Jack London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was a famous American writer, journalist and novelist of the early 20th century. He had a traumatic early life, two troubled marriages, and a death, possibly due to suicide, shrouded in mystery. After engaging in "oyster pirating," becoming a tramp, and getting a grueling, low-paying job, he went to the University of California at Berkeley in 1896, only to stay a year and fail to graduate. He joined the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897, during which he developed Scurvy. However, some of his best known and most successful stories, such as the Call of the Wild and White Fang, were based on his Gold Rush experiences.
London became a socialist, and his political leanings are revealed in some of his writing, especially the less-known The Iron Heel, an early pro-socialist dystopian novel. In 1905, he was among the founding members of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.
The cause of his death is unknown. In the past it was usually claimed to be suicide. However, there is no real proof of this, and it is based heavily on events in his fiction. In the present day, his death is usually credited to uremia, a type of blood-poisoning related to renal (kidney) failure.
Among his best-known works are the novels The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Martin Eden, and The Iron Heel. Also well known is his autobiographical work John Barleycorn.