Jack London: A Life

Paperback | April 15, 1999

byAlex Kershaw

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Raised in poverty as an illegitimate child, Jack London dropped out of school to support his mother, working in mind-deadening jobs that would foster a lifelong interest in socialism. Brilliant and self-taught, he haunted California's waterside bars, brawling with drunken sailors and learning about love from prostitutes. His lust for adventure took him from the beaches of Hawaii to the gold fields of Alaska, where he experienced firsthand the struggles for survival he would later immortalize in classics like White Fang and The Call of the Wild.

A hard-drinking womanizer with children to support, Jack London was no stranger to passion when he met and married Charmian Kittredge, the love of his life. Despite his adventurous past, London had never before met a woman like Charmian; she adored fornication and boxing, and willingly risked life and limb to sail and explore. She typed his manuscripts while he churned out novels, serving as his inspiration and his critic.

Lover, fighter, and onetime hobo, Jack London lived large and died before he was forty. This is a rare biography, from bestselling historian Alex Kershaw, that proves the truth can be more fascinating--and a far greater adventure--than a fiction.

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From Our Editors

Jack London lived larger than life, his story of adventure and excitement equal to any of the classic literary characters he created. Now, Alex Kershaw brings us the extraordinary tale of this brilliant man. Born in poverty, London educated himself, both as a scholar and free-living adventurer, never content to remain in one place. Dea...

From the Publisher

Raised in poverty as an illegitimate child, Jack London dropped out of school to support his mother, working in mind-deadening jobs that would foster a lifelong interest in socialism. Brilliant and self-taught, he haunted California's waterside bars, brawling with drunken sailors and learning about love from prostitutes. His lust for a...

From the Jacket

Jack London's life was as dramatic as any of the stories he created. Raised in poverty as an illegitimate child, he dropped out of school to support his mother, working in mind-deadening jobs that would foster a lifelong interest in socialism. Brilliant and self-taught, he haunted California's waterside bars, brawling with drunken sail...

Alex Kershaw has been a feature writer for The Weekend Guardian and the Sunday Times, and a contributing editor at GQ. He has authored several books, including the New York Times-bestselling WWII histories The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter, and the biographies Jack London: A Life and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Ro...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:334 pages, 9.28 × 6.32 × 0.88 inPublished:April 15, 1999Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031219904X

ISBN - 13:9780312199043

Reviews

Extra Content

From Our Editors

Jack London lived larger than life, his story of adventure and excitement equal to any of the classic literary characters he created. Now, Alex Kershaw brings us the extraordinary tale of this brilliant man. Born in poverty, London educated himself, both as a scholar and free-living adventurer, never content to remain in one place. Dead before he was 40, he left a legacy of fine writing and spirited adventure.

Editorial Reviews

"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