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König Alkohol

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,469 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Als Fünfjähriger probiert er aus Neugier Bier, als Siebenjähriger trinkt er aus Todesangst einige Liter Rotwein: beide Male kostet es ihn fast das Leben. Doch schon der vierzehnjährige Jack London lernt, daß der ihm so widerliche Alkohol ein wesentlicher Bestandteil der wilden, für ihn von Abenteuer und Romantik erfüllten Männerwelt ist, die ihn fortlockt von seiner ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published 1994 by dtv (first published 1913)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Sci-(Fi) Nerd Mario
A disturbing memorial against the indelible trivialization and glorification of a widely used drug

London concludes that it essential to be a proponent of suffragettes and emancipation to start a social change towards prohibition and a not drug-poisoned youth and no millions of suffering relatives, which is noble and worthy of imitation. The idea fails because of the addictive affinity of man.

The path is described impressively as the decline of a human being in a world characterized by tolerance
...more
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
...more
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
If you want to know what its 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 ...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 ...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.
Robert
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 Ive read of Jack Londons was when I was a kid, Call of the Wild and White Fang.
John Barleycorn begins with Londons vote for womens 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 life. I don
...more
Bogdan Teodorescu
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Honestly, the best Jack London read of mine. The most original, profound, and personal of his works in my opinion. It tells the story of Jack London, and now I can say that I really understood him. He clearly was a different man, he was obviously at an upper level than everybody else, but he was not a genius, and you can see that by reading this book.

As I said before, I need to say it again, this whole book seemed somehow original to me. Never read anything like it before. Almost, almost never
...more
Abraham Lewik
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trivia, real
A sensational tale of author renowned for ripping yarns. His frank statements on alcohol are a slight tarnish, although his advice may be sage the story would hold together without them. It is a rather salient point throughout the autobiography, his alcohol consumption. Mr. London had corrected his hard life into a good life, one which ultimately seems to have been lived in excess but not at all in decadence. Makes for great imaginative fodder.

A tale of wanderlust & globe-trotting. There is
...more
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 Londons
...more
Chris Jones
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading John Barleycorn is like being trapped in a 4 hour AA meeting where the guest speaker is an uncommonly eloquent asshole. Everyone who's been to meetings somewhat regularly has encountered a douche like Jack London: someone who laments the miseries alcohol has done them while seeming to brag about them as well, a person who has managed to accept that he is powerless over alcohol but somehow never managed to humble himself to it.

Read this for the descriptions of the 19th century Bay Area
...more
Dan
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cements Jack London into a top ten favorite authors spot for me. He writes about everything with intensity and intellectual acuity. His descriptions of various stages of inebriation, reasons for drinking and internal struggles make for compelling and very relatable reading. And although he pledges to temper his habit I love how he doesn't give up drinking in the end. A happy ending!!!!!
But seriously,an honest and interesting look at the man's life through his varied experiences with
...more
Jay
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
London starts and ends this book with a diatribe for prohibition, but the large middle of the book contains his braggadocio and humorous accounts of getting and being drunk. For someone who seemed to relish the drunken life, Londons exhortations for prohibition feel like lip service. Well written, and makes me surprised that London lived as long as he did. This made me consider my own anecdotes of epic-to-me drunken nights, and I am but a piker compared to London. Quite a life...and to end up a ...more
LauraT
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually ***1/2
Terribly lucid analisys of alcoolism. Even if I don't think that prohibition could solve the problem ...
David
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book fooled me at firstits not the standard Jack London motif that begins and ends with epic adventure. Instead, its a bibliographic account of Londons relationship with alcohol, whom he refers to as John Barleycorn. London denies that he is an alcoholic, disclaiming any innate physical craving for drink. Instead, he tells the story of how John Barleycorn seduces in a context of socialization. He doesnt like the taste of liquor, wine, or beer, and for 20 years or so he only imbibed when ...more
Leslie Stutheit
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know that there was a controversy regarding the validity of London's experiences as recorded in this book. That being said, I think I was confused because the slow spiral into addiction London describes is incredibly plausible.

As an entirely too angsty young person, I read this right before my 21st birthday. I have known alcoholics and have heard their stories but there is no comparison between hearing their accounts and vicariously living through London's writing.
Joel Robert Ballard
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
...more
Hujie
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Usually if a person can write 200 pages about his feeling toward one thing, he must be very self-indulgent. Such a book tends to be so sticky and marshmallow that I want to run away from it. John Barleycorn is an exception. I attribute this exception to Jack London's tough and practical life and also as his unstoppable energy. As a foreigner reading this book, I didn't know many words, but somehow when these words were put together, I feel his language is much more lively than many other books.
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.
Neil Mill
jack london is a my favorite writer in America with steinbeck..
Jakub Karda
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love It! My personal Holy Bible!
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
Mitchell Dorn
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I read John Barleycorn I read the biographical novel, Sailor on Horseback, by Irving Stone, about Jack London. Being that Ive never heard of or dissected the meaning of a biographical novel I still dont know the extent of hyperbole used. Regardless, it may be the best biography I have read to date. Prior to that I have read a few of Jack Londons tales, including The Call of the Wild and White Fang, Before Adam, and The Iron Heel. The more I read of London the more I understand that Ive ...more
Wendy
If you're a fan of Jack London adventure stories and heard that 'John Barleycorn' was Jack London's autobiography, naturally you'd be interested. Unfortunately, you'll be disappointed because the only adventures here are drinking adventures and the only autobiographical material is likewise drinking related. This is really a pro Prohibition booklet and you'll quickly tire of repeated explanations as to why John Barleycorn is bad. You will learn that saloons were/are the only warm place for poor ...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
...more
Danny
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was the first book by Jack London that I've read as an adult. I didn't find John Barleycorn to be a tough read or even remarkably written by Jack London but what it maybe lacked in complexity it made up for with pure honesty. i am not overly familiar with Jack London, despite living within a few miles of his homestead and did not know he was an alcoholic for a lot of his life. As someone who can relate very closely to a lot of what he was writing about, I enjoyed the book and it's insight ...more
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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
...more

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184 likes · 106 comments
“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.” 21 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’.” 13 likes
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