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John Barleycorn By Jack London
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Published in 1913, John Barleycorn was an autobiographical book dealing with London's enjoyment of alcohol. This is a very frank account in which London discusses what it means to be an alcoholic and... More > explaining in detail what his daily habits turn to after years of abuse through drink. He claims early on not to have been a hereditary alcoholic, meaning someone whose body chemistry is predisposed to the substance but rather to have learned his trade through his love of 'the kick'. While London didn't directly die of alcohol, by the time he was forty he suffered from advanced kidney disease in the form of stones and it was while trying to alleviate the pain of this illness that he took an overdose of morphine. This was three years after John Barleycorn was published.< Less
The Cruise of the Snark By Jack London
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Published in1911 by MacMillan, The Cruise of the Snark is a non-fiction account of London's journey across the South Pacific aboard the Snark, a two-masted ketch that the author had commissioned.... More > Despite expectations, the book is not packed with adventures but instead provides a matter-of-fact account of the journey through a series of chapters that were written as journalism first the foremost.< Less
White Fang By Jack London
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Published in 1906 by MacMillan, White Fang was written as a follow up to Call of the Wild, seeking to feed off the popularities of that first book. It follows the birth of the 'wolf-dog, White Fang,... More > including the circumstances of his arrival for his parents, his subsequent adoption by an Indian Tribe during which time he is brutalised and reacts accordingly, his time as a fighting dog and finally his taming by a kindly gold prospector. In contract to Buck's story in Call of the Wild, which moved from domestication to instinct, White Fang moves in the opposite direction and though he ends his time equally mythologised, in some respects it’s a less climactic path with the tension easing if a little unevenly. Even if it doesn't work quite as well as the first book, White Fang still remains immensely popular.< Less
The Night Born By Jack London
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Published in 1913 by Macmillan, The Night Born is a collection of nine short stories with no apparent genre connection to place them in a set. The collection includes, War, in which a cavalry scout... More > moves across the landscape while the horrors of war take place before his eyes and in his head and The Mexican, in which a mysterious youth joins a band of revolutionaries fighting in Los Angeles with the remit of finding enough money to aid the fight in Mexico.< Less
The God of his Fathers By Jack London
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Published in 1901, The God of his Fathers, is an early collection of London's Klondike stories. Amongst this collection is Grit of Women, a tale told second hand over a stove that is 'red hot and... More > roaring', while outside the temperature has plummeted. The tale is about an epic journey to the Bering Sea made by a man and his wife and while the man, Sitka Charley, seems like the stuff the north was made of, it is the wife, Passuk, initially timid and downward looking, who emerges as the one with heart.< Less
The Game By Jack London
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Published in 1905 by MacMillan, The Game is a short novella about a young boxer, Joe Fleming, who ordinarily works as a sail maker. When he becomes engaged to Genevieve, the narrator, he decides to... More > take one more fight before giving up. He persuades Genevieve to watch and her viewpoint as a narrator provides London with the opportunity to describe, in excruciating detail, the fight that ensues. It's clear from this description that London knew his business, but it's also obvious that he wasn't taken in by the glamour. The game, like any London Klondike story, is a brutal piece of writing.< Less
The Mutiny of the Elsinore By Jack London
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Published in 1914 by MacMillan, The Mutiny of the Elsinore is a full length novel describing towards its close, the promised event following the death of the Captain and a split in the crew between... More > the two first mates. London uses the novel to examine class and race as related issues, presenting the Captain and his officers as a ruling class defined by racial stereotypes. As such, given the author's stilted approach, the prose can make difficult reading even if he does deliver the proscribed adventure.< Less
The Little Lady of the Big House By Jack London
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Published in 1915 by MacMillan, The Little House of the Big House is, by modern terms, an understated erotic novel centred around a love triangle between on the one side, rancher Dick Forrest... More > (associated with Jack London), his vivacious and overtly sexual wife Paula, (associated with London's wife, Charmian) and the hobo philosopher Aaron Hancock, (associated with London's house-guest, Frank Strawn-Hamilton). The novel was criticised on publication for being too erotic, although by modern standards its nowhere near explicit enough to give any notion to the description. That said, London managed to provide a distinctly sexual charge to the narrative that is as strong as many of his intense Klondike adventures.< Less
The House of Pride By Jack London
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Published in 1912, The House of Pride is a collection of six short stories linked by their location in the Hawaiian Islands and a general theme of race and class within the context of a mobile... More > immigrant culture. London was particularly interested in the way in which American money was influencing Hawaiian culture and he was sympathetic to the native tribes in their struggle against exploitation on a number the levels. Another theme here is leprosy, which was present in the islands during the time London was visiting. The disease features in the best story in the collection, Koolau the Leper, in which the eponymous character leads a rebellion of lepers against the police and military when they are threatened with deportation.< Less
Michael, Brother of Jerry By Jack London
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Published posthumously in 1917, Michael, Brother of Jerry is a companion piece to Jerry of the Islands. Michael, like Jerry, is a terrier dog, but unlike the previous book, this one is more of an... More > attack on animal training techniques, using Michael as the example. It has received criticism for some of its racist language, but barring that it remains a forceful attack on animal cruelty.< Less