Wolf: The Lives of Jack London

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London

James L. Haley

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0465004784

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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—by turns playing the role of hobo, sailor, prospector, and oyster pirate. 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.

London 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 America, he was nevertheless constantly broke. An irrepressibly optimistic crusader for social justice, he burned himself out at forty: sick, angry, and disillusioned, but leaving behind a voluminous literary legacy, much of it ripe for rediscovery.

In Wolf, award-winning author James L. Haley explores the forgotten Jack London—at once a hard-living globetrotter and a man alive with ideas, whose passion for social justice roared until the day he died. Returning London to his proper place in the American pantheon, Wolf resurrects a major American novelist in his full fire and glory.


















too, for memories.”14 Almost alone in a sea of ruins, Coppa’s and the rest of its block on Montgomery inexplicably survived. Rendering his restaurant unapproachable by the mounds of debris, however, Giuseppe Coppa decided to close, serving a “Last Supper” that was understood to also close San Francisco’s bohemian age. Having surveyed the cataclysm, London told Charmian that he could never write about what they had seen, that it beggared description. He was, however, the best writer to witness

circular stone Pig Palace under construction, and ripening crops rose toward the sun. But he could not heal himself, and increasingly he took opiates for the pain of his failing kidneys. He tried valiantly to keep his fate, the death hovering nearby that he had long referred to as “the Noseless One,” at arm’s length, although he still ate voraciously of rich rare duck and drank too much. John Barleycorn, as Charmian took to euphemizing his consumption since that book’s appearance, occasionally

acknowledges his having been the “squire of more than one Madame Chrysanthéme on her native heath.” C. K . London, Book of Jack London, 141. See also Joan London, Jack London and His Times, 68. 14 London, John Barleycorn, Chapter 20. CHAPTER 4 1 Quoted in Etulain, ed., Jack London on the Road, 34. From Davis’s going home and London’s note in his diary, one might infer that London had pressured Davis to make the venture to begin with. 2 Ibid., 38. 3 Ibid., 56. The ring had been a

portion of the bay and up the mountainous peninsula to the settlement on the Golden Gate. His business acumen was later confirmed when Sacramento became the state capital, and traffic increased—it increased again in 1869 when Oakland became the terminus of the new Transcontinental Railroad. Carpentier had chosen a site of great geographical importance, but Oakland was merely the last way station; San Francisco, with its Nob Hill and its wharves of sleek, mighty clipper ships remained the

read or write or light up a cigarette at any hour. He smoked and suffered the smoker’s cough; she did not smoke, but quickly learned that it was a sensitive subject with him that she was not to press. In any event, his divorce would not be final until the following autumn, and some heed still had to be paid to convention. As satisfying as it was, however, for him to finally have a partner whose libido matched his own, Charmian was also alert to the fact that emotional intimacy still eluded him as

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