In the Alcoholics Anonymous trilogy of revered figures, many people would name Clarence Snyder after Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Snyder chaired the first meeting known as Alcoholics Anonymous, coined the term AA, advocated opening meetings to women (something that Bill W. and Dr. Bob hesitated to do), and established the organization's first newsletter. Snyder outlined his story in "Home Brewmeister", which appears in all three editions of Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the AA members he sponsored was Mitchell K., whose book presents an intimate portrait of this pioneer of recovery.Born in 1902 in Cleveland, Ohio, Snyder began drinking as a teen to conceal childhood feelings of inferiority. When his wife, Dorothy, was prescribed ale for a difficult pregnancy, Snyder brewed it and drank it himself. His addiction eventually cost him his job as a financier, forcing him to live life "on the bum". After regaining sobriety in 1938, Snyder became an ace car salesman, using his two demonstrator cars to ferry "rummies" to Oxford Group meetings, which helped build Cleveland's recovery population.
A Biography of Clarence Snyder exemplifies how the lives of people in recovery intertwine. The brother-in-law of Snyder's sister-in-law's doctor was Bill W., who recommended that Snyder see Dr. Bob Smith. Other memorable points: Snyder's first sponsorship; the controversy involving the Roman Catholic Church, which threatened to excommunicate Oxford Group members; the struggles of financing the Big Book's printing; and more.
A Biography of Clarence Snyder is immensely readable (especially in this newly edited version), while capturing the flavor of the Big Book.