The vigor, raw melancholy and fatal quirks of character in the life of Jack London are native to American writers. Out of the finest and purest of his talents were sired Eugene O'Neill and something of Hemingway. His talent was based on vivid depiction of the struggle for existence (partly out of Darwin) and revelation of ataisms, and his fame rests on Call of the Wild (a civilized dog goes primitive in the londike), The Sea Wolf (a materialist anti-Christ faces the elements) and his autobiographical novel Martin Eden, plus a dozen short stories. The present biography, the first full-dress one since Irving Stone's Sailor on Horseback (1938), is thorough, straight-forward and clear-eyed in its appraisals. London left such a vast catalogue of published work that most works are only touched briefly and their context stressed; this is not a critical biography. It is, in fact, completely absorbing because London was an absorbing man, with his supermanship, violent and publicized love affairs, and ad beating about the earth by dog sled and ship. Not distinguished, but enormously readable.