The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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The Call of the Wild is a short adventure novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The central character is a domesticated dog named Buck.
The story starts with him living at a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California. Stolen from his home and sold into service as sled dog in Alaska, he progressively reverts to a wild state. In the harsh climate, Buck is forced to fight in order to dominate other dogs, so that by the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization and relies on primordial instincts and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788834154724
Publisher: Kerry Butters
Publication date: 07/10/2019
Series: Literary Fiction Collection
Sold by: StreetLib SRL
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 861,594
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney in San Francisco, California. He began writing at 17 years old, when he submitted a story about a recent, nearly disastrous sea voyage he’d been on, winning the contest and earning his first $25 as a writer. Later, during the gold rush, he traveled to the Yukon, where he found the inspiration for his most famous novels and short stories.

Read an Excerpt



Old language nomadic leap. Chafing at customs chain. Again from its brumal sleep Wakens the ferine strain."

Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.

Buck lived at a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. Judge Miller's place, it was called. It stood back from the road, half hidden among the trees, through which glimpses could be caught of the wide cool veranda that ran around its four sides. The house was approached by gravelled driveways which wound about through wide-spreading lawns and under the interlacing boughs of tall poplars. At the rear things were on even a more spacious scale than at the front. There were great stables, where a dozen grooms and boys held forth, rows of vine-clad servants' cottages, an endless and orderly array of outhouses, long grape arbors, green pastures, orchards, and berry patches. Then there was the pumping plant for the artesian well, and the big cement tank where Judge Miller's boys took their morning plunge and kept cool in the hot afternoon.

And over this great demesne Buck ruled. Here he was born, and here he had lived the four years of his life. It was true, there were other dogs. There could not but be other dogs on so vast a place, but they did not count. They came and went, resided in the populous kennels, or lived obscurely in the recesses of the house after the fashion of Toots, the Japanese pug, or Ysabel, the Mexican hairless,— strange creatures that rarely put nose out of doors or set foot to ground. On the other hand, there were the fox terriers, a score of them at least, who yelped fearful promises at Toots and Ysabel looking out of the windows at them and protected by a legion of housemaids armed with brooms and mops.

But Buck was neither house-dog nor kennel-dog. The whole realm was his. He plunged into the swimming tank or went hunting with the Judge's sons; he escorted Mollie and Alice, the Judge's daughters, on long twilight or early morning rambles; on wintry nights he lay at the Judge's feet before the roaring library fire; he carried the Judge's grandsons on his back, or rolled them in the grass, and guarded their footsteps through wild adventures down to the fountain in the stable yard, and even beyond, where the paddocks were, and the berry patches. Among the terriers he stalked imperiously, and Toots and Ysabel he utterly ignored, for he was king, — king over all creeping, crawling, flying things of Judge Miller's place, humans included.

His father, Elmo, a huge St. Bernard, had been the Judge's inseparable companion, and Buck bid fair to follow in the way of his father. He was not so large, — he weighed only one hundred and forty pounds, — been a Scotch shepherd dog. Nevertheless, one hundred and forty pounds, to which was added the dignity that comes of good living and universal respect, enabled him to carry himself in right royal fashion. During the four years since his puppyhood he had lived the life of a sated aristocrat; he had a fine pride in himself, was ever a trifle egotistical, as country gentlemen sometimes become because of their insular situation. But he had saved himself by not becoming a mere pampered house-dog. Hunting and kindred outdoor delights had kept down the fat and hardened his muscles; and to him, as to the cold-tubbing races, the love of water had been a tonic and a health preserver.

And this was the manner of dog Buck was in the fall of 1897, when the Klondike strike dragged men from all the world into the frozen North. But Buck did not read the newspapers, and he did not know that Manuel, one of the gardener's helpers, was an undesirable acquaintance. Manuel had one besetting sin. He loved to play Chinese lottery. Also, in his gambling, he had one besetting weakness — faith in a system; and this made his damnation certain. For to play a system requires money, while the wages of a gardener's helper do not lap over the needs of a wife and numerous progeny.

The Judge was at a meeting of the Raisin Growers' Association, and the boys were busy organizing an athletic club, on the memorable night of Manuel's treachery. No one saw him and Buck go off through the orchard on what Buck imagined was merely a stroll. And with the exception of a solitary man, no one saw them arrive at the little flag station known as College Park. This man talked with Manuel, and money chinked between them.

"You might wrap up the goods before you deliver 'm," the stranger said gruffly, and Manuel doubled a piece of stout rope around Buck's neck under the collar.

"Twist it, an' you'll choke 'm plentee," said Manuel, and the stranger grunted a ready affirmative.

Buck had accepted the rope with quiet dignity. To be sure, it was an unwonted performance: but he had learned to trust in men he knew, and to give them credit for a wisdom that outreached his own. But when the ends of the rope were placed in the stranger's hands, he growled menacingly. He had merely intimated his displeasure, in his pride believing that to intimate was to command. But to his surprise the rope tightened around his neck, shutting off his breath. In quick rage he sprang at the man, who met him halfway, grappled him close by the throat, and with a deft twist; threw him over on his back. Then the rope tightened mercilessly, while Buck struggled in a fury, his tongue lolling out of his mouth and his great chest panting futilely. Never in all his life had he been so vilely treated, and never in all his life had he been so angry. But his strength ebbed, his eyes glazed, and he knew nothing when the train was flagged and the two men threw him into the baggage car.

The next he knew, he was dimly aware that his tongue was hurting and that he was being jolted along in some kind of a conveyance. The hoarse shriek of a locomotive whistling a crossing told him where he was. He had travelled too often with the Judge not to know the sensation of riding in a baggage car. He opened his eyes, and into them came the unbridled anger of a kidnapped king. The man sprang for his throat, but Buck was too quick for him. His jaws closed on the hand, nor did they relax till his senses were choked out of him once more.

"Yep, has fits," the man said, hiding his mangled hand from the baggageman, who had been attracted by the sounds of struggle. " I'm takin' 'm up for the boss to 'Frisco. A crack dog-doctor there thinks that he can cure 'm."

Concerning that night's ride the man spoke most eloquently for himself, in a little shed, back of a saloon on the San Francisco water front.

"All I get is fifty for it," he grumbled "an' I wouldn't do it over for a thousand, cold cash."

His hand was wrapped in a bloody handkerchief, and the right trouser leg was ripped from knee to ankle.

"How much did the other mug get?" the saloon-keeper demanded.

"A hundred," was the reply. "Wouldn't take a sou less, so help me."

"That makes a hundred and fifty," the saloon-keeper calculated; "and he's worth it, or I'm a squarehead."

The kidnapper undid the bloody wrappings and looked at his lacerated hand. "If I don't get the hydrophoby —"

"It'll be because you was born to hang," laughed the saloon-keeper. "Here, lend me a hand before you pull your freight," he added.

Dazed, suffering intolerable pain from throat and tongue, with the life half throttled out of him, Buck attempted to face his tormentors. But he was thrown down and choked repeatedly, till they succeeded in filing the heavy brass collar from off his neck. Then the rope was removed, and he was flung into a cagelike crate.

There he lay for the remainder of the weary night, nursing his wrath and wounded pride. He could not understand what it all meant. What did they want with him, these strange men? Why were they keeping him pent up in this narrow crate? He did not know why, but he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity. Several times during the night he sprang to his feet when the shed door rattled open, expecting to see the Judge, or the boys at least. But each time it was the bulging face of the saloonkeeper that peered in at him by the sickly light of a tallow candle. And each time the joyful bark that trembled in Buck's throat was twisted into a savage growl.

But the saloon-keeper let him alone, and in the morning four men entered and picked up the crate. More tormentors, Buck decided, for they were evil-looking creatures, ragged and unkempt; and he stormed and raged at them through the bars. They only laughed and poked sticks at him, which he promptly assailed with his teeth till he realized that that was what they wanted. Whereupon he lay down sullenly and allowed the crate to be lifted into a wagon. Then he, and the crate in which he was imprisoned, began a passage through many hands. Clerks in the express office took charge of him; he was carted about in another wagon; a truck carried him, with an assortment of boxes and parcels, upon a ferry steamer; he was trucked off the steamer into a great railway depot, and finally he was deposited in an express car.

For two days and nights this express car was dragged along at the tail of shrieking locomotives; and for two days and nights Buck neither ate nor drank. In his anger he had met the first advances of the express messengers with growls, and they had retaliated by teasing him. When he flung himself against the bars, quivering and frothing, they laughed at him and taunted him. They growled and barked like detestable dogs, mewed, and flapped their arms and crowed. It was all very silly, he knew; but therefore the more outrage to his dignity, and his anger waxed and waxed. He did not mind the hunger so much, but the lack of water caused him severe suffering and fanned his wrath to fever pitch. For that matter, high-strung and finely sensitive, the ill treatment had flung him into a fever, which was fed by the inflammation of his parched and swollen throat and tongue.

He was glad for one thing: the rope was off his neck. That had given them an unfair advantage; but now that it was off, he would show them. They would never get another rope around his neck. Upon that he was resolved. For two days and nights he neither ate nor drank, and during those two days and nights of torment, he accumulated a fund of wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul of him. His eyes turned blood-shot, and he was metamorphosed into a raging fiend. So changed was he that the Judge himself would not have recognized him; and the express messengers breathed with relief when they bundled him off the train at Seattle.

Four men gingerly carried the crate from the wagon into a small, high-walled back yard. A stout man, with a red sweater that sagged generously at the neck, came out and signed the book for the driver. That was the man, Buck divined, the next tormentor, and he hurled himself savagely against the bars. The man smiled grimly, and brought a hatchet and a club.

"You ain't going to take him out now?" the driver asked.

"Sure," the man replied, driving the hatchet into the crate for a pry. There was an instantaneous scattering of the four men who had carried it in, and from safe perches on top the wall they prepared to watch the performance.

Buck rushed at the splintering wood, sinking his teeth into it, surging and wrestling with it. Wherever the hatchet fell on the outside, he was there on the inside, snarling and growling, as furiously anxious to get out as the man in the red sweater was calmly intent on getting him out.

"Now, you red-eyed devil," he said, when he had made an opening sufficient for the passage of Buck's body. At the same time he dropped the hatchet and shifted the club to his right hand.

And Buck was truly a red-eyed devil, as he drew himself together for the spring, hair bristling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his bloodshot eyes. Straight at the man he launched his one hundred and forty pounds of fury, surcharged with the pent passion of two days and nights. In mid air, just as his jaws were about to close on the man, he received a shock that checked his body and brought his teeth together with an agonizing clip. He whirled over, fetching the ground on his back and side. He had never been struck by a club in his life, and did not understand. With a snarl that was part bark and more scream he was again on his feet and launched into the air. And again the shock came and he was brought crushingly to the ground. This time he was aware that it was the club, but his madness knew no caution. A dozen times he charged, and as often the club broke the charge and smashed him down.

After a particularly fierce blow, he crawled to his feet, too dazed to rush. He staggered limply about, the blood flowing from nose and mouth and ears, his beautiful coat sprayed and flecked with bloody slaver. Then the man advanced and deliberately dealt him a frightful blow on the nose. All the pain he had endured was as nothing compared with the exquisite agony of this. With a roar that was almost lionlike in its ferocity, he again hurled himself at the man. But the man, shifting the club from right to left, coolly caught him by the under jaw, at the same time wrenching downward and backward. Buck described a complete circle in the air, and half of another, then crashed to the ground on his head and chest.

For the last time he rushed. The man struck the shrewd blow he had purposely withheld for so long, and Buck crumpled up and went down, knocked utterly senseless.

"He's no slouch at dog-breakin', that's wot I say," one of the men on the wall cried enthusiastically.

"Druther break cayuses any day, and twice on Sundays," was the reply of the driver, as he climbed on the wagon and started the horses.

Buck's senses came back to him, but not his strength. He lay where he had fallen, and from there he watched the man in the red sweater.

"'Answers to the name of Buck,'" the man soliloquized, quoting from the saloon-keeper's letter which had announced the consignment of the crate and contents. "Well, Buck, my boy," he went on in a genial voice, " we've had our little ruction, and the best thing we can do is to let it go at that. You've learned your place, and I know mine. Be a good dog and all'll go well and the goose hang high. Be a bad dog, and I'll whale the stuffin' outa you. Understand?"

As he spoke he fearlessly patted the head he had so mercilessly pounded, and though Buck's hair involuntarily bristled at touch of the hand, he endured it without protest. When the man brought him water, he drank eagerly, and later bolted a generous meal of raw meat, chunk by chunk, from the man's hand.

He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his after life he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway. The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect; and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused. As the days went by, other dogs came, in crates and at the ends of ropes, some docilely, and some raging and roaring as he had come; and, one and all, he watched them pass under the dominion of the man in the red sweater. Again and again, as he looked at each brutal performance, the lesson was driven home to Buck: a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed, though not necessarily conciliated. Of this last Buck was never guilty, though he did see beaten dogs that fawned upon the man, and wagged their tails, and licked his hand. Also he saw one dog, that would neither conciliate nor obey, finally killed in the struggle for mastery.

Now and again men came, strangers, who talked excitedly, wheedlingly, and in all kinds of fashions to the man in the red sweater. And at such times that money passed between them the strangers took one or more of the dogs away with them. Buck wondered where they went, for they never came back; but the fear of the future was strong upon him, and he was glad each time when he was not selected.

Yet his time came, in the end, in the form of a little weazened man who spat broken English and many strange and uncouth exclamations which Buck could not understand.

"Sacredam!" he cried, when his eyes lit upon Buck. "Dat one dam bully dog! Eh? How moch?"

"Three hundred, and a present at that," was the prompt reply of the man in the red sweater. "And seem' it's government money, you ain't got no kick coming, eh, Perrault?"

Perrault grinned. Considering that the price of dogs had been boomed skyward by the unwonted demand, it was not an unfair sum for so fine an animal. The Canadian Government would be no loser, nor would its despatches travel the slower. Perrault knew dogs, and when he looked at Buck he knew that he was one in a thousand — "One in ten t'ousand," he commented mentally.


Excerpted from "The Call of the Wild"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jack London.
Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Into the Primitive 7

Chapter 2 The Law of Club and Fang 19

Chapter 3 The Dominant Primordial Beast 30

Chapter 4 Who Has Won to Mastership 46

Chapter 5 The Toil of Trace and Trail 56

Chapter 6 For the Love of a Man 73

Chapter 7 The Sounding of the Call 88

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Lawlor's matter-of-fact interpretation of Buck's perceptions, experiences, and above all, his helplessness to control his fate successfully stir up as much intimacy and compassion as any human character might." —-AudioFile

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Call of the Wild 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 488 reviews.
JessLucy More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I've never read this book before now, or anything by Jack London (I'm 34). This was an amazingly insightful, emotional and gorgeously written book. "Love that was feverish and burning, that was adoration, that was madness"....WOW! I've never heard true love so adequately and beautifully expressed. Amazing book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this to add to my 6/7th grade classroom library, especially to keep high interest for male readers. Successful!
lovestoread203 More than 1 year ago
This clasic is one great book! Written by Jack London, "The Call of the Wild" is a tale about a dog who is taken away to be a sled dog in the times of the Gold Rush. The dog, Buck, must follow the saying: "Survivial of the Fittest", making him more wolf then dog. This book will keep you turning the pages right until the end. The first chapter or two are a little boring, but after that, you have follow Buck's developing understanding of how things work on a sled team. With the unintended help of the other dogs, Buck learns to the "Law of Club and Fang" (A sort of "Kill or be Killed" Rule) . Buck must also endure those who have no idea how to mush (To travel via sled dogs). You'll have to see what happens then. If you're searching for a classic novel that won't bore you to death, or a classic adventure book, then this is a must!
msl More than 1 year ago
My kid loves all animals, and I thought she'd appreciate this novel told from the dog's perspective. It's exciting, full of adventure, and has a certain "otherness" about it that's captivating. The author tries hard not to over-anthropomorphize the dogs, and he succeeds beautifully. My daughter needs occasional help with some sophisticated vocabulary or old fashioned turn of phrase, but she's not at all bored--she's really engaged in the story. Recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book even though it made me cry. I would not reccommend the movie though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Call of the wild is a must read classic if you like adventure than you will love this book and its full of dog related drama that you should not miss out on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really amazing. I had tried to read it once before about a year or two ago but i didnt make it past the 2nd or 3rd chapter. This time i couldnt put it down and appreciated the beautil writing. This author has a gift for description and made it easy for me to immerse myself in the story. I could feel, smell, and hear everything Buck eas experiencing throughout this book. It was tough in a couple of spots to read the abuse and pain that the animals experienced in this book. The story well made up for it though. It was a beautiful adventure and an insightful look into the intimate relationship between man and dog and wilderness that lives inside us all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
5 star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent for readers who like suspense and action. Instead of being a superhero in the city, the story contains a smart dog in the frozen wilderness of Alaska.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing it is so cool.
SageC96 More than 1 year ago
In the book The Call of the Wild by Jack London, it started off with a dog named Buck, a physical impressive dog, living the good life in California when he gets stolen and put into dog slavery. For him, he has to pull a heavy sled through miles of frozen ice with little or nothing to eat. Buck begins to adapt to his surroundings, and learns from the other dogs on his team. Buck and Spitz another dog on the team become involved in a struggle for power and they end up fighting and Buck wins. Buck then begins to take over as leader of the sled dog team. The new people don’t seem to be very competent and the team begins to change in human management, such as new drivers. The sled dogs team new people are very bad drivers and end up killing everyone, including themselves. Buck is fortunately saved by a kind man named John Thornton, moments before the group death in an icy river. “Buck and I watch as the entire sled – dog team and human drivers – continue on their way and then fall into the river.” (Thornton 57) Thornton and Buck become attached to each other and Buck even saves Thornton’s life several times. Buck, his master, and some other men all set off on a journey, loving there new life, except for the need to run off and kill things in the woods every once in a while. Buck fights with temptation, staying with Thornton or going off and killing things. He has to think about being civilized or wild when he is with Thornton. There are several missed phone calls from The Wild and a lot of angry messages. “Where are you already?”(Thornton’s father 14) The end of The Call of the Wild, it was dramatic and that all I'm going to say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story told from the dogs point of view and the harsh realness to it. I did not notice any typographical errors as stated before. Awesome book to read for all ages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another one of jack london's greatest books the first in the series (second book White Fang) call of the wild is an amazing book written with much skill. It is surly one of the best books I have read and very charming. Call of the Wild is about Buck a dog who lives at a farm though he is not owned he lives freely and comes and goes as he pleases, until one day when he tricked into being sold as a sled dog. Will Buck make it back or will he give in to the call of the wild?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that the book was very challening for both the characters and the readers. London used very descriptive words and very complex. And just the over all plot was terrific except he dosen't get back with judge Miller, that was a sad part.There was a lot of action and challening parts in the book like the fights. London explained how Buck watched and learned from fights and how it payed off when he fought Spitz.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for school, and honestly, I thought it was horrible. The story wasn't that interesting. The only thing that Jack London seemed to care about was the dying dogs! All of a sudden a dog would die, or someone would fall into a river... The story was also very predictable, until the ending. It ended very suddenly, without as much detial as the chapters beforehand.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This review pertains to a particular edition of the e-book, not the work in general. It came up under a search of graphic novels, so I expected it to be a lavishly illustrated version of the Jack London classic (which I had already read several times). So, I was disappointed to find it was a regular print version with no illustrations at all. Also, there are a lot of words run together where there should be a space between them. Guess I shouldn't complain too much, though, since it was free. By all means, read this gritty story of a pampered pet kidnapped into service as a sled dog; but you might be happier with another edition than I was with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so adventurous it is so AWESOME! !!!!!
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to read this book! It sounds like this book is full of animals and wildness. I love animals so I take it that I will like to read this book. I thank God for making such beautiful animals. I am so blessed to be able to be with, read about, and learn about these beautiful animals that God created.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Respond by 5/1/14 and do it on A Cats Life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joyously moving, and everyone who has the time should read it.