Castle Of Shadows by A.V. (Archie) McKinnon, M.B.E., Devonshire Press, Sydney, Australia, 1971.

This is a book about the coming of Alcoholics Anonymous to Australia.  Written by the man who brought it to Australia.  An Australian, non-alcoholic psychiatric nurse who worked for a number of years in a psychiatric hospital outside Sydney, Australia.

It is fascinating to me because it spans the pre-World War II era thru to modern psychiatry with the use of near modern therapies and medical treatments using vitamins, and benzodiazepines as well as the major tranquilizers with all their advances up to the date of the books publications.  Another reason for interest is that it is set in a culturally similar English speaking country.  Further it crosses a time span of major changes in treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse as well as other mental illnesses; with which I have had no other experiences than historical portrayals.  I became an adult in the late 1960’s and so had no experience in treatment hospitals really until the late 1980’s.

It was also mind expanding to look at how alcoholism was viewed and the similarity of conclusions Mr. McKinnon drew to the problems he faced independent of American culture.

Another educational awareness I came to understand was the pliability in the application of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 steps to recovery cross culturally and from mental health problem to mental health problem.  Culminating in me (not this book) with the generality of a pamphlet titled 12 steps to solve any problem, Peale Center For Christian Living.  Only one hundred twelve pages but it changes everything.


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