John Barleycorn is an autobiographical novel by Jack London dealing with his enjoyment of and struggles with alcoholism. Alcoholic beverages play a big role in facilitating the themes of John Barleycorn dealing with the social facilitation of alcohol, but is also a cautionary tale about the addictive powers of alcohol and its deleterious effects on health. He discusses various life experiences he has had with alcohol, and at widely different stages in his life, his late teen years as a sailor and later in life when he was a wealthy, successful writer.
Jack London was an American author, journalist, and social activist, a pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone. He is best remembered as the author of Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush. He also wrote of the South Pacific in such stories as The Pearls of Parlay and The Heathen, and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf.