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John Barleycorn

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,905 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
First published in 1913, John Barleycorn is the first intelligent literary treatise on alcohol in American literature. London offers acute generalizations on Barleycorn together with a close narrative of his own drinking career, which was heroic in scale. It is, however, as an exercise in autobiography that his book principally attracts the modern reader. London's life was ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Wildside Press (first published 1913)
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else fine
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alcoholic poets, mad revolutionaries
I always believed that Jack London kind of sucked. Like most people, I read 'To Build a Fire' and Call of the Wild in school, and was bored senseless, wishing the hero would just freeze to death faster.

John Barleycorn proved me completely wrong. In it, London is funny and sharp and angry about all the right things. Lately it's been marketed as a pro-prohibition book, which I think obscures the point. London is not concerned with alcoholism as a disease. What he's trying to pin down is the malev
...more
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
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 amazing story. It is a powerful story. It is either a completely true story (if you believe, as I and many others do) that this is an autobiographical story) or this is a story based on unvarnished truth a ...more
Rozzer
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, own
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 buddy, Louie (who would later die of pneumonia in Niger, but that's another story), were in a Mexican prison and his Porsche was being held for ransom. That day we did (my other brothers and I) have to he ...more
Cynthia
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ironic that a book read in preparation for a wine trip to Sonoma would make me understand Prohibition, but there you have it. I get it. Jack London vividly explores a world before TV, before Radio, before the Internet when the local saloon was, for the working classes, their entertainment, their Facebook, the place to network, the place to get a low interest loan, the place to stay warm in the winter, and the place to escape their dull lives. It was, in short, every Iphone application married to ...more
Aric Cushing
Brilliant memoir about alcohol and the ramifications in the Victorian era (and beyond). Exceptional writing. No surprise London was the first superstar American writer celebrity. The ending is an amazing self reflection of life and what it means to be alive, for London. Hard to put down.
Marie-aimée
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personne n'a jamais aussi bien expliqué l'alcoolisme que Jack London, même Zola. Ce récit presque autobiographique est une sorte de Mémoires d'un alcoolique. Toutes les facettes, les raisons et les conséquences de sa consommation sont développées, mais de façon éloquente sans être ennuyante. Pour lui, il y a deux types de buveurs : le plus commun, sans imagination, qui boit à l'excès et s'étale fréquemment par terre, et celui qui a de l'imagination et des visions, lorsqu'il est complètement soul ...more
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The modern myth of the alcoholic or drug addict artist has only been with us a short while. Lord Byron the debauched poet drinking and fucking his way through his short life, Coleridge getting more and more addicted to drugs, eventually losing his talent, family, health and mind. From then we have the drink addled death of Poe, to the Victorian writers who would use opium like Wilkie Collins and who would create characters who openly used cocaine and opium like Sherlock Holmes. And then we come ...more
Brandy
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading “John Barleycorn” has given me a whole new appreciation for London and his writing style. The only other books I’ve read of Jack London’s was when I was a kid, “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”.
John Barleycorn begins with London’s vote for women’s suffrage in the hopes that women would vote for prohibition. His thought process was that the availability of alcohol causes the desire to drink. He then goes on to explain his own experiences with alcohol and the effects it has had on his l
...more
Ioana Crețu
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„Se cred liberi, dar sunt lipsiți de orice libertate, sunt simple jucării ale întâmplării, iar el însuși este la fel ca ei; își dă seama de toate acestea, dar cu o deosebire : el vede, el știe și este conștient de singura sa libertate, aceea de a-și putea grăbi sfârșitul.

Disec această jalnică tragedie a vieții care se devorează pe ea însăși.”

Turquoise Joy
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The worlds of analytics and presumptives have shaped their theories, verdicts, case studies and various conclusions about the alcoholics, and only a tippler himself can confirm any of them. Furthermore, it is in this portal of continuous assumptions and misconceptions that the spirit-possessor, John Barleycorn emerges.

John Barleycorn nudges overboard at times. He pushes his friend to be overacting, talkative and incoherent bottle man. The prominent aspect of this authorship is Mr. Jack London’
...more
Iveta
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Всичко се свършва с последната въздишка: и радостта, и любовта, и скръбта, и макароните, и театърът, и липите, и малиновият сироп, и силата на човешките отношения, и сплетните, и кучешкият лай, и шампанското.
- Твоята ослепителна бяла светлина е болест - казвам аз на Бялата логика. - Ти лъжеш.
- Лъжа, защото говоря много жестоки истини - възразява тя.
Joel
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
It remains my inclination to enjoy a crisp narrative that relies on its dynamic characters, especially the many roles they may take; be they a lone figure, coloring the spectrum of good, or evil, or the various shades in between, or their expression as a large faction (e.g. "the mob was angry"), or perhaps, in their being revealed in nature ("old man willow") or in an animal ("the dog knew something was wrong"), or some sort of mechanical device or vehicle ("the car was being temperamental") or ...more
John
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Preliminery: I am not sure which edition of this classic I read. I purchased my ancient hardback copy at an underground Socialist bookstore across the street from Charing Cross/St. Pancras station in London (Harry Potter movie fans will recognize this location by the Gothic spires). I paid an absurdly high price of 8 pounds but then the Brits have always overcharged from their books, even after Kindle came out.
This book is a classic, an undiscovered diamond in the rough by one of the greatest wr
...more
Nathaly
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book to understand alcoholism.

Autor tušil, že z Alkoholu - kamaráta sa môže stať Alkohol – nepriateľ, ktorý dokáže zničiť všetko – celú osobnosť človeka. Bol natoľko rozumný, že si uvedomoval riziká – stále ich mal na pamäti, ale „spadol“ do toho. Táto klasika ma utvrdila v tom, že za túto chorobu je vinná sčasti spoločnosť, sčasti jedinec. Spoločnosť toleruje túto drogu do obrovských výšin, ale každý ju môže odmietnuť. Pri fľaške sa uzatvárajú obchody dodnes. Autor potreboval poznať vplyvn
...more
Slávek Rydval
Místy jako bych četl o sobě. London nepopisuje jen alkoholismus a to, že on mu vlastně nikdy nepropadl (haha), ale v knize je možné nalézt i téma sebevraždy, deprese a nihilistického náhledu na svět.

* Nejde o to, co by člověk měl nebo neměl dělat. Jde prostě o to, co člověk dělá.
* Démon alkohol se vemlouvá do duší lidí slabých, vyčerpaných a unavených, kteří nemají v životě úspěch. A jak snadno jim dodá útěchy!
* Aby člověk žil, a žil plně, aby překypoval životem, aby byl skutečně živý (skutečně
...more
Raegan Butcher
May 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: drunks and punks and dirty skunks
If this book doesn't make you want to lift a pint or two and get loose, well...you are a stronger human than I. This one always makes me thirsty...even though it is supposed to show the deleterious effects of alcohol.
Pedro Varanda
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um excelente livro de memórias sobre o alcoolismo na época vitoriana, que surprende pela honestidade e lucidez, com que Jack London se expõe. A forma com que apresenta esta luta que perdeu dá bem que pensar. Recomendo.
Jakub Karda
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love It! My personal Holy Bible!
Jozef Melichár
Zaujímavá kniha. Je to akýsi prierez dlhoročného vzťahu medzi autorom a alkoholom so všetkým, čo ku vzťahu patrí- hádky, rozchody, šťastné fázy, vzájomné spoznávanie...
Neil Mill
jack london is a my favorite writer in America with steinbeck..
Jonathan Terranova
Knocked for six
Tiago Saraiva
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uma análise do poder que o vício do álcool tem sobre a sociedade, nomeadamente sobre as populações mais pobres e com uma existência mais negra e dura. Inicialmente começa por se caracterizar como um consumidor de álcool não viciado e que os momentos em que o consome são apenas momentos de confraternização social, mas ao mesmo tempo mostra como o código social está carregado de comportamentos simbólicos que levam as pessoas a consumir álcool, tornando este consumo social como uma bitola de capaci ...more
Bronislava Sencakova
Pamäti alkoholika, ktoré majú čo povedať alkoholikom aj abstinentom, a to nielen o nebezpečenstve koktailov.

V polovici knihy mal Jack ešte len 18 rokov, zato odpité skoro ako 81-ročný. V dvoch tretinách mal jemne cez 20 a prvý raz ochutnal alkohol bohatých - v klube umelcov po výjdení svojej prvej knihy. Medzičasom rozcupoval americký sen a ďalšie americké mýty piliere, napríklad ten o poctivej fyzickej práci či o efektívnom vzdelávacom systéme. Postrehy výborné, ale tie pijácke historky a snaha
...more
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
The modern myth of the alcoholic or drug addict artist has only been with us a short while. Lord Byron the debauched poet drinking and fucking his way through his short life, Coleridge getting more and more addicted to drugs, eventually losing his talent, family, health and mind. From then we have the drink addled death of Poe, to the Victorian writers who would use opium like Wilkie Collins and who would create characters who openly used cocaine and opium like Sherlock Holmes. And then we come ...more
Lori
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Of churches and preachers) "there was no glamour about them, no haze of romance, no promise of adventure. They were the sort with whom things never happened. They lived and remained always in one place, creatures of order and system, narrow, limited, restrained. They were without greatness, without imagination, without cameraderie."

(Of most of the average run of male humans who are not good fellows) "the ones cold of heart and cold of head who don't smoke, drink, nor swear nor do much of anythi
...more
Sean
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack London's story of his own lifelong relationship with alcohol – personified as "John Barleycorn" – is fascinating for residents of Oakland and thereabouts, where so many of London's anecdotes took place. For everyone else, in the Bay Area and beyond, it's an intriguing, creative and well-written take on the pros and cons of drinking and humanity's relationship with alcohol.
Bob Panter
This was an interesting read. Although redundant at times, London's depiction and portrait of the symptoms and commonalities of those affected by addiction (in this case, alcoholism) are accurate and vividly painted for the reader. One who suffers from the condition will agree with many of his words and descriptions.
Cobertizo
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Era el rey de los perseguidos, de los ocultos. Era el más escueto y el de la más sincera palabra. Era la compañía ideal para caminar por la senda de los dioses. Todavía ayuda al desarraigado en su lucha. Su camino estaba hecho de la más desnuda de las verdades y de muerte. Él nos proporcionó visiones de absoluta claridad y sueños de todo. Era enemigo de la vida y maestro de los deseos, más allá de cualquier anhelo de existencia. Fue el asesino de manos rojas que murió violentamente, joven"
J
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe I've met John Barleycorn.
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Goodreads Librari...: Three entries for same book? 3 23 Jul 30, 2014 11:33PM  
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  • The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience
  • Cain's Book
  • Château d'Argol
  • Cruelty To Innocents (The 911 Abductions, #1)
  • The Main
  • The Song Of The World
  • The Drinker
  • The Silverado Squatters by Robert Louis Stevenson, Fiction, Historical, Literary
  • Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
  • The Immortals
  • World Within World: The Autobiography of Stephen Spender (Modern Library)
  • North of Boston
  • Selected Letters 1917-1961
  • Stanley Kubrick: Interviews
1240
Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.
London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
...more
More about Jack London...
“Oh!--and I speak out of later knowledge--Heaven forefend me from the most of the average run of male humans who are not good fellows, the ones cold of heart and cold of head who don't smoke, drink, or swear, or do much of anything else that is brase, and resentful, and stinging, because in their feeble fibres there has never been the stir and prod of life to well over its boundaries and be devilish and daring. One doesn't meet these in saloons, nor rallying to lost causes, nor flaming on the adventure-paths, nor loving as God's own mad lovers. They are too busy keeping their feet dry, conserving their heart-beats, and making unlovely life-successes of their spirit-mediocrity.” 17 likes
“The fortunate man is the one who cannot take more than a couple of drinks without becoming intoxicated. The unfortunate wight is the one who can take many glasses without betraying a sign; who must take numerous glasses in order to get the ‘kick’.” 11 likes
More quotes…