With a youth full high jinks followed by travels through the Yukon and South Pacific, Jack London became during his lifetime one of the highest paid American writers. His stories are still loved all over the world. One thing about Jack – he can make you feel the cold all the way to your fingertips! Whether writing about the frosty Yukon or the South Pacific, London takes you there in a way done by few others.
London died November 22, 1916, in a sleeping porch in a cottage on his ranch. London had been a robust man but had suffered several serious illnesses, including scurvy in the Klondike. Additionally, during travels in the South Pacific he and his wife Charmian picked up unspecified infections and diseases, including yaws, a tropical infection of the skin, bones, and joints. At the time of his death, he suffered from dysentery, late-stage alcoholism, and uremia; he was in extreme pain and taking morphine.
London was one of the first animal rights activists. In 1918, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Humane Education Society teamed up to create the Jack London Club, which sought to inform the public about cruelty to circus animals and encourage them to protest this establishment. Support from Club members led to a temporary cessation of trained animal acts at Ringling-Barnum and Bailey in 1925.
For another story by London, listen to “To Build a Fire,” here on the Just Listen podcast. And now, “Up the Slide” by Jack London…we begin….