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Great Lives Lecture Series: Bill Wilson

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on April 9 with a lecture on Bill Wilson by Susan Cheever, author of My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson, His Life, and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

"Born behind a hotel bar in East Dorset, Vermont in 1894, Bill Wilson grew up with a severe drinking problem. In solving it for himself, he found a way to solve it for others, and he ultimately cofounded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. Although his name is not famous—he resisted any personal publicity while he was alive—Wilson, who died in 1971, was one of the most influential men of our time.  Although he improved the world, he was not a saint. He responded to the difficulties of his life in ways that were profoundly human and flawed.  His rugged, heart-breaking childhood, his unconventional fifty-three year marriage to Lois Wilson, his experiments with LSD and vitamin therapy, his friendship with Aldous Huxley, and his final longing for the whiskey he had  so successfully forsworn are all part of his extraordinary life story."

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism
“The Big Book.” The basic text for the mutual self-help organization devoted to helping alcoholics recover sobriety.

Bill W. and Mr. Wilson: The Legend and Life of A.A.’s Cofounder by Matthew J. Raphael (eBook)
Raphael critically reconsiders what we think we know about the man who started a therapeutic revolution.  (Publishers Weekly)

Bill W: My First 40 Years by Bill W. (eBook)
This is an autobiography of Bill Wilson…It is an edited transcript of recordings he made during September, 1954.  (

Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W. by Mel B. (eBook)
The bittersweet tale of the troubled man Bill W. always referred to as “my sponsor”. (

Grateful to Have Been There: My Forty Years with Bill and Lois, and the Evolution of Alcoholics Anonymous by Nell Wing (eBook)
Nell knew Bill and Lois and AA in a way no one else could… She shares her memories and impressions of more than forty years.  (Recovery Superstore)

The Lois Wilson Story: When Love is Not Enough by William G. Borchert
Entertaining as well as informative and inspiring....Providing a stimulating insight into the life of an extraordinary woman.  (

My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson - His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous by Susan Cheever
The definitive biography of Bill Wilson, a cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, is drawn from exclusive access to his personal letters and diaries, documents in the organization's archives, and hundreds of interviews.  (catalog summary)

Biographical essays and literary criticism are available online through the library’s databases.  Visit