The Call of the Wild and Selected Stories

The Call of the Wild and Selected Stories

The Call of the Wild and Selected Stories

The Call of the Wild and Selected Stories

Excerpt

Jack London's best adventure story was his own life. Though closely identified with California, where he was born in San Francisco in 1876 and died near Glen Ellen in 1916, he spent much of his brief forty years roaming widely and picturesquely. In his youth he sailed to Japan and the Siberian coast as a seal hunter, and he tramped and rode the rods across the United States and back through Canada. He spent a cold winter in the Yukon hunting gold, and he lived in the slums of London observing the "people of the abyss." As a correspondent in the Russo-Japanese War, he climbed the hills of Korea and crossed the Yalu into Manchuria, and he collapsed with dysentery in Vera Cruz covering the American occupation. He cruised in the Caribbean, rounded Cape Horn in a tramp steamer, and sailed his own ketch, the Snark, through the South Seas as far as the Solomons. Hawaii was his second home during his last years.

The varied jobs he held provided further adventure and experience for his writing. He spent his childhood on California ranches, his boyhood hustling newspapers In the streets of Oakland, and his youth on the waters of San Francisco Bay. At twelve, he was a small lad with an infectious grin, often to be seen sailing with his dog in a little half-decked skiff, reading library books while he waited for the rock cod to bite. He loved life then, as he did when he raided the oyster beds in the Lower Bay or when he sailed before the mast on the Sophie Sutherland. But with years life grew grim. Not so happy were days in the canning factory, In the jute mill, in the power plant shoveling coal, in the laundry . . .

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