April 2014: A Big Book is Born

In a 1954 speech in Texas, our co-founder Bill W. recalls the early days of our book

The Book, the Steps and Higher Power: An early marked-up copy of the beginning of Chapter 5, "How It Works," showing suggested changes to the text.

How in God's name are we going to carry this message to others?” Bill asked the early AA members. “We have to take some kind of chance.” So in 1938 and 1939, the group set out to put together a book. Here are some excerpts from Bill W.’s recollection of that memorable year and a half.

The Umpire
So, the preparation started and some more chapters were done and we went into AA meetings in New York with these chapters in the rough. It wasn’t like chicken-in-the-rough; the boys didn’t eat those chapters up at all. I suddenly discovered that I was in...

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"Lighting Candles in Dark Caverns." To read Bill's entire 1954 speech, visit