Cover image for Getting better : inside alcoholics anonymous
Getting better : inside alcoholics anonymous
Robertson, Nan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [1988]

Physical Description:
298 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Thomas Congdon book."

Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Despite the great deal of information published about Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many details about the organization that have been kept secret-until now. Recovered alcoholic, A.A. member, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nan Robertson finally tells the story of A.A., from its beginnings 50 years ago to its worldwide network that today helps millions. Robertson takes a no-holds-barred look at the checkered lives of founders Bill Wilson and Bob Smith nd at the shaky start of the organization. The author also chronicles A.A.'s growth, reports on A.A. meetings, and tells the story of her own battle with alcohol. A very accessible book that should reassure families of alcoholics and satisfy curiosity about how this highly successful organization works. Notes and sources; to be indexed. MES. 362.2'9286 Alcoholics Anonymous-History / Robertson, Nan / Journalists-U.S.-Biography / Alcoholics-U.S.-Biography [OCLC] 87-31153

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is a comprehensive look at Alcoholics Anonymous by a member who is also a reporter for the New York Times. Robertson traces the history of the organization, which had its roots in the Oxford Movement of the 1930s and was actually formed when alcoholics Bill Wilson and Bob Smith bared their hearts to one another in Akron, Ohio, in 1935. Progress was slow at first, but as A.A. increasingly achieved success, it grew to its present membership, which numbers in the millions. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings follow standard patterns and demand both absolute candor and total anonymity. Robertson also offers insights into Al-Anon, founded for families of alcoholics. She stresses that, counter to popular wisdom, it is not necessary to be devoutly religious to join A.A. and commends society's gaining recognition of alcoholism as a disease. Concluding with her own moving story, Robertson has written an inspiring overview of a noble organization. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Founded in the 1930s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who sought to help each other stay sober one day at a time, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has grown from that shaky fellowship to a world-wide organization of some two million men and women. These two books approach the self-help organization from very different viewpoints. Anyone whose life has been touched in any way by alcoholism will find much of interest in Robertson's book, not least in the story of her own triumphant battle with alcoholism. Robertson, a reporter for the New York Times , provides a highly readable account of the history A.A., not only telling us how it works but giving insight on why. She successfully demystifies the role of religion in A.A. and provides compelling portraits of the co-founders and of various members around the world. Unfortunately, Pittman's book does not engage the reader's attention so forcefully, too often reading like a dissertation. It does provide an interesting historical perspective on the concept of alcoholism as disease, focusing on theories of causation, classification, and treatment from the 1890s to the 1930s. Lengthy but uninspired attention is given to Wilson, but co-founder Smith is hardly mentioned. And although Robertson states that the text of her book was read, edited, and approved by A.A. members in New York and Akron, as required by A.A., Pittman makes no such assertion. Robertson's book is highly recommended. Buy Pittman if demand warrants. Jodith Janes, Univ. Hospitals of Cleveland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.