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Jack Griffith London was born in San Francisco in 1876 his mother was of a wealthy background her name was Flora Wellman His father may have been William Chaney a journalist lawyer and major figure in the development of American astrology Because Flora was ill an ex-slave Virginia Prentiss who was a major mother like figure while he grew up raised Jack through infancy Late in 1876 Flora married John London a partially disabled Civil War veteran The family moved around the Bay area before settling in Oakland where Jack completed grade school As a teen London worked at various hard labor jobs pirated for oysters on San Francisco Bay served on a fish patrol to capture poachers sailed the Pacific on a sealing ship joined Kellys Army of unemployed working men hoboed around the country and returned to attend high school at age 19 In the process he became acquainted with socialism and was known as the Boy Socialist of Oakland He would run unsuccessfully several times on the socialist ticket as mayor Always a big reader he chose to become a writer to escape from the life of a factory worker He studied other writers and began to submit stories jokes and poems to various publications mostly without success He spent the winter of 1897 in the Yukon This helped him Wright his first stories which he began publishing in the Overland Monthly in 1899 From that point he was a highly disciplined writer who would produce over fifty volumes of stories novels and political essays It was The Call of the Wild that brought him fame but many of his short stories were called classics London was among the most publicized figures of his day He was among the first writers to work with the movie industry and saw a number of his novels made into films His book The Sea-Wolf became the basis for the first full-length American
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