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 that proves the truth can be more fascinating—and a far greater adventure—than a fiction.
Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter and two biographies: Jack London and, more recently, Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He has been a journalist and a screenwriter in Britain and now lives in Bennington, Vermont.
Los Angeles, CA, US
St. Martin's Griffin