The Call of the Wild & White Fang (Vintage Classics)

by Jack London

Paperback, 2014

Call number




Vintage (2014), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages


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. White Fang is the story of a wolf-dog who is befriended by a kind man who becomes his master.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Choccy
This probably will be one of my all time fave of animal books. Makes me think whether Jack himself was a reincarnation of a wolf himself, becoz his description is so damn real.

The setting is around the end of the 19th century. The Call of the Wild tells about Buck, a normal house-bred dog who was kidnapped and brought to Alaska to be a sled dog. There he has to face a brutal and merciless world with its “law of club and fang”. The description on how he was decivilized, until finally he answers "The Call of the Wild", to become a leader of a wolf pack is so touching yet horrible.

On the contrary, White Fang tells a story about a wolf, born in the wild, but finally has to grow among the Indians and educated to be a sled dog. Because his owner had a debt due his liquor addiction, he was sold to a wicked white man who made him become a fighting wolf and had to face life and death at the arena. Similar with Buck, White Fang must learn how to surrender himself completely to a new situation. It gave me the creep when I read the author's desription about the submission process of a wolf to the hands of men. Domestification is not as simple as you think….

Truly a splendid reading. You’ll learn (again) that the world can be so cruel and only the strong will prevail.
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LibraryThing member jd234512
London, much like Kipling, does an excellent job of imagining what must go through an animal's head as they interact with us humans. We are an odd bunch to them, and he does good in trying to look at life through a different perspective. So often we are taken into the thought process of people, and I really enjoy when we are allowed to see into an animal's perspective.… (more)
LibraryThing member ysar
This is another I haven't read since childhood, but remember well. Call of the Wild was brutal in subject matter and quite disturbing to a young girl, but interesting nonetheless. White Fang was more to my liking, but both were wonderful reads
LibraryThing member reading_fox
Two counterpoint stories of a dog gone wild and a wild gone dog. Both unfortunately suffer from the same flaws which are at times mitagated by some decent moving prose, but mostly it just drags.

Call of the wild:
Buck is a hefty mogrel, dognapped out of a Californian comfy life to help power the late 1800s goldrush as a sled dog. Despite being a domesticated dog for 10000 years or so Jack London imparts him (and no others) with the instincts of a wolf, an some very unbelivable 'yearning' to 'go back to nature' which is just victorian melodrama of the worst anthromorphisation. Apparently his large dog build gives him a competitivie advantage over evolution's million years of perfecting a wolf.

White fang is almost as bad, White fang being a wolf quarter dog hybrid (already pretty improbable) suddenly decides for no explained reason other than 'racial memory' which doesn't exist that humans are automatically good. I have no issues with a wolf being tamed, all animals can be tamed, but it's a specific process not a genetic compulsion. And he reverts from a wild creature to a sled dog over the course of a slightly longer novel.

Interspersed with these annoying inaccuracies are tediously long descriptions sometimes of the dogs mental states, followed byt he disclaimer that they aren't feeling as a human would. It's all just annoying. There are pages of and pages of dog fights too, slash turn run away shoulder barge slash. etc.

The good bits in both stories are the occasionally moving portrayals of how the dogs interact with man. Probably best read if you don't own a dog, but do kind of like them.
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LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
Two stories with a very similar idea to them. In one case a wolf-dog becomes the fiercest fighter and leader of a pack of wolves, then is forced to fight to the death with other dogs, and finally discovers love with a gentle man; in the second, a domesticated though rather large dog goes the opposite route, from a settled home in California to the Alaskan wilderness, becomes fierce to survive, and only at the end rediscovers the joys of human warmth and comfort.

Both stories are excellently written - and were far more enjoyable than I had hoped they would be.
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LibraryThing member scottbrown88
I came to these books having read John Krakauer's Into the Wild, the story of Chris McCandless. Chris had read these book that inspired him to go on his epic adventure to Alaska that led to his death.

Being Highly interested in that story I was compelled to read these two stories.

I have read The Call of the Wild and am 2 chapters into White Fang. I really did love the former and I can see why it was the inspiration of McCandless. Following the story from the view point of Buck, the cross-breed house dog who was kidknapped to the hard wilds of the Northlands was written fantastically and in a believeble manner. Great story and portrayal of the relationship between man and dog.

Highly recommend this book, and I look forward to completing White Fang
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LibraryThing member urhockey22
I have not read White Fang yet, but Call of the Wild was a very good book. Well-written and no longer than it had to be, it is a great story told by a great storyteller.
LibraryThing member rayski
White Fang - Opposite story of Call of the Wild, this time we follow the lives of a wolf pack leading to the birth of half wolf White Fang. WF integration into the human world shows us a different view of our species through the eyes of another. In the end WF is tamed and accepts all of our world.
LibraryThing member dragonasbreath
Both are the kind of childhood favorites you hold for years and pass on to the next generation.
The musing thing is the domestic dog turns wild and the wild dog happily accepts domesticity.
LibraryThing member burnit99
"The Call of the Wild" is a short novel about Buck, a St. Bernard/Scotch Shepherd mix who is taken from his comfortable California home during the fever of the Klondike gold rush, and pressed into duty as a sled team dog. He is passed on to a succession of masters, quickly shedding his soft civilized shell and becoming lean, hard and resourceful. Eventually the death of his final master at the hands of the Yeehat Indian tribe leads to Buck's freedom and an opportunity to join the wolf pack that runs through the forest. The book is a short masterpiece of occasionally lyrical beauty.

"White Fang" is a more substantial work that in some ways reverses the theme of "The Call of the Wild", as we see the progression of White Fang, a wolf/dog born in the wild who follows his mother as she returns to the Yeehat tribe she left during a famine some years back. White Fang learns the ways of these gods who are now his masters, until he is sold to a cruel white human who makes him a sport-fighting dog and brutalizes him until he is a merciless hate-filled demon of a dog. When a kind human liberates him from his torment, it is an open question if, and to what degree, White Fang can join the society of man and canine. I actually enjoyed this more than London's more famous work. It was also surprising to me that a pair of books written over a century ago could show such enlightened attitudes about human society and animal treatment.
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LibraryThing member SumisBooks
A black beauty in dog form. 🐺
Buck is a dog that was sold from his serene California home to become a sled dog. After insurmountable odds and countless tragedies, Buck finally learns to become one with his wild side in Call of the Wild.
White Fang takes us on a journey with the half sled dog half wolf dog pup who shares the same name as the book. After being sold in order to save an Indian village he becomes a fighting dog who is later saved by a kindly Sheriff that teaches him to trust man again.
I think Jack London's books are popular as classics and have stood the test of time simply because of the tremendous roller coaster ride that each one takes you through. The books are skillfully written and easy to follow the heart-wrenching downfalls and short bursts of happiness as London takes you through his stories of the wild dog. London is also very skilled at making the human the villain and showing just how cruel we can be to our animal brethren.
I enjoyed these books but like I said it's a roller coaster ride. It's just tragedy after tragedy and doesn't seem to lift you up very high after the tragedies until the very end when the dogs are finally liberated. I would definitely recommend these books to anyone who likes animals or enjoys classics.
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LibraryThing member SebastianHagelstein
I read White Fang two years ago for school and don't remember much about it, but Call of The Wild I just finished. It's interesting how you can make a dog a well-rounded character. I like Buck because he progresses and changes throughout the story. He starts out well cared for and is stolen by a man in a red sweater who beats him with a club. He learns "The Law of Club and Fang" which is kind of a dog-eat-dog philosophy. He becomes more powerful, wild, and aggressive. He learns what love is when John Thorton saves his life.… (more)
LibraryThing member justmum
Excellently written. I skipped the dog-fighting part - not too keen on that-but nevertheless a great read.
LibraryThing member SEliz

Took forever for me to have time to finish all of this but we loved it. The descriptiveness and clarity used had an entrancing effect on me as stories of my childhood. I loved it. My daughter (10) also kept asking for more every night.
LibraryThing member madepercy
Brilliant. No wonder these are regarded as classics. As the synopsis suggests, reading the two novella together is a good idea. These reminded me of Black Beauty in style, yet London captures the harshness of the Northland and its people with the ever-present "Wild" that sets these two works apart.
LibraryThing member atdCross
London has given us a story of raw nature and humanity. With Darwin's evolution in mind, London sends us on two journeys that is as savage as it is beautiful, chaotic as it is poetic as we follow on the trail of a dog in "Call of the Wild" and a hybrid wolf-dog in "White Fang" in the the Klondike Gold Rush that occurred in the Yukon, north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899.

London's storytelling is vivid as he captures the primal, violent, self-preserving thoughts of his bestial protagonists, even amidst human cruelty, violence, and compassion. London seems to capture in these two stories, beasts that roam free and wild, without fetters and shadows humanity as it really is whether or not we believe in evolution or in God.

This specific edition of Call and the Wild and White Fang is an excellent edition due to its introduction of the author, Jack London, whose life is not only very interesting but illuminates the reading of his two novels to a greater level of appreciation.
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LibraryThing member DominiqueMarie
This is a beautiful cloth-bound copy of The Call of the Wild and White Fang. I received a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways. I love it! It is even nicer than it looks online, and the paper even feels nice and "fancy". These are two of favorite stories, and I love that they are included in one volume.
LibraryThing member LostArchive
This contains both The Call Of The Wild and its FOIL, White Fang. It's a good value if you want to read both classics, although the former is a stronger piece than the later. The Call Of The Wild is a touted classic for a reason and explores the journey of a domestic dog (from it's prospective) into, well, the wild. White Fang as noted is the inverse following a wolf-dogs journey into becoming mans best friend. They are must reads and excellent. The later is somewhat less impressive as White Fang is quite repetitive which can be dull and bothersome, especially when accompanying such as masterpiece as The Call Of The Wild. The former is a solid 4 star piece, the later 3 stars, but half stars aren't a thing here. I would recommend The Call Of The Wild to anyone interested in classical literature or animal-centric books. I would only recommend White Fang to those interested in more from London and have already read the former first. Thankfully this combination book allows for the freedom to read both if one desires, and cheaply.… (more)
LibraryThing member gypsysmom
I've listened to the first book in this set, The Call of the Wild. It was a book I read when I was young but I didn't remember much about it. Buck was taken from his life of luxury on Judge Miller's ranch and sold to men who were putting together dog teams to travel the Yukon gold rush. Buck is an exceptional dog, smart and a leader and he soon gains the admiration of people who see him. But it is a hard life and becomes even harder when he is sold to three inexperienced gold rushers. Buck eventually refuses to lead the dog team and he is almost killed but he is saved by a man, Thornton, who is recovering from an injury. Thornton and Buck become very close but Buck starts to feel the "call of the wild". He spends days away from the mining camp and on one of his trips the camp is overrun by natives and Thornton and his partners are killed.

I can't quite feel comfortable with the level of violence in this book. I must have noticed it when I was young and it didn't stick with me but I would hesitate to recommend this to very young readers.
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