John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs by Jack London (1876 - 1916)


  • Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Thursday 1st January 1970

In this episode of John Barleycorn, Jack London's memoirs on alcoholism, the author recounts his harrowing experience with wine at an Italian rancho when he was only seven years old. Read on for a poignant glimpse into the dark side of alcoholism.
28 minutes

About this podcast

John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs by Jack London (1876 - 1916)
Navigating Alcohol Dependency
Creative Recovery Journeys
Sexual Empowerment & Identity
Visit site
19 (View all)
Rounded Button Dark
Do you want to link to this podcast?
Get the buttons here!

The Dark Side of Alcoholism: A Child's Experience in Jack London's John Barleycorn Chapter 4

Very clear was my resolution: never to touch liquor again.
Jack London's autobiographical work, John Barleycorn, explores the author's experiences with alcoholism, and Chapter 4 provides a particularly harrowing account of his first encounter with wine at only seven years old. The episode describes how London was attending a party at an Italian rancho, where he was suddenly handed a tumbler of wine by an impish young Italian.
Despite his initial reluctance, London eventually drank the entire tumbler, causing him to feel suffocated and helpless as the other children giggled and mocked him. This traumatic experience left a lasting impression on London, who vowed never to touch liquor again. The episode raises important questions about the dangers of underage drinking, the impact of alcohol on family dynamics, and the power of determination and self-control in overcoming addiction.
Although the story is deeply personal, it provides a poignant glimpse into the dark side of alcoholism and the long-term effects of traumatic experiences with alcohol. For those interested in learning more about London's life and work, this episode is a must-listen. Listen to the full episode now here on