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The Call of the Wild/White Fang/To Build a Fire

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4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  552 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The Call of the Wild—Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

To this day Jack London is the most widely read American writer in the world," E. L. Doctorow wrote in The New York Times Book Review. Generally considered to be London's greatest achievement, The Call of the Wild brought him international acclaim when it was published in 1903. His
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Modern Library (first published 1906)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Josh Steiner
Sep 17, 2011 Josh Steiner rated it it was amazing
Remarkable.

Stated in the introduction, London considers White Fang a companion to Call of the Wild in that Fang is the "complete antithesis" of Wild. What makes both books so compelling are London's mutual arguments about the nobility and nature of the Wild vs. the Civilized. The themes are, I would guess, ones with which the author struggled with his entire life.

While the tale of Buck's return to the world of his ancestors is one of primal, ideal beauty, White Fang's gradual understanding and a
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Sam
Jun 21, 2010 Sam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, fantasy
These three stories, despite being written in the early 1900's, are still very readable and thoroughly enjoyable. London writes vividly and realistically and recreates the world of Northland for the reader so well you can feel the chill of the cold wind on your neck.

The Call of the Wild tells the tale of Buck, a large household dog that is stolen from his owners in Southland and taken north to be a sled dog for the many gold hunters who have arrived there in search of their fortunes. Although th
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Peter Rock
Aug 07, 2013 Peter Rock rated it it was amazing
Wow. Admittedly, I hadn't read this for thirty years or so... The Call of the Wild is truly amazing; just the structure of this short novel is astoundingly fine. And the strangely exalted yet slightly condescending narration is so singular--definitely wouldn't work with a person as protagonist!; this is even more pronounced where London combines human perspectives and animal ones in the same piece (White Fang + To Build a Fire). Crazy. And I forgot or have really new appreciation for London's ...more
Vigdis
Jul 22, 2015 Vigdis rated it it was amazing
The Call of the Wild:

Dette var nok ikke riktig bok å ta med på jobb. Flere ganger i dag kikket jeg opp fra boka med tårer i øynene og så at en av studentene rakk opp hånden, og jeg måtte ta meg sammen og svare som best jeg kunne på spørsmål og funksjonsdrøfting og logaritmer. Men for en bok. Synes London legger akkurat passe mye tanker bak hundenes oppførsel og handlinger. Man kan relatere til dem, men de er likevel helt tydelig ikke menneskelige. For meg, som ikke klarer å se på naturprogramme
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Andalee
Oct 05, 2012 Andalee rated it it was amazing
This book is thematically so conflicting that one could lecture on it for an entire semester. The seemingly racist, spiritual, and existentialist undertones are coupled with the naturalist scientific approach that a journalist like Jack London would provide in a narrative. Buck has human qualities projected onto him by London. The story is both dark and profound in its depiction of the human condition. I love this novel. It's length does not detract from its breadth of theme or conflict. It also ...more
Leah
Oct 21, 2007 Leah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A excellent collection of stort novels by an excellent writer.

Focusing on a domestic dog's journey to wildness and a wild wolf's tale of domestication, The Call of the Wild and White Fang are perfect companion pieces. To Build a Fire focuses on a man tragic hubris, though there's a dog in that one too. All set in the Alaskan wilderness, this book is London at his best with a supreb sense of pacing and character.

If you didn't read any of these in high school, I would definitely recommend it.
tish Ramsey
Jan 07, 2011 tish Ramsey rated it it was amazing
Jack London is an amazing storyteller and every page is packed with adventure. I loved The Call of the Wild and found myself laughing, crying, and just holding my breath until the last page. He writes beautifully and is completely unpretentious. I love his descriptions of the harsh Alaskan frontier and the animals and dogs that survive in that landscape. I look forward to reading these stories to the girls when they get older!
Kimberly Willson - St. Clair
Jul 31, 2008 Kimberly Willson - St. Clair rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey and I listened to The Call of the Wild on our road trip home from San Francisco this summer. Our friend Joe Papp recommended it as a good novel to listen to because the cd book really makes the listener understand from the get go that the story is being told by the dog....And as Jeffrey points out the art of listening to a book in the car only works when the sentences are short and the narrative is linear.
Sara
Feb 12, 2008 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1945-to-present
I read "To Build a Fire" as a kind of companion piece or contrast to Into the Wild. The narrator describes the man as thoughtless. He doesn't think about life or value it, and this is of course obvious with the way he treats his dog. Dying for him seems almost like a purely physical act, which makes the story very sad and creepy.
Lisboa
Mar 24, 2008 Lisboa rated it it was amazing
Jack London writes with such description and clarity that as you read, you begin to feel the bitter sting of the Artic rising up around you.

These are the stories I can come back to time and time again, and of the great classics that you can just flip through and start again on any page. You will find yourself always immersed in it.
John
Apr 12, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed reading these old classics again.

I find it interesting that as a child, I loved The Call of the Wild and couldn't get through White Fang. This time, I thought The Call of the Wild was great, but liked White Fang more. I wonder what that says about where I am in my life?
Martha
May 11, 2011 Martha rated it it was amazing
London's stories all teach so many lessons while in the mystery of the story. To Build a Fire is a great short story. Man should always listen to those who are more experienced or be ready to pay the consequences! While Fang and Call of the Wild are classic favorites!
Mark Maxam
Apr 16, 2012 Mark Maxam rated it it was amazing
I have always loved Jack London for making us Remember a time gone by, and to let us experience men who live on the edge of the wild.
Francis Cuncich
Feb 20, 2014 Francis Cuncich rated it it was amazing
I was almost fired because I balled myself up in a bathroom reading this book, when I was suppose to be working.
Heather
Aug 08, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: _literature
I had a craving for some Jack London. I used to have a dorky love of wolves in my youth, and I loved these books like crazy.
Nice to get an edition with a new story in it, story was good.
Matt French
Jan 07, 2014 Matt French rated it it was amazing
Each of these are well written, entertaining stories of adventure.
Youngeun Park
Mar 04, 2013 Youngeun Park rated it really liked it
Attention: Spoiler Alert

Youngeun Park
8F English
2012.12.20
Independent Reading Book Review
Review of White Fang

“White Fang” by Jack London tells a story about a wolf (a quarter of him is a dog) named White Fang. His parents are a pair of wolves that split up from a wolf pack. They have five pups but only one survives after several famines. He becomes a possession of an Indian man and learns a lot of lessons the hard way - kill or be killed. He gets bullied from the other puppies because he is dif
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Michael
Aug 01, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Since this is of three different stories that do not relate to each other I will review each one individual. The first two books are through point of views of animals.

The Call of the Wild :

The story of Buck a domestic dog that learns the ways of the wild through being a Yukon sled dog. Buck deals with the natural tendencies of his ancestors and actions change throughout the books. Buck character development and learning can be comparable to human. In a way the story of Buck can be compared to t
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Phoenix
Jun 07, 2014 Phoenix rated it really liked it
Shelves: fine-literature
This is pretty amazing stuff. I put it off forever and a day and like the "Old man and the Sea" I ask myself why ever? Perhaps, at that time, I was not mature enough to enjoy the fine thoughtful and in depth writing involved.

This is a three part anthology containing White Fang, The Call of the Wild and a short story, "Building a fire." The stories White Fang and Call of the wild are slightly interrelated and are actually polar opposites in approach, a very interesting examination of animal pers
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Mark
Jul 26, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing
Read these many times before...

White Fang has always been and will always forever be a flat out 5 stars for me. The Call of the Wild is terrific but not as good for me. To Build a Fire is okay, but White Fang, I'm a sucker for that one.

Quotable (or what you might expect):

"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

This
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Laura
Mar 18, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult-2012
Call of the Wild is a story about a powerful dog named Buck who is forced to become a sled dog because of his amazing strength. I didn’t realize this book was going to make me cry, but it did. It’s a very sad story because of the brutal treatment of the dogs by humans during training as well as the way dogs are treated by other dogs. After Buck witnesses another dog, Curly, be violently attacked and killed by a pack of Huskies he promises to never let another dog take his own life. Buck must ...more
Glenn Briggs
Aug 14, 2012 Glenn Briggs rated it did not like it
The Call of the Wild is not really the type of book I normally read. There were a few reasons I didn't like it including: 1) the complicated storyline, 2) several irrelevant events, 3) and a pointless twist that seem to go nowhere in the end. In detail, there were several words that I had to look up (in the dictionary) or I would have been completely lost. I actually had to read the first chapter a couple of times, to fully understand it. After a major climax in the story it seemed to stray off ...more
Brian
Sep 14, 2011 Brian marked it as paused
From 'Introduction by E. L. Doctorow':

The fact is that today, the tradition of the adult animal tale in America has virtually disappeared; it is a less possible expedient in the aftermath of two world wars, their attendant modernist ironies, and the rise of Walt Disney. But when Jack London wrote, in the days of Baden-Powell, formulator of the Boy Scout ethos, Americans from Teddy Roosevelt on down took their animals seriously....

* * *

From The Call of the Wild:

With the aurora borealis flaming co
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Brent Soderstrum
Jul 19, 2010 Brent Soderstrum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three classics from Jack London in one book. Call of the Wild is about a domesticated dog who ends up going to the wild as a result of an inner call and being in the Yukon. White Fang is about a wolf/dog who is in the wild and comes to live with men. Loved experiencing the training White Fang recieved through White Fang's eyes. You can also see how an owner has so much effect on a dog and how they behave.

To Build a Fire is a very short story about a man freezing to death in horrid weather. He tr
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Brad
Jul 23, 2013 Brad rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I only read Call of the Wild and about half of White Fang. It's hard to read those two books back to back. They're just so similar in tone and style. It gets kind of boring. Besides, I'd seen White Fang with Ethan Hawke way back when, so once I got the feel for how the book was different, there wasn't much point to keep going. Jack London's writing is good, though a bit tedious at times. If you've never read his work before, I'd recommend Call of the Wild because, well, it's shorter. ...more
Dawson
Nov 25, 2013 Dawson rated it really liked it
In The Call of the Wild in particular, Buck serves effectively as an "objective" observer of the humans he comes across and how they react to the harsh environment they find themselves in. The struggle to reconcile the comfort and pleasures of society and the warmth of love and companionship with the harsh realities of the natural world (and the corresponding unequaled sense of freedom and independence that comes with immersing oneself in it) is compelling reading. To Build a Fire is even more ...more
Heather
This book was extremely well written! I am not one to enjoy books with animals in it. But this book wasn't like those gushy books, the animals didn't talk and yet, you still knew what the animal was thinking.
I also love emotional books, and I defiantly cried. Such a great heart wrenching book!!!
Jessicaw
Jul 07, 2008 Jessicaw rated it liked it
Jack London can be extremely boring and dry to read. His books and stories just seem to be about ultimate survival in the most desolate of ways. I admit his style is good because it's thorough, but I don't generally enjoy his works. For people who like wilderness,loneliness, brutality and probably death, his stories are right for you. Or Darwin.
Teagan Stewart
Feb 15, 2016 Teagan Stewart rated it liked it
Jack London's life is pretty tragic, and his name is pretty hot, but as far as the actual book goes, its really boring. It's pretty much a giant journal entry with him pretending to be a dog. How dumb.
Katie Marie Lane
Sep 15, 2015 Katie Marie Lane rated it really liked it
I love dogs and I love Alaska, I'm easy to please as far as Jack London stories go. All three of these are solid must read books and I really enjoy the perspective in each book. Thank you Jack London for preserving the last frontier in your writing.
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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