Jack London: A Life

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9780006548485: Jack London: A Life

Jack London's life was frequently more dramatic than any of the fiction he wrote. Born illegitimate in 1876 on the San Francisco waterfront, his writing life was relatively short but hugely prolific. Apart from writing 50 books, he lectured for the Socialist Party of America, gathered first-hand material in the London slums for "The People of the Abyss", supported several families, worked as a war correspondent in Korea and Mexico, introduced surfing to the West Coast, sailed the seas in his yacht the "Snark" and slowly drank himself to death.

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Review:

Alex Kershaw plunges readers into the world of Jack London by using lots of direct quotations and maintaining a fast-paced narrative--just right for dealing with an author who crammed as much action into his brief, 40-year existence (1876-1916) as can be found in his classic adventure fiction The Call of the Wild. Kershaw does justice to London's ardent socialism and pioneering efforts to protect the natural environment; his distasteful racism is acknowledged, but only briefly. This heartfelt tribute aims to kindle our admiration for "the passion and energy with which [London] lived, and which still sustains his best prose."

From the Publisher:

"Kershaw brings to life this talented but self-destructive man." --The New York Times

"...Kershaw incisively reveals how the Oakland native's stint as a child laborer, Barbary Coast oyster pirate, boxcar hobo, and Alaska gold rusher would, by his mid-20s, inspire his most popular fiction." --Entertainment Weekly

"So incredible are some of London's escapades that only an equally talented biographer could capture the essence of the author's character. Alex Kershaw does just that in Jack London, a breathless new look at the rough-and-tumble writer, warts and all." --New York Post

"Kershaw's portrait is swift and sympathetic, and it makes you want to go back and read London's work again. You can't ask more of literary biography." --Men's Journal

"Kershaw tells the human--or, for London, 'superhuman'--story well....the lively story of a vitalistic life should help us look at him again." --The Times of London

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