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: 2016-10-24
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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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