Jack London and the Gold Rush
Henry Holt, 2017
ISBN 978-0805097573
more books
  Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush
written by Peter Lourie
illustrations by Wendell Minor

Swept up in the Gold Rush of 1897, young Jack London headed north to strike it rich in the Klondike and discovered something more precious than gold—the seeds of the stories that would flower into his classic novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang, and timeless short stories such as "To Build A Fire."

This gripping tale follows London as he treks up the ruthless Chilkoot Trail, braves the lethal Whitehorse Rapids, survives a bad case of scurvy, and conquers many more dangers of the Yukon during his quest for gold.

Punctuated by stunning black-and-white art by Wendell Minor and illustrative photographic material, here is the compelling story of how one writer drew upon a rugged life of adventure to create works of literature.


Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb (interview)

Behind the Book

Awards and Recognition

Evanston Public Library's 101 Great Books for Kids
Junior Library Guild Selection
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018


“In visceral descriptions, Lourie recounts the treacherous, backbreaking 500-mile trek up mountains and down rivers … Minor lends atmospheric sketches, but the numerous archival photos add a greater perspective of the time. Rich in details for social studies and language arts.” (Booklist, starred review)

“In this thoroughly riveting real-life-adventure story, Lourie recounts in visceral detail the frequently treacherous, relentlessly grueling 500-mile traverse along the ruthless Chilkoot Trail and Whitehorse Rapids to the Klondike gold mines. Lourie explains how London's experiences in the Klondike became the seeds for some of his best-known, most highly regarded works … Extensive backmatter includes information on First Nations peoples of the area and additional facts about London's journey. A gripping and harrowing true adventure story and a penetrating look into the formative experiences of a writer, one of the first to become a worldwide celebrity.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A fantastic work” (VOYA)

“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.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Lourie’s command of the Stampeders’ trials is first rate, and London’s personal experiences are in many ways typical of the 1897 adventurers who invested all they had, fought their way over the Chilkoot Pass, braved the rapids on their way to Dawson in leaky handmade boats, and arrived (if they were very lucky) in time to stake and register claims that would change their lives.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

Copyright © 2010- Peter Lourie. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Site designed and maintained by Winding Oak
All materials on this site may be copied for classroom or library use but may not be reprinted or resold for commercial purposes.