While many have tried, no one has come close to matching author Jack London’s ability to portray the wild, untamed Yukon. One of his best-known stories, Call of the Wild, first serialized in magazine form and in 1906 published as a short novel, tells the story of Buck, a muscular dog stolen from his home in Santa Clara Valley, California and sold as a sled dog in Canada’s Yukon territory during the gold rush of the 1890s.
Torn from his civilized surroundings, Buck taps into his wild origins to become one of the most feared sled dogs in the territory, wresting leadership from a violent enemy, and learning to deal with humans, kind and unkind, all the while drifting back to his beginnings, a creature of the wild, surviving on his strength and cunning.
While this story is told primarily from the dog’s point of view, it also shows humans and their relationships; with each other, with the animals they can use but not tame, and with the unremitting, merciless wilderness.\If you’ve never read Jack London before, Call of the Wild is a good place to get your first taste of an author who knows how to take nature and those who would vainly try to tame it, and portray it in a way that makes you feel the bite of the wind-blown snow and the oppressive weight of the darkness that surrounds a campfire at night. You can hear the mournful howl of the wolves and the wail of the wind. And, in so doing, you will get a sense of man’s place in a universe that we can never fully comprehend—and, through the eyes of a dog, you will lean what it is to be human.
I give this one five stars — of course.
Part dog and part wolf, White Fang is, along with his mother Kiche, the sole survivor of his pack. When he and Kiche are taken in by an Indian tribe, White Fang begins a journey from Wild to Domesticated that is long, arduous, and painful.
White Fang by Jack London is a companion to London’s Call of the Wild, told mostly from the animal’s point of view. This reissue of a London classic has some editorial revisions, according to the publishers, but retains the author’s voice and ability to portray the untamed frontier of his day. For a reader who wants to be introduced, or as in my case, reintroduced, to a classical American literary figure, this book is an excellent jumping off point. The characters, though animal, are portrayed in terms that humans can understand, but without ‘humanizing’ them.
This book shows why Jack London was one of the most regarded authors of his time. I received a free copy of this book, and without hesitation, give it five stars. It has not been released on Amazon yet, but when it is, I strongly recommend it.