cover image Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush

Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush

Peter Lourie, illus. by Wendell Minor. Holt/Ottaviano, $18.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9757-3

Lourie (The Polar Bear Scientists) delivers a vivid account of Jack London’s arduous trek, along with thousands of other Stampeders, to the heart of Canada’s Yukon Territory in 1897 in search of gold. London returned not with wealth but with the raw material for his best-known writings, which earned him both fortune and fame. Lourie intersperses his narrative with background on London’s boyhood, personality, and literary aspirations, and he quotes amply from the work of London and his contemporaries to convey the backbreaking rigors, awe-inspiring landscape, grime, isolation, dangers, and friendships of the journey. London’s mental and physical strength, sociability, and optimism seem at times almost superhuman: that winter, until felled by scurvy, he spent four hours a day collecting the wood needed to burn a fire to thaw eight inches of ground to dig for gold on his claim. Lourie’s captivating tale of the grueling experiences behind London’s crystalline prose testifies to his endurance. Minor’s windswept spot illustrations augment archival and modern photos and other supplemental material. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Susan Ramer, Don Congdon Associates. (Mar.)