Wolf

Wolf

The Lives of Jack London

Book - 2010
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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.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2010
ISBN: 9780465004782
0465004784
Characteristics: xv, 364 p., [16] p. of plates ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Lives of Jack London

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s
SFBookAddict
May 07, 2016

I have always been curious about Jack London and wanted to know more about the man, and this book accomplished that curiosity. Author and scholar James Haley certainly did his research to illustrate London, getting to the core as to who he was and where he came from, the man's strengths and flaws. What I take away from this book is London's hardships as a youth and his quest to get out of that via his love of books, writing, story telling and love of adventure. The reader also sees how important libraries were to London in forming him as a writer. This bio inspired me to read London's works.

s
SeattleCentral
Aug 02, 2014

Mr. Haley's gift it seems to me is that his writing is so readable and easily comprehended that he is one of few writers I read who could reach disabled students. I was surprised that at page one, he noted Mr. London's family's Christian status; born ILLEGITIMATE. But next he wrote sufficiently of the entire London family situation, who its clear endured some hardship, struggled and yet surmounted seeming deficencies, to allow for the Londons to enjoy some health and a step-parent's love. Mr. Haley emphasizes the value of choosing a lofty goal and portrays that Jack London's self-educated SHAME succeeded beyond most hope and overcame the sting of ILLEGITIMACY, a lable ordinarily impossible to either forget or remove until the Mother is forced to never remarry. (That did, eventually, occur to Flora Wellman.) Mr. Haley's choice of Wolf to title his JL biography is probably not due to what may perhaps seem JL's shame at his presumed illegitimacy or resulting sef-education but it is the name JL himself chose to call his new home at Beauty Ranch.

m
molundia
Dec 27, 2013

I thought this was fascinating reading. The biographer did a great job of contextualizing Jack London in the world and the time he inhabited. Gave a three-dimensional view of a fascinating life, one which included extremes, both high and low. Brought to life the man, his time and place in history and literature.

m
mapkaif
Apr 14, 2011

Disappointing. This “biography” seemed to be mostly lifted from London’s own John Barleycorn. The rest is Haley trying to prove London’s closet homosexuality, while at the same time rebuking other biographies that have done the same thing, which became very tiresome. I highly recommend reading John Barleycorn instead.

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