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Discover the Many Lives and Adventures of Jack London

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Discover the Many Lives and Adventures of Jack London


“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

– Jack London


Jack London was very much a man of his time. He was born in 1876 in San Francisco, and in his 40 years of life he fully embraced and embodied the spirit of adventure and freedom for which his young country was known.

As a young man, London worked dozens of odd jobs as everything from a grocer to a factory worker, but his youth was largely characterized by two things: reading and sailing.

By the age of fifteen, he was working on fishing boats with oyster pirates in the San Francisco Bay. His love of the sea would eventually take him across the world, from the Bering Sea to the tip of South America, and would inspire countless stories and novels.

In the early 20th century, after several years of hard labour, vagrancy, and a season in the harsh Klondike prospecting for gold, his writing made him a household name. By the age of 25, Jack London had the life he’d always wanted — one of adventure, discovery, and writing.

In his short life, London travelled to five continents, crossed the Pacific Ocean twice and the Atlantic once, and circumnavigated South America — adventures enough to strike envy in even today’s most well-travelled writers.

The new book The Lives of Jack London offers a behind-the-scenes look at his travels, illustrated with rarely seen photographs taken by the author. Find out more with our interactive map of London’s travels.

You might just be inspired to head out on an adventure.



Cover image © Jack London Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California


Get the book:

 The Lives of Jack London

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