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By Matthew J. Raphael

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William Griffith Wilson, lately brought up by means of Time journal as one of many hundred so much influential contributors of the 20 th century, is best recognized to many as invoice W., cofounder of Alcoholics nameless. In invoice W. and Mr. Wilson, Matthew J. Raphael, himself a member of A.A. (and writing the following lower than a pseudonym, in accord with AA's culture of anonymity), offers a revealing new examine either the mythical invoice W. and the non-public Mr. Wilson, who attempted to stay except his personal celebrity.

In quest of a extra traditionally actual and whole account, Raphael separates truth from fiction within the regular biographies of Wilson and reveals cause to doubt the literal fact of a few foundational AA tales. He additionally offers a context for Wilson's (and therefore AA's) key rules within the paintings of William James, Carl Jung, and different glossy thinkers. What emerges is an unvarnished portrait of a charismatic guy and social visionary, whose actual greatness is the entire extra obvious in view of his human imperfections.

Readers already conversant in Alcoholics nameless will locate a lot to have interaction them. Others will detect AA and its cofounder from an insider's viewpoint.

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Extra info for Bill W. and Mr. Wilson: The Legend and Life of A.A.’s Cofounder

Sample text

PIO, 1920). After the marital separation, Bill later said, he had “remained depressed for almost a year” (PIO, 25). He also stressed the severity of his psychic injury. He still shivered, he admitted, every time he thought about that picnic at Emerald Lake: “It was an agonizing experience for one who apparently had the emotional sensitivity that I did. I hid the wound, however, and never talked about it with anybody, even my sister” (PIO, 24). ” In a small and conservative New England town, “feelings of shame and disgrace” were probably aroused.

In a small and conservative New England town, “feelings of shame and disgrace” were probably aroused. Bill’s wife Lois later claimed that it had “made him feel set apart and inferior to youngsters who lived with a mother and father” (PIO, 27). After 1905, young Bill Wilson’s life was recentered on his mother’s parents rather than his own: Ella and Gardner Fayette Griffith. Uncle Fayette, as he was known, was a Civil War veteran who had struck it rich in the lumber business and also prospered from rental property in East Dorset, as well as ownership of the village waterworks.

Kurtz points out that, in fact, “little evidence remains of how the lad interpreted his next separation, nor even, indeed, that it was necessarily traumatic at the time” (NG, 10). The lack of such evidence may be one reason Thomsen does not dwell on the matter, once he has shuffled Emily Wilson offstage to Boston. He focuses instead on young Bill’s developing relationship with his grandfather, Fayette Griffith. Before moving on to that, however, let’s see how the other biography of Bill W. deals with the same formative period of his life.

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