Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Build a Fire and Other Stories” as Want to Read:
To Build a Fire and Other Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Build a Fire and Other Stories

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,906 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
This edition of To Build a Fire and Other Stories includes an Introduction, Biographical Note, and Afterword by David Lubar. In these collected stories of man against the wilderness, London lays claim to the title of greatest outdoor adventure writer of all time.


- To build a fire
- Love of life
- Chinago
- Told in the drooling ward
- The Mexican
- War
- South of the slo
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 15th 1999 by Tor Classics (first published November 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Benim öykülerim zalimse yaşamın kendisi de zalim demektir. Oysa ben yaşamı zalim değil güçlü bulurum ve yapıtlarımda yaşamın bu güçlülüğünü yansıtmak isterim. (Arka kapak)

Soğuğun -50 derece ve bazen daha soğuk olduğu buz gibi yerlerde, kaynakların tükendiği zamanlarda hayatta kalmaya çalışanların hikayelerinden oluşuyor. Acaba kurtulabilecekler mi?
I gave this 5 stars in paper format, but never reviewed it. It's been decades since I last read it, so I'm overwriting that edition with this one. I remember some of the stories very well.

Overall, the stories ranged from OK to fantastic, but overall, they were quite good. It was depressing as hell, though. It's a tough world where a 'happy' ending is surviving intact. I'm not surprised I let so many years go by between reads. Definitely memorable, but certainly not uplifting. Still, I recommend
Raphael Rosen
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!

Jack London's short stories are astonishing. I read them last year, and my jaw was agape the entire time. I highly recommend them.
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A a good collection of some of the finest short stories ever produced by an American writer.
James Blatter
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I believe there is no more emotional and effecting story written in human history than "To Build A Fire" if this story does not bring you to tears, does not remain with you for the rest of your life than you have no idea what it meansd to be a human and have love and companionship with animals or other humans
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adolescent
I really had a Jack London phase in middle school. I remember writing a short story based on the same style and even featuring the same morals. Good times.
If I were basing my rating on whether I liked these stories or not, I would give them 2 stars; however, I will increase my rating to 3 stars based upon London's form and technique. I don't like to generalize, but I am guessing that these stories of adventure appeal more to boys (and men) rather than to girls (or women). The 25 pieces in this collection range from stories of survival in the Klondike/Yukon, gold prospectors, headhunters in the jungle, revolutionaries in Mexico, lepers in Hawaii, t ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much each of these stories is a snapshot of a time and place that won’t ever be able to be duplicated again. Each short story in it’s own right is a classic tale of adventure and humanity in one of the world’s most harshest locations.

London conveys some rather shrewd psychological insights into the great lengths that wilderness men would have to go to, to survive some of their adventures. It’s definitely “Man Against Nature” in the classic battle of all time in a good portion of these 25
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing collection of great stories varying from the expected Klondike to ones about class and indigenous peoples. There was even a science fiction one that could have been written by Lovecraft himself.
London’s writing style is very modern and easy to follow. I’m kicking myself for having not read his works sooner.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gold Prospectors, Those with a passion for cold, Armchair adventurers, Short-story fans
As far as I can recall this marks my first experience with the well known Jack London. 'To Build a Fire' is another book I picked up out of a buddies new apartment in Seoul as he refuses to deal with words in print form. While I at first regretted my decision, I decided to stick with it and was appropriately rewarded! Allow me to explain. . .

First of all, it's been a while since I dug into short stories or, more specifically, classic short stories. I remember signing up for a class in college ca
David Nichols
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
While he is probably best-known for his novels (especially CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG), London made much, if not most, of his literary revenue from his short stories. Most of his shorter fiction, as this collection demonstrates, was mediocre, weighed down by unengaging plots, racist language, and one- or two-dimensional characters. There are several very fine pieces here, however, including the title story; "Love of Life," which was apparently the last story Lenin had read to him (he enjoye ...more
An Odd1
Jun 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
20 stories mostly first-person about doomed subject, suffering probably from real life "enforced labor" p 267, more gallows than humor in "gallows humor" p 350. End is usually their death "The Law of Life" p 185. Always man, near prime of life, downtrodden, capitulates to harsh climate.

10 illustrations, I cannot find credit, shaded, of W. coast Indian and Inuit style like many subjects (those are women who feed, clothe, help loves), hatched textures, abstract landscapes, floating faces, swoopin
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stuff
I've never read anything by Jack London before. This man can write! I really enjoyed these stories and was surprised to find that many of them were not set in the cold, icy North. Jack can write about any setting; from city life to tropical beaches to the icy North.
I particularly enjoyed his stories on individuals from societies different than our North American one. He can get into people's minds and situations.
My favorite stories in the book were:
To Build A Fire
The Chinago - really enjoyed
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: light-reading
It is unfortunate that London is grouped in with classic literature. Compared to the greats, he pales. Nevertheless, his writing is still quite exciting, gripping, and insightful. The tales he weaves take place in areas few know much about, yet he is able to take us into the minds of men living in extreme conditions throughout the globe.

The most famous story, of course, is To Build a Fire. I was surprised to find that his other short stories has just as much merit and originality. At times I was
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit
While London's book doesn't make for the cheeriest of readings (I believe you could end every one with "...and then he died."), he is indeed a master at spinning a captivating tale. The title story was probably my least favorite and among the most depressing of the collection, but for those who harbor a palate for the macabre, the book will surely delight.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
รูจัก Jack London จากเรือง white fang (ไอเขียวขาว) เปนนักเขียนทีเขียนเรืองหมาไดเขาถึงมาก

เลมนีเปนเรืองสันสามเรือง สองเรืองเปนความพยายามของมนุษยในการดินรนเอาชีวิตรอดจากธรรมชาติ (มีหมามาแจมนิดนึงทังสองเรืองแตเปนแคตัวเสริม) อีกเรืองเปนเรืองชะตากรรมของคนงานจีนในตาฮิติ

เกงในเรืองการบรรยายสภาพจิตใจของตัวละคร ทำใหเราทอแทหมดหวังหรือมีความหวังฮึดสูไปดวยกัน

Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
To Build a Fire is story enough by itself, towering over the other stories. Brutal and simple, the perfect Jack London story like David Allen Coe wrote the perfect country and western song. All the important elements are there.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Una dulce historia sobre el hombre y el animal. No somos tan distintos y a menudo ellos luchan por entendernos. Dulce y a la vez feroz.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2007 rated it liked it

These stories were weirder than I recalled.
Leah Angstman
I like Jack London, and this is some typical fare, minus any lighthearted humor. This collection contains three lengthy short stories that all revolve around the human condition, desperation, the struggle for survival, and the fallibility of men: "The Build a Fire," "The Chiango," and "Love of Life." London is a heavy-handed writer, and this work is loaded in incorrectly used restrictive clauses and too many adjectives, but he does dig deep down into every detail of desperation and the steps one ...more
John W.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read To Build a Fire and other Klondike Stories in the Library of America collection. The other stories included To The Man on Trail, The White Silence, In A Far Country, The Wit of Porportuk. To Build A Fire is a classic and deserves its fame but some of the others give ideas of how different people and groups of people react to the cold of the Yukon and to one another.

Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was really impressed by these stories. The ancient yet relevant feeling to them, and the complex value systems they promote and exist within are so out of date, but not out of touch with today's reader. The ferver of the characters and the bleakness of the overall environment was really welcoming to the reader.
Umut Dülger
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
İnsanoğlunun tarihi boyunca yaptığı en büyük icat olan ateşin yaşamsal önemi üstüne; maden arayıcıları, avcılar, kanun adamları ve maceracıların ölümcül kış koşullarının hüküm sürdüğü topraklardaki serüvenleri ile süslü bir öykü kitabı. Jack London yine insan evrimi üstüne kafa yorarken serüvenci ruhumuzu doyurmayı; insan ruhu üzerine çıkarımlarını bizlerle paylaşmayı ihmal etmiyor.
Rebekah Bailey
To Build A Fire, by itself is a 5. It's a very powerful short story. The book as a collection was just fair to middling. The other stories don't have the same gripping power, and I'll be hard pressed to recall them a couple of months down the line.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm finding it difficult to read with it's vernacular, typeface, strange printing. et. Classic stuff though and it will serve me well as a reference guide. Must read more of his stuff to get a feel for the outdoors.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Jack London’s short stories. I was most familiar with London from books like call of the wild and White Fang, but in his short stories there is a surprising amount of variety, such as boxing stories (“A Piece of Steak”) and science fiction (The Red One).
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's good one.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some fun and some thoughtful stories. Really enjoyed this read, giving some perspective on the big city life we (I) are leading nowadays
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
London reaches so deeply into the human psyche and soul when tested to the limit. I can't get enough.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Add book cover and fix record 8 25 Feb 04, 2018 08:09PM  
What do you think 1 9 Jan 25, 2012 11:22AM  
  • The Open Boat and Other Stories
  • American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings
  • The Asimov Chronicles: Fifty Years of Isaac Asimov, Volume Five
  • Tales of Suspense
  • The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories
  • 50 Great American Short Stories
  • Great Short Works of Herman Melville
  • The Sowers of the Thunder
  • Collected Stories
  • The Crossing
  • The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories
  • The Country of the Blind and Other Science-Fiction Stories
  • The Best of Frederik Pohl
  • Fire-Hunter
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
  • The Last Cavalier: Being the Adventures of Count Sainte-Hermine in the Age of Napoleon
  • The Adventure of the Dancing Men and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories
  • Nightmares And Geezenstacks
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
More about Jack London

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Every Note Played
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Asymmetry
    $13.99 $3.99
  • The Rules of Magic
    $11.99 $4.99
  • Mrs. Fletcher
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • At Risk
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
“You have grudged the very fire in your house because the wood cost overmuch!" he cried. "You have grudged life. To live cost overmuch, and you have refused to pay the price. Your life has been like a cabin where the fire is out and there are no blankets on the floor." He signaled to a slave to fill his glass, which he held aloft. "But I have lived. And I have been warm with life as you have never been warm. It is true, you shall live long. But the longest nights are the cold nights when a man shivers and lies awake. My nights have been short, but I have slept warm” 15 likes
“So said Hair-Face, and they killed him, because, they said, he was a wild man and wanted to go back and live in a tree. It was very strange. Whenever a man arose and wanted to go forward all those that stood still said he went backward and should be killed. And the poor people helped stone him, and were fools. We were all fools, except those who were fat and did no work. The fools were called wise, and the wise were stoned. Men who worked did not get enough to eat, and the men who did not work ate too much.” 4 likes
More quotes…