"John Barleycorn," which draws its name from an old English folksong, is as close to an autobiography that Jack London ever wrote. London's love of alcohol is professed quite profusely in this work, however that love is tempered by the recognition of the toll that alcohol bears. As he writes, "This strength John Barleycorn gives is not fictitious strength. It is real strength.... But it is manufactured out of the sources of strength, and it must ultimately be paid for, and with interest." A telling memoir, "John Barleycorn" provides a captivating insight into the life of the author.