Wolf: The Lives of Jack London

  • by James L. Haley
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Jack London was born a working-class, fatherless San Franciscan in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling west coast—by and by playing the role of hobo, sailor, and oyster pirate. From his vantage point at the margins of Gilded Age America, he witnessed such iniquity and abuses that he became a life-long socialist and advocate for reform. His adventures in the American wilderness and underworld informed his fiction, and his writing came to captivate the nation as it defined his era. Within his own short lifetime, London became the most popular, and bestselling, author of his generation.
By adulthood he had matured into the iconic American author of such still-universally loved books as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf, but in spite of his success, he was at war with himself. The highest-paid writer in America, he was constantly broke. Famous as he was for conjuring the brutality of nature in story after story and novel after novel, upon the actual deaths of his favorite animals he would dissolve into helpless tears. Sick, angry, and disillusioned, after a short, breathless life, he passed away at age forty, but he left behind him a glorious literary legacy.
Award-winning author James L. Haley explores the forgotten Jack London—a man bristling with ideas, whose passion for social justice roared until the day he died. In Wolf, Haley returns Jack London to his proper place in the American pantheon, resurrecting the author of White Fang in his full fire and glory.


What the Critics Say

"[A] valuable London biography. It surpasses Irving Stone’s 1938 Sailor on Horseback, giving us a well-delineated picture of a singular, complicated figure…These days we have little sense of the literary glory that was Jack London. Thanks to James Haley’s zeal, the author of [the fiercely imaginative Before Adam], not just the man of The Call of the Wild, is before us again." (Wall Street Journal)
"James L. Haley’s sharply focused biography recaptures the breadth of London’s achievements and the intricacies of his personality…We can be grateful to Haley for restoring London to us in all his passionate conviction and flawed humanity." (Washington Post)
“[A] gripping narrative…Haley understands what longtime scholars of London have often failed to see: that London had multiple lives, and explored his own identities in his fiction." (San Francisco Chronicle)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Intense Life...

Jack London was a complex and sometimes contradictory character and this book casts light on many aspects of his personality - London as novelist, political critic and essayist, journalist, hobo, prospector, sailor, husband and father, lover, drinker and adventurer.
While he is mostly remembered these days for his Yukon stories, "Wolf" shows how dedicated London was as a self-taught writer whose output was tremendous: 1000 words per day - a regime he kept up for years. He wrote about 50 books in 16 years - many of them now forgotten.
I found the book very informative and entertaining, although occasionally an overview through time of certain aspects - such as his often destructive drinking - would have been helpful. The narration is good, if sometimes unnecessarily emphasising through voice inflections the humour or irony which is already there in the text. But this is a small criticism.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in finding out more about the complicated nature of the man at its heart. Jack London comes across as a man of courage and determination who wanted, as he wrote somewhere, to be a comet rather than a dead planet, and not to waste a moment of his life. Often on the edge of things and perhaps not quite as comfortable with himself as he projected, his sheer energy in taking on challenges and driving himself on - even when his health was faltering is well shown in this book.
A lifelong and generous socialist, there is some irony in the fact that his grand project of building a hugely expensive house for himself ended in disaster, but this book is very illuminating.
I was fascinated by London's courageous journey from poverty and very hard times as a youth to fame as one of the world's most popular writers, and by the many twists, turns and shadowed places we find along the way.
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- wordparty

Book Details

  • Release Date: 25-05-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.