Jack London was born a working-class, fatherless San Franciscan in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling west coast—by and by playing the role of hobo, sailor, and oyster pirate. From his vantage point at the margins of Gilded Age America, he witnessed such iniquity and abuses that he became a life-long socialist and advocate for reform. His adventures in the American wilderness and underworld informed his fiction, and his writing came to captivate the nation as it defined his era. Within his own short lifetime, London became the most popular, and bestselling, author of his generation.
By adulthood he had matured into the iconic American author of such still-universally loved books as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf, but in spite of his success, he was at war with himself. The highest-paid writer in America, he was constantly broke. Famous as he was for conjuring the brutality of nature in story after story and novel after novel, upon the actual deaths of his favorite animals he would dissolve into helpless tears. Sick, angry, and disillusioned, after a short, breathless life, he passed away at age forty, but he left behind him a glorious literary legacy.
Award-winning author James L. Haley explores the forgotten Jack London—a man bristling with ideas, whose passion for social justice roared until the day he died. In Wolf, Haley returns Jack London to his proper place in the American pantheon, resurrecting the author of White Fang in his full fire and glory.
"[A] valuable London biography. It surpasses Irving Stone’s 1938 Sailor on Horseback, giving us a well-delineated picture of a singular, complicated figure…These days we have little sense of the literary glory that was Jack London. Thanks to James Haley’s zeal, the author of [the fiercely imaginative Before Adam], not just the man of The Call of the Wild, is before us again." (Wall Street Journal)
"James L. Haley’s sharply focused biography recaptures the breadth of London’s achievements and the intricacies of his personality…We can be grateful to Haley for restoring London to us in all his passionate conviction and flawed humanity." (Washington Post)
“[A] gripping narrative…Haley understands what longtime scholars of London have often failed to see: that London had multiple lives, and explored his own identities in his fiction." (San Francisco Chronicle)
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A life of bright flames to ashes...
- Dale in Texas