The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

Ebook, 2016



The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

Library's rating


(2829 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Othemts
Believe it or not, I've never read The Call of the Wild (1903) by Jack London, which one would think is a requirement of being a kid in America. And I still haven't read it, although on a whim I listened to my library's audiobook copy, albeit not very carefully. Narrated in an appropriately macho fashion by Frank Muller, The Call of the Wild tells the story of Buck a farm dog who is kidnapped from Northern California and forced to pull sleds for for miners in the Yukon gold rush. A cushy pet learns to fight for food and compete for leadership of the pack through fighting and violence, and eventually becomes alpha dog in a wild wolf pack after his owner dies.

Yes friends, before I read this book I knew it had something to do with Alaska and dogs, but I had no idea that the entire book is about a dog from a dog's point of view. Granted, the book is very symbolic in that we humans sit very tenuously on the edge of civilization and brutality and savageness (and London wrote this before the World Wars, the Holocaust, and all the horrors of the 20th century that tested humanity). Still, as a book about dogs it's a very good and accurate look at what may be going on in a dog's mind.
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LibraryThing member bkmeredith
This book was okay. That's all.

I was expecting a bit more really. so much happens in the book but it's glossed over pretty quickly each time and then something new comes along. The characters are all fairly vague so you don't really care when they pass out of the story.

It was short but I was more than ready for it to end. Not a bad book but just not one I was drawn in by.… (more)
LibraryThing member velvetsnape
I hate this book! Any book where a dog gets abused sucks!
LibraryThing member shulera1
I had never read anything by Jack London before, and felt pretty guilty about that fact, so I picked up The Call of the Wild on audiobook and loved it. The prose was elegant in its simplicity, the pacing was quick and engaging, and I felt Buck wasn't made too human.

Excellent read. I would recommend it to anyone.… (more)
LibraryThing member Schmerguls
I read this book when I was a freshman in hih school and while I have nor surviving record of what I thought about it when I read it mymemory is that I liked it a lot.
LibraryThing member EadieB
I listened to this audio and enjoyed the story very much. I can't believe I never read this before. I loved Jack London's intuitive feeling for animals. This story traces Buck's sudden entry into the wild and his education in survival among the wolves. Jack London's writing is exceptional and makes him one of the greatest American storytellers. If you haven't read this yet, you should as it is a quick, easy and thrilling read.… (more)
LibraryThing member theokester
I vaguely remember reading The Call of the Wild while I was in elementary school. I remembered it being a story about a sled dog in the cold wilderness of Alaska. Beyond that, I had forgotten nearly all of the plot and most of the characters and so it was with fairly fresh eyes that I reproached this book.

The first thing I noticed that the book was told from a close 3rd person view of the DOG's perspective. I'm sure this point of view is one of the characteristics that made this book initially interesting to critics and educators. Fortunately there is a lot more to the book than a novel or quirky idea of telling the story from a dog's point of view. The perspective change didn't come off as cheesy or manipulative. Rather the narrative choice allowed us to see the story in a new mindset and brush away stereotypical thoughts and ideas. By stripping away our human perspective it leaves us open to seeing ideas and principles in a new light.

Even though we are tied very closely to the dog Buck and his cohorts, the story doesn't become an animated cartoon or other scenario where the animals are humanized and given thoughts or speech. This choice was surprising but as I thought about it I found myself really appreciating the fact that even though the story is being told "through" Buck, we don't find Buck as fully anthropomorphized as you might see in other stories. While we read some of his general thoughts we don't "hear" him thinking or speaking in a human sense. I really liked this distinction as it keeps his animal self a bit more distance and less invaded by human traits seen in something like Animal Farm or other animal fiction tales. Still I can see the argument that we really can't know what an animal is thinking or feeling and so it is still certain that London has placed some human thoughts and motivations onto Buck that may not be wholly natural.

As to the high level plot, we follow the life of Buck the dog from the time he is stolen from his warm, comfortable home in California and taken to the Yukon to be a sled dog during the gold rush. He is confused, angry and belligerent but he also quickly realizes the nature of the situation and the reliance on the humans for food, protection and care. Buck learns which humans to trust and how to behave around them and he also gets to know the other dogs on his team and in his camp. Over time Buck works in a variety of teams and for a variety of different people but the more and more he lives in the cold wilderness, the more he realizes there is something out there calling to him.

I really enjoyed seeing Buck learning to navigate the harsh new world he'd been thrown into. Not only did he have to learn how to manage the cold snow (which he'd never seen before) and the bitter environment but he also had to deal with men and dogs who didn't respect him or care for him in the same way he was used to. He had to learn the ins and outs of a whole new social structure. by dealing with the new pack mentality of fighting for food and learning which dogs were leaders, which were followers and which would stand by neutrally. It also showcases his struggle between domestication or subservience to humans and the fight to return to his primitive nature and animal instincts.

Overall I really enjoyed this story and can see why it's recommended reading for younger readers, especially younger boys. The story is fast paced and has some exciting action sequences. It deals with the life of dogs, adventurers and the unknown wilderness. Beyond its basic appeal to the readers, the book does a good job teaching about different aspects of the world. Even though it focuses on the life of a dog it can teach readers a lot about the nuances of social interaction, dealing with hardship, making difficult choices, loyalty, trust and love. There are some violent scenes that could trouble younger readers, especially animal lovers, but otherwise I see this as a great book for elementary kids or middle graders to read and I think adults can have a lot of fun with this as well.

4 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member jodyjoujou
My first book ever to read when I started Middle school. One of my favorite lit books. Its a great book because it plays on all the different level of the readers' feelings. Sometimes I felt angry, sad, and some chapter and plot made me happy, excited. Overall I recommend it for anyone who needs to get into reading this book will make you want to read more.… (more)
LibraryThing member gamermom2004
A great story of the struggle between tame and wild. A true classic that everyone should read. Great for the younger generations.
LibraryThing member tripleblessings
Stolen from his family home in California, whipped and brutalized, the big dog Buck quickly learns the harsh law of survival among the men and dogs of the gold-crazed North. He goes to the Klondike during the 1897 gold rush, becomes a sled dog, and fights his way to become a feared leader, even killing his rival. When he finds the one man he can love and trust, they make a formidable team. But ultimately Buck's instincts draw him to join the wild wolves of the north.… (more)
LibraryThing member meagandye
I really enjoyed this book. I do not usually enjoy novels that are about animals or are from an animal’s perspective. However, this novel was very interesting and entertaining. It was fun going along with Buck on his adventure and watching him grow and change. Although Buck is a dog, it was really easy to relate to him and what he had to go through as a person. Although people do not go through the changes that Buck had to go through, we do go through changes similar to him and must learn how to adapt and grow with them. Dog lovers would definitely love this book, but even those who don’t would most likely like it equally.… (more)
LibraryThing member dedeoh
This book is about the life of a wolf. The wolf lives in the wild nature. I like the nature and animals, so I can enjoy to read this book.
LibraryThing member TonyaSB
I drive a lot for work and get bored with listening to the radio after a while. A lot of times I'll listen to audiobooks but they're so expensive that I haven't listened to one in a while. So I was happily surprised when I found White Fang and The Call of the Wild on audio for $4 apiece at Half Price Books. If you are not familiar with this store, I am very sorry. It's absolutely wonderful (but not near as wonderful as our own Recycled Books here in Denton - I really love that store).

So I remember reading The Call of the Wild when I was kid and I think I saw a movie on White Fang at some point in my life but they're both very fuzzy and needless to say I had the two confused in my head. Well, maybe not confused but merged is the better word. I had somehow remembered a wild half-wolf dog that was captured and tortured to fight other dogs then rescued and taught be a sled dog who eventually went back to the wild. Yeah. Just remember it had been a long time.

After listening to the two back to back, I believe that The Call of the Wild is my favorite of the two simply because I'm not fond of the narrative in White Fang. The narrator keeps referring to people as "gods" in White Fangs eyes. Also, he sees power as coming from material possessions. This is a human qualification and I have never seen animals give deference to another animal because of possessions. They base power on strength. It is possible with some animals that the leader may have access to more food and other possessions but that is because he/she is ALREADY leader. Those things do not make the leader. So, because the wolf apparently sees materials possessions as power he sees white people as being superior to all others. See where I'm going here? Very irritating.

Ok, here's another problem: inconsistency. I realize these are different stories but they both concern sled dogs at some point. In The Call of the Wild, the sled dogs regard the lead sled dog with deference and treat him as leader in all other aspects of life. In White Fang, the other dogs view the lead dog as running away from them and therefore a coward to be tormented. The lead dog must sit with the people in order to be protected. WHAT??!! I don't know anything about sledding but I know about dogs and this simply doesn't make sense. The Call of the Wild was written first so maybe he discovered something that I don't know about. I tried to find some other reviews to see if there was any mention of this but all I could find were school papers and descriptions of the book. Anyone know where I can find good critiques not written by 6th graders?

Ok, so I didn't completely dislike White Fang. I was irritated by those things but the storyline is very good. I was surprised when I found out it was written after The Call of the Wild because it seems a little more rough. It reads like a first book, where The Call of the Wild seems more polished. In both books I really enjoyed the interplay between the main characters and the other dogs. The dogs seemed more real than the people. This makes complete sense, since the story is told from the point of view of the dog. The other dogs would be the ones that Buck and White Fang knew the best. London accomplishes this very well. I also enjoyed the exchange between Buck and Thornton and White Fang and Scott. Being an animal lover and having dogs all my life, I know the power of the love from an animal. I was impressed by how Scott won over White Fang. His devotion to Scott reminds me of my boyfriend's dog, Skillet, who treats Jeff as if he hung the moon and my dog, Loki, who treats me the same way. Both of these dogs were rescued also. There seems to be something that happens to a dog who is rescued and loved that makes them more devoted than a dog who comes to you as a puppy, like my other dog, Aurora. She obviously loves me and I love her very much but Loki and Skillet become visibly upset just being out of our presence. I was also impressed that Buck remained with Thornton even when he wanted to be free simply because he loved this man. Many people may say this is anthropomorphizing, that animals can't love like this. I say they have never given themselves to an animal enough to feel that love.
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LibraryThing member BrianDewey
London, Jack. Call of the Wild. Bantam Books, New York, 1981. Classic tale of life during the Klondike gold rush.
LibraryThing member ague
I rated this book a 9 out of 10. It is a great adventure story about a dog, and thus little or no dialogue takes place.
LibraryThing member GBev2008
I never read this as a youngster though it seemed to be "unofficially required" reading in elementary school. I always assumed it was man and his dog story, but it turned out to be civilized dog returns to wilderness story told from the dog's point of view. And it worked well. Very well written and engaging.
LibraryThing member rayski
Stolen from his home and sold to dog sled outfitters, Buck hears his call and is forever changed…for his better. Makes one think about his personal callings and decisions.
LibraryThing member ari.joki
Much of Jack London's Yukon fiction reads like collections of short stories. Some chapters of Call of the Wild make a more continuous story, while mostly it reads in nice, commute-sized nuggets. The animal protagonist feels strong and warm. The paleontological segments, while still evocative, do not agree with current science.… (more)
LibraryThing member BellaFoxx
I have had this book for a while and remember not being interested in it enough to read it. Out of shear boredom while waiting for a book from the library, I decided to read this, mainly because of its size. The time was right and I enjoyed it. I know why I bought it in the first place, it is the type of book I would read when a teenager. Very interesting book.… (more)
LibraryThing member SaraH5
I thought that this book was not very good. It was about a dog that was stolen and then was abused and hurt. I would only tell someone to read it if it was the last book on the face of the earth.
LibraryThing member nyanyanhoi
This story about the dog that for dog sled.They endure cold and hurt. They grow up strongly like wolf. There are some person abandon their dog if dog get weak. But Thornton desn't.
I think It's very nice story. I feel friendship between human and the dog. Because when Thornton in danger, the dog try to help him.… (more)
LibraryThing member inglesby
At first when I started to read this book I wasn't very interested in it. It was hard for me to stay connected to read. But, after a while I decided to pick up the book and finish it. It is a very short read, and I'm so glad to have finished it. Buck is a very courageous wolf that has to adapt to new surroundings. This is a very heart-felt story that everyone should read.… (more)
LibraryThing member KendraRenee
Very fast-paced and action-packed. London writes like a natural, and I really enjoyed the story's embodiment of Darwin's ideas/theories. Its eloquent narration of Buck's return to nature appeals to my own instincts, having grown up somewhat removed from typical "civilization" myself ... but I have to admit, his emphasis on THE fittest, Buck, feels rather aloof and elitist for me. But in that sense, I suppose London is staying true to the story's central theme: only the fittest DO and CAN survive.… (more)
LibraryThing member mikeru
The main character of this story is a dog that is called Buck.
He was had by a man, but one day he is carried off and meets various people and dogs.
He is very clever and strong, so I think he is like a wild wolf.
Buck's life is thrilling and terrible. But he followed the call of the wild finally, so his life may be happy.
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LibraryThing member mrichter
I was going to share this book with my son however thought better of it after the first chapter. This book is definitely for the older...older set of children. It contains a GREAT DEAL of violence. If you are an animal lover as am I you will have a hard time stomaching this one. That being said I could not stop myself from following Buck on his journey. I felt so sad for him when he was taken from his plush life and thrust into the brutal world of a working dog in during the gold rush. I found myself cheering him on against both the human bullies and cay-nine bullies. I felt genuine satisfaction in his following his instincts and returning to the wild. Jack London brings you into the story with all of his gory detail. This was a wrenching book to read, I would definitely suggest it for the oldest group of students. They don't make them like this anymore (probably would be sued by PEDA).… (more)


Enhanced Media Publishing (2016), 141 pages

Original publication date







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