The book is about the social facilitation of alcohol, but is also a cautionary tale about the addictive powers of alcohol and its deleterious effects on health. London describes the effects of alcohol along both optimistic and pessimistic lines, insisting at some points that it helped him in his developmental process towards becoming a man as he understood the idea and a writer and at other points that it limited in developing him in a healthy way. Alcohol was, during his period, not recognized as it is in the post-2000 period. It remains an important and enduring milestone of his authorial career and of many of the writers of his period, as well as the milestone of many of the social historians of his period. London insisted that historical literature was always more important in his life than alcohol, however.
As someone who hikes London park daily, it was a very reflective, honest, introspective view into his deepest thoughts which brought me closer to the humanity and imperfections of this adventurous man.