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Before Adam (Hesperus Classics) Paperback – Bargain Price, July 1, 2004

ISBN-10: 1843910977

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Product Details

  • Series: Hesperus Classics
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843910977
  • ASIN: B005Q7KUT8
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,595,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

London is far from the Yukon in this story, which was first serialized in 1906. In a way, it's London's take on the jungle man theme made popular first by Kipling's The Jungle Books and Burroughs's Tarzan. The story follows a California man who experiences visions of a prehistoric society led by Big-Tooth, who actually is the protagonist. This edition contains a map of Big-Tooth's world as well as numerous illustrations.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'Jack London has performed a wonderful feat' The New York Times 'Jack London revolutionised American fiction' The Independent --This text refers to the Digital edition.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
I'm glad I read it, for the book has given me much to think about.
Tom Bruce
I find the style crisp and concrete, and the "far out" premise of the story very believable.
R. Beach
I have been looking for it for years and will definitely get another copy to read again.
"vspringer"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Beach on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating, fast-paced story about Man just before he became Man. I loved being taken back to our origins by the totally plausible "time-machine" of genetic memory as presented by Jack London. The story literally shows us the stuff our dreams and we ourselves are made of. This is the first Jack London I've ever read and I'm looking forward to more. I somehow missed having to read Call of the Wild in my school days. I find the style crisp and concrete, and the "far out" premise of the story very believable. I would recommend this to any thoughtful junior high school student and to all adults.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bruce on March 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have never read a book quite like Jack London's "Before Adam." It would be interesting to learn what his target audience for this book was -- young teens, high school students, adults? In it, London sets the premise for the reason of common dreams we all have, such as the dream of falling through space. He attests that it comes from our pre-man existence when we lived and slept in trees and falling meant almost sure death. He takes this theory a giant step forward through the narrator of the book who claims he has pre-historic dreams in which he sees himself as a pre-historic tree and cave dweller named Big Tooth. He creates a fascinating world for Big Tooth to inhabit, and delves into early evolution and survival of the fittest. There are a few holes in his logic, but mostly the story holds together well with several exciting chase sequences. The world of Big Tooth is horrifying, and I think for young teens who are susceptible, it could induce additional nightmares beyond falling. There are dramatic scenes of killing, torture, wife beating, and mass exterminations which are quite explicit. I'm glad I read it, for the book has given me much to think about.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on October 8, 2001
Format: CD-ROM
Nightmares plague the narrator's childhood. In these dreams he relives the pre-stoneage life of one of his proto-human ancestors. Each night is a different episode from his ancestor's life, and the episodes are lived and relived in a jumbled, non-chronological order. The narrator places the episodes in chronological order and tells his ancestor's biography. What emerges is an action-packed, engaging saga of adventure and romance at the dawn of humanity.
London got the science of genetics wrong as he tried to explain how the narrator could have such memories, but he seems to have gotten one thing right. Modern paleo-anthropology posits that for most of prehistory, the earth contained several coexisting species of hominids. London peoples his world with three hominid species. His description of the interaction between these species probably gives an accurate depiction of ancient man's inter-species interaction.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg Hughes on November 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I only started reading Jack London's work three years ago, but I've had an interest in prehistoric times and evolution since I was ten. When I tried explaining to other children that humans and apes may have evolved from a common ancestor they just sort of sneered in disbelief. This was over a hundred years after Charles Darwin had died.
Jack London's first SF novel "Before Adam" is an imaginitive, compelling read. Through his dreams, a twentieth century man "remembers" events from another time and place - a life lived at the dawn of time. The narrator "Big-Tooth" shows us the harsh brutality of prehistoric life, the endless struggle to survive, the constant danger posed by predators looking for food, and the menace of the "Fire Men" - a race more advanced than the species Big-Tooth belongs to, a race that have learned to use fire and kill prey with bows and arrows. It's very rare for anyone to live beyond middle age. Most people die violent deaths, either at the hands of a rival, or satisfying the hunger of a beast.
This is not the first story with a prehistoric setting (Jack London was apparently accused of plagiarism by another author, Stanley Waterloo), but it's a wonderful book nevertheless. London later wrote a book with a similar premise called "The Star Rover", in which a condemned prisoner puts himself into a trance and experiences his past lives. It's possible that J.G. Ballard had also read "Before Adam" before writing "The Drowned World", another book about race memory and the retreat into prehistory. There's a lot of psychology in it.
As a species we've certainly come a long way, or so we like to think. The slaughter initiated by the Fire Men looking for living space has been repeated time and time again.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lamont G. Sible Jr. on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
While I'm not much into reading fiction or Sci-Fi type books; I have to say, this is probably one of the best books, I've ever read in my life. ( and I'm an avid reader)
Jack London has a way of really pulling your mind into the picture. ( Or putting pictures/stories inside your head)
If you're looking for a book to take your mind of things, or want to live a vicarious experience, I can think of no better book than this one.
This is one of Jack Londons stellar achievements. The ending will surprise you.
An awesome book, that you'll have trouble putting down, until you're finished.
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