in the orchestra and senior class president. Yet he could not conquer his drinking problem alone. White smoothly weaves in the principles of AA (spelled out in detail in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions at the volume's close) as he charts Wilson's road to recovery. While this will be of greatest interest to readers who have had some exposure to alcoholism through their families, anyone interested in AA will find many answers here. A thoughtful, well-researched resource that profiles an accidental hero. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-10-An interesting introduction to one of the founders of AA who also helped to build the organization into a worldwide movement. The book starts with a dedication to readers, and may encourage those dealing with their own struggles. Insights into Wilson's feelings and thoughts are based on extensive research at the Stepping Stones Foundation, archives at AA Headquarters, Wilson House, and interviews with Bill's secretary and many AA members. White chronicles his subject's life from his birth in 1895 through his longtime marriage to Lois Burnham, the cofounder of Al-Anon, to his death in 1971. The author portrays him as a sometimes troubled man who made many mistakes but who was able to rise above his defects and serve others. The volume is illustrated with black-and-white photos. Two lists, "The Twelve Steps-" and "The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous," are included. This well-researched biography conveys Bill W.'s energy and strength.-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.