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Publisher's Summary

Jack London was born a working class, fatherless Californian in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling West Coast - an oyster pirate, a hobo, a sailor, and a prospector by turns. He spent his brief life rapidly accumulating the experiences that would inform his acclaimed best-selling books The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf.

The bare outlines of his story suggest a classic rags-to-riches tale, but London the man was plagued by contradictions. He chronicled nature at its most savage but wept helplessly at the deaths of his favorite animals. At his peak the highest paid writer in the United States, he was nevertheless forced to work under constant pressure for money. An irrepressibly optimistic crusader for social justice and a lover of humanity, he was also subject to spells of bitter invective, especially as his health declined. Branded by shortsighted critics as little more than a hack who produced a couple of memorable dog stories, he left behind a voluminous literary legacy, much of it ripe for rediscovery.

In Jack London: An American Life, the noted Jack London scholar Earle Labor explores the brilliant and complicated novelist lost behind the myth-at once a hard-living globe-trotter and a man alive with ideas whose passion for seeking new worlds to explore never waned until the day he died. Returning London to his proper place in the American pantheon, Labor resurrects a major American novelist in his full fire and glory.

©2013 Earle Labor (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"More than 20 biographies have been written about London, but this volume promises to be one of the best for those who have read London's books but know less about his life." ( Library Journal Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Revealing and Riveting

I very much enjoyed this book. What an interesting yet sometimes dangerous life Jack London led!

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  • A User
  • Frederick, MD, United States
  • 07-30-14

A great bio

Where does Jack London rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack London?

How he moved from working class to famous writer

What does Michael Prichard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His rise as a writer

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Tells you what you never knew of Jack London