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Who was Jack London. ()
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Who was Jack London.







An Overview


Jack had little formal schooling. Initially, he attended school only

through the 8th grade, although he was an avid reader, educating himself

at public libraries, especially the Oakland Public Library under the

tutelage of Ina Coolbrith, who later became the first poet laureate of

California. In later years (mid-1890s), Jack returned to high school in

Oakland and graduated. He eventually gained admittance to U.C. Berkeley,

but stayed only for six months, finding it to be not alive enough and

a passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence.


Jacks extensive life experiences included: being a laborer, factory

worker, oyster pirate on the San Francisco Bay, member of the California

Fish Patrol, sailor, railroad hobo, and gold prospector (in the Klondike

from 1897-1898). In his teens, he joined Coxeys Army in its famous

march on Washington, D.C., and was later arrested for vagrancy in Erie

County, New York. As a journalist, Jack covered the Russo-Japanese War

for the Hearst newspapers in 1904, and in 1914, he covered the Mexican

Revolution for Colliers.


It was during his cross-country travels that he became acquainted with

socialism, which for many years, became his holy grail. He became

known as the Boy Socialist of Oakland because of his passionate street

corner oratory. In fact, he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Oakland

several times as the socialist party candidate.


In 1900, Jack married his math tutor and friend, Bess Maddern. It was a

Victorian marriage typical of the time, based on good breeding, not

love. With Bess, he had two daughters Joan and Bess (Becky).

Following his separation from Bess in 1903, he married his secretary,

Charmian Kittredge, whom he considered his Mate Woman and with whom he

found true love. Together, they played, traveled, wrote and enjoyed

life. Their one child, Joy, only lived for thirty-eight hours.


In 1907, with his second wife, Charmian, Jack sailed the Pacific to the

South Seas in the Snark, which became the basis for his book, The Cruise

of the Snark. With Charmian at his side, he also developed his Beauty

Ranch on 1,400 acres of land in Glen Ellen, California.


By his death at age forty on November 22, 1916, Jack had been plagued

for years by a vast number of health problems, including stomach

disturbances, ravaging uremia, and failing kidneys. His death

certificate states that he died of uremic poisoning.


Jack was among the most publicized figures of his day. In his lectures,

he endorsed socialism and womens suffrage. He was also one of the first

celebrities used to endorse commercial products, such as grape juice and

mens suits.


Young Jack Londons exceptional brightness and his optimistic, buoyant

personality eventually combined to transform his many experiences into a

working philosophy of service and survival. He became the

personification for his readers of many of the virtues and ideals of a

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