Jack London Home

Jack London Online

WELCOME readers, students, teachers, scholars, journalists, writers, book collectors, and others. When we started this site at UC-Berkeley many years ago, finding online material on Jack London was difficult. Few of London's writings were available digitally and even in print. That situation has changed, so one can now locate his more obscure books in both forms. A new generation of literary and historic scholars continue to offer insights and clarification about London and his life. We are delighted to be sponsored at Sonoma State University, the county where Jack built his Beauty Ranch and wrote many of his books.

Jack London on Horseback
Jack London riding on his ranch, photo by Charmian London

Jack London is perhaps best known as a writer, but he was also an innovative agriculturalist, adventurer, journalist, and proud socialist. He was a child of the Gilded Age, growing up in a working-class area of Oakland. While very young, he observed the inequalities in American society and the struggles of the poor. By early adulthood determined to rise above his station through the written word. It was a daring plan, yet mentors saw his promise and helped him break into journalism and fiction. He was endlessly curious and read widely in many fields, from philosophy to animal husbandry, from poetry to Darwinism. His boundless self-confidence led him to try unusual challenges, such as the decision to sail around the world or to create a self-sustainable ranch.

Often thought of as very manly, London was also deeply sensitive, generous, and kind. He he loved animals, poetry, music, and plays. He helped paroled prisoners and support prison reform. His dark side included periods of depression, binges of alcohol, anti-Semitism, and mixed ideas about race. Though feminist, he could be thoughtless toward his wives and daughters.

A polymath, he attracts many kinds of readers. His writings include romances, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and political tracts. Over a hundred years after his death, he remains in print in many languages. Jack London State Historic Park attracts visitors from around the globe as well.

Though London thought himself self-made, he was the product of his time and the people around him. We include references to such themes as Progressivism, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the Socialism of his day. Similarly, we include information on key figures, his family and friends. This background information can direct the reader deeper into London's life and better appreciate his ideas and arguments. Enter to participate in the mind of a uniquely American individual.