How It Worked: Clarence Snyder and the Early Days of AA
By Mitchell K.
In 1999 we put out an AA history book, printed in Germany by a group of AA members who were considered by many to be radical and controversial. That limited, privately published edition became very popular and was distributed free of charge all over the world. That book was: How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio.
Over the next 19 years, the book achieved notoriety and was widely mentioned and/or quoted in well over 300 books and other publications about AA and recovery. The book was listed in the top 50 books tracing AA History. After all the books were internationally distributed, it became a hard-to-find “classic.” We were seeing copies of this little inexpensively printed (newsprint paper) book selling on-line for hundreds, and even thousands of dollars.
The group of AA Members out of Germany were forced – after being taken to court by AA – to stop publishing any books, including How It Worked. A free Second Edition to meet the ever growing demand was out of the question.
After 19 years of seeing price gouging on the Internet I was convinced by friends to update the book, enlarge its size and content and offer it for sale for a reasonable price on line with International distribution. Ernest Kurtz, PhD wrote the Foreword to the First Edition and William L. White wrote the Foreword to the Second Edition.
A review of the book from Amazon:
Great book. The first edition, published in the 90’s, was very informative. Lots of good stories and background info not to be found anywhere else by the common reader. Mitchell was Clarence’s sponsoree, and so had direct access to the subject himself, as well as some of the key players in the early days of AA history.
Awesome insights into the relationships and motives of the pioneers. Written in a style that’s very familiar, not like an historical thesis or collegiate paper. For a “young fella” like me, this book really helped me to appreciate more the humanity of the AA movement.
2nd edition includes more photos, letters and details, gathered since the publication of the original. This book is a treasure and a must for anyone interested in the early days.
Mitchell K. (Author) came into AA in 1975 and has been continuously sober since his first meeting. He was eventually taken through the steps and sponsored by Clarence Snyder, one of the first 100 AA members, author of a Big Book story in the first three editions of that book (it was removed from the Fourth Edition under mysterious circumstances). Clarence’s sponsor was Dr. Bob, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Mitchell’s journey in recovery has taken many twists and turns. The one constant has been sobriety. As with most growth, there come changes, questions asked, some answered and some, still awaiting answers. His understanding of a power greater than himself has also undergone several changes in over 43 years of life in recovery. He believes in a spiritual understanding of that power, not restricted by man-made religious parameters, rules or dogma.
HOW IT WORKED is a continuation of his journey into the study of AA history. Ever evolving, ever growing, ever discovering. We hope you enjoy reading this updated and enlarged edition and we also hope that it raises more questions and leads to more research and expands our knowledge base about where Alcoholics Anonymous came from, what happened, what it’s like now and more importantly, where it is going in the future for the next generations of alcoholics walking through its doors.