4 out of 4 stars
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Jack London and Racism in America by Ben Goldstein is a nonfiction book focused on the personal beliefs of the famous author, Jack London, as seen through his writings and personal documents. Ben Goldstein conducted a significant amount of research into the opinions of London by reviewing personal letters and studying biographies of the famous author. This 49-page book takes an in-depth look at the contradictions evident in London’s life and works. London led a fascinating life full of adventure and he held strong opinions on many subjects. Excerpts from letters reproduced in this book show how passionate London was in conveying his opinions.
Goldstein provides several sources that support the position that London believed Anglo-Saxons to be the superior race. This is shown by well-documented research into personal letters and papers. One of the contradictions identified in the book was the fact that Jack London lived with an African American couple on and off until he was sixteen. London’s mother suffered from post-partum depression and was unable to nurse him. A neighboring African American woman had a baby who died, so she was able to nurse Jack. This book describes a close relationship between Jack and this family. Therefore, he was aware of the struggles in the African American community and could relate to the community due to his upbringing. Also, despite statements about the superiority of Anglo-Saxons, many of the main characters and heroes in his novels are not Anglo-Saxon.
I enjoy reading books by Jack London. He was a gifted writer and I particularly liked reading Call of the Wild. It was interesting to learn about the personal life and beliefs of Jack London. I was not familiar with the concept that he may have been racist. I learned a lot about his background and personal life from this book. What I liked most about this book was the direct quotes from letters that London sent to friends and associates. It was interesting to read about his beliefs in his own words. He was very passionate about his beliefs and engaged in arguments via these letters on important topics. The only negative I can mention about the book was that it was a short read. At 49 pages, it contains a lot of detailed information. I would have enjoyed reading more analysis and opinions of Goldstein and he presented his research in this book.
I recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading nonfiction books about famous authors and their personal beliefs. Any reader interested in Jack London would find this book fascinating. It would also appeal to readers who enjoy nonfiction books about racism in America. The book focuses on London and his beliefs; however, it also provides details about the historical aspects of America during this time.
I give this book a rating of four out of four stars. I am impressed by the detailed research presented by the author. The personal letters written by London were fascinating to read. I saw only a few grammatical errors in the book, so I believe it was professionally edited. By reading this book, I learned a lot about Jack London and his personal background and opinions.
Jack London and Racism in America
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