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John Barleycorn is an autobiographical novel by Jack London dealing
with his enjoyment of and struggles with alcoholism. It was
published in 1913. The title is taken from the British folksong
"John Barleycorn." In this memoir, there are the themes of
masculinity and male comradeship. London discusses various life
experiences he has had with alcohol, and at widely different stages
in his life. Key stages are his late teen years when he earned
money as a sailor and later in life when he was a wealthy,
successful writer. Alcoholic beverages play a big role in
facilitating the themes listed above. The book is about the social
facilitiation of alcohol, but is also a cautionary tale about the
addictive powers of alcohol and its deleterious effects on health.
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