Jack London cut a mythic figure across the American landscape of the early twentieth century. But throughout his colorful life–from his teenage years as an oyster pirate to his various incarnations as a well-traveled seaman, Yukon gold prospector, waterfront brawler, unemployed vagrant, impassioned socialist, and celebrated writer–he retained a predilection for drinking on a prodigious scale. London’s classic "alcoholic memoirs"–the closest thing to an autobiography he ever wrote–are a startlingly honest and vivid account of his life not only as a drinker, but also as a storied adventurer. Richly anecdotal and beautifully written, John Barleycorn stands as the earliest intelligent treatment of alcohol in American literature, and as an intensely moving document of one of America’s finest writers. This Modern Library Paperback Classic includes illustrations from the original edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: John Barleycorn|
|Release Date: 09-22-2010|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneIt all came to me one election day. It was on a warm California afternoon, and I had ridden down into the Valley of the Moon from the ranch to the little village to vote yes and no to a host of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the State of California. Because of the warmth of the day I had had several drinks before casting my ballot, and divers drinks after casting it. Then I had ridden up through the vine-clad hills and rolling pastures of the ranch and arrived at the farmhouse in time for another drink and supper.
"How did you vote on the suffrage amendment?" Charmian asked.
"I voted for it."
She uttered an exclamation of surprise. For be it known, in my younger days, despite my ardent democracy, I had been opposed to woman suffrage. In my later and more tolerant years I had been unenthusiastic in my acceptance of it as an inevitable social phenomenon.
"Now just why did you vote for it?" Charmian asked.
I answered. I answered at length. I answered indignantly. The more I answered, the more indignant I became. (No; I was not drunk. The horse I had ridden was well-named "The Outlaw." I'd like to see any drunken man ride her.)
And yet-how shall I say?-I was lighted up, I was feeling "good," I was pleasantly jingled.
"When the women get the ballot, they will vote for prohibition," I said. "It is the wives, and sisters, and mothers, and they only, who will drive the nails into the coffin of John Barleycorn-"
"But I thought you were a friend to John Barleycorn," Charmian interpolated.
"I am. I was. I am not. I never am. I am never less his friend than when he is with me an...