Jack London (born John Griffith Chaney) is a famous American novelist and journalist. The author is known for his unique style of writing and the diversity of his works, which range from adventure novels and romantic stories to science fiction.
Written more than a century ago, these books are still best-selling. In order to know these works better, here is a list of the top five picks of the best Jack London books. Each masterpiece from this selection is highly ranked on Amazon and has multiple reviews from readers.
Rated List of Best Books by Jack London
|The Call of the Wild
|Tales of the North
|The Scarlet Plague
The Call of the Wild: The Original 1903 Edition
This is one of the best books written by Jack London, which is considered one of his most famous works. It was first published in 1903. The story is narrated from the point of view of the dog named Buck, a 140-lb St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mix. He led a happy life as a pampered pet until the gardener of the family stole him and sold to a stranger to pay off his gambling debts.
After that, the dog had several owners and often was starving and ill-treated. After a series of events, he was taken to Alaska to serve as a sled dog. Buck tried to survive in the Alaskan wilderness during the Klondike Gold Rush. To come out alive, he lost the virtues of civilized life and reverted to a wild state.
- Describes amazing relationships between humans and dogs
- A piece of classic literature that deserves to be read
- Touches eternal themes: what is friendship, love, betrayal, kindness, etc.
- Told from an animal’s perspective, the book breaks clichés regarding traditional storytelling
- A captivating adventure read
- Contains instances of animal abuse
- Can make sensitive readers cry
White Fang (Chump Change Edition)
White Fang was created as a companion story of The Call of the Wild where the author described the opposite situation. Jack London showed the civilization of a wolfdog in the Yukon Territory during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s, which transformed from wild to tame.
Again, the novel was written from the point of view of an animal. It was published 3 years after The Call of the Wild, in 1906.
As a cub, White Fang was taken from his mother she-wolf. He started his own journey and faced the harsh laws of the North. He examined the violent world of wild animals and the world of people, which was equally violent and where only the fittest survived. Luckily, at the end of the story, White Fang was taken to California where he found a caring and gentle master.
- Explores complex themes like morality and redemption
- A story that leaves no one indifferent
- A well-constructed and easy-to-read novel
- Has a happy and sentimental ending
- Not ideal for kids under 14 or for anyone with the tendency towards bullying or cruelty
Tales of the North: Nonstop Adventure and Heroic Exploits
If you enjoy reading London’s adventure stories nonstop, opt for this hardcover 488-page edition that includes his 4 greatest novels (The Call of the Wild, White Fang, The Sea-Wolf, and Cruise of the Dazzler) and 15 other famous short stories.
The volume of the book is big enough and allows taking pleasure in multiple stories that depict courageous people and brave animals.
This publication contains original illustrations.
- An awesome book for the collection
- Includes unabridged stories and unique pictures
- Interesting from a historical perspective
- Contains some stories that are unknown for most readers
- The edition is too complex for young readers
- Some stories can be depressing and portray animals that are abused
The Sea-Wolf: 1904 Psychological Adventure Novel
The Sea-Wolf is another adventure novel from Jack London. Thanks to the popularity of the earliest novels of the author, the first 40,000 copies of that novel were sold immediately before publication.
The book narrates about the literary critic Humphrey van Weyden who survived after an ocean collision and was rescued by Wolf Larsen, the captain of a seal-hunting schooner. Being cynical and brutal, that man was also highly intellectual and intelligent. Due to his exceptional physical strength, he terrorized the crew and ruled over the ship.
- Engaging for all readers even for those who know no nautical terminology
- Thoughtful classic that is worth reading
- Suitable for any reader’s taste: sea adventure, philosophy, love story, etc.
- The print of this particular edition is small and difficult to read
The Scarlet Plague: Jack London’s Classic Work
The Scarlet Plague is a post-apocalyptic novel published in 1912. The story is distant from the universe that most people associate with usual London’s books, which portray oceans, brave men, and beautiful nature.
The action takes place in the 2070s, 60 years after the uncontrollable pandemic, the Red Death, has depopulated the Earth.
The main protagonist James Howard Smith, a former English professor, is one of a few left alive. He recounts the end of civilization talking to his grandchildren. Will these illiterate post-apocalyptic savages be able to re-establish humanity and civilization?
- It will be interesting to see another narrative style of the author
- Short and fast to read
- Fun to know about London’s guesses at the technology existing in the 21st century
- The book is depressingly scary (especially regarding the pandemic in 2020)
While reading a book, you may ask yourself about what inspired the author to create a certain story or if there are any unknown events related to the book. Read some interesting facts about Jack London’s top selection.
- In 1923, there was the first adaptation of The Call of the Wild as a silent film. Afterward, multiple versions were released in Hollywood and around the world, including anime and comic adaptations. Chris Sanders directed a live-action and computer-animated film, which was released in February 2020 and where Harrison Ford starred as the lead role.
- There are more than 4652 editions of The Call of the Wild.
- White Fang was translated into 89 languages and released as a three-volume Braille edition.
- The plot of The Sea-Wolf is similar to Captains Courageous written by Rudyard Kipling. It describes a rich young man who was rescued from the sea and crimped to work as a sailor. However, the two stories differ in a moral tone and plot. The protagonist of Wolf Larsen was the real sailor Captain Alex MacLean that London knew.
- The critics claim that The Scarlet Plague was written at the point of Jack London’s “professional decline”. The author was inspired by a short story of Edgar Allan Poe “The Masque of the Red Death.”
These facts may also inspire you to read any from the mentioned books or re-read them again.
The success of Jack London in the literary world dates back a hundred years ago, but his writings still appeal to millions of people worldwide. These stories are based on his own experiences in Alaska, at sea, and in the factories of California. They represent a man whose imagination and wild creativity gave birth to the most thrilling books that were ever written.
Each generation of readers finds something new in these books and learns something about themselves. With this selection, you may find out why this author became so popular.