Jack London went to the Klondike at the age of 21 to find gold but instead found inspiration for stories and novels that made him one of the richest and most famous authors of his time.
In this thoroughly riveting real-life-adventure story, Lourie recounts in visceral detail the frequently treacherous, relentlessly grueling 500-mile traverse along the ruthless Chilkoot Trail and Whitehorse Rapids to the Klondike gold mines. Lourie explains how London’s experiences in the Klondike became the seeds for some of his best-known, most highly regarded works, such as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and “To Build a Fire.” Minor’s atmospheric sketches are pleasingly decorative, but it is the abundant use of archival photos that offers an insightful perspective of the times and the ordeals experienced. Though obviously deeply researched, this biography is not completely factual. Lourie admits to taking “a few liberties.” “To tell my tale,” he explains in an author’s note, “I have Jack do a few things he may or may not have done.” The unfortunate absence of chapter notes makes it difficult to discern which episodes are imagined. Extensive backmatter includes information on First Nations peoples of the area and additional facts about London’s journey.
A gripping and harrowing true adventure story and a penetrating look into the formative experiences of a writer, one of the first to become a worldwide celebrity. (photos, timeline, glossary, bibliography, index) (Biography. 8-12)