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The Iron Heel (Dover Books on Literature & Drama) Paperback – September 22, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Literature & Drama
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486473651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486473659
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Novel by Jack London, published in 1908, describing the fall of the United States to the cruel fascist dictatorship of the Iron Heel, a group of monopoly capitalists. Fearing the popularity of socialism, the plutocrats of the Iron Heel conspire to eliminate democracy and, with their secret police and military, terrorize the citizenry. They instigate a German attack on Hawaii on Dec. 4, 1912; as socialist revolutions topple capitalist governments around the world, the Iron Heel has 52 socialist members of the U.S. Congress imprisoned for treason. Elements of London's vision of fascism, civil war, and governmental oppression proved to be prophetic in the first half of the 20th century. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I found the characters to be a bit hollow.
Rosalind R. Dawson
The Iron Heel is interesting as an example of a "dystopian" novel which anticipates and influenced George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It is easy reading and a book you won't want to put down.
The Orange Duke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1905 the troops of the Tsar crushed the Russian revolution of 1905. Although the uprising did force Nicholas II to establish a constitution and a parliament, the Russian revolution of 1917 would change the face of the world. However, the uprising also had the interesting effect of inspiring two of the more interesting utopian novels of the early 20th century. One was "Red Star," the socialist utopia on Mars created by the Russian writer Alexander Bogdanov, a Bolshevik and intimate of Lenin. The other was "The Iron Heel," by Jack London, the American author best known for "The Call of the Wild." Whereas Bogdanov forsees the ultimate victory of the socialist and scientific-technical revolutions, London predicts global revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces ending up in an apocalyptic battle betwen the impoverished workers and the privileged minorities. Consequently, the two authors share a common socialist perspective, although Bogdanov writes a utopian novel and London creates a dystopia.
"The Iron Heel" was written in 1908 and remains one of the more prophetic novels of the 20th century. His track record with regards to a national secret police agency, the rise of Fascism, the creation of attractive suburbs for the middle class while the unemployed and menials live in "ghettoes," is markedly better than that of Edward Belleamy's "Looking Backward," Aldoux Huxley's "Brave New World," or George Orwell's "1984," the novels that are usually lauded and judged by their prescience in terms of utopian literature.
The novel presents the story of the American revolutionary Earnest Everhard, as told by his wife Avis, who is actually the more effective revolutionary leader.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jack London's story paints the dark days of pure capitalism where `children, six and seven years of age, working every night at twelve hours shift', where the people of the abyss live like beasts in great squalid labor-ghettos and where `my father lied, stole and did all sorts of dishonorable things to put bread in my mouth.'
In pure Marxist style, a tiny Plutocracy (seven powerful groups) has taken hold of all powers in the US. It has at its beck and call the police, the army, the courts, the schools and private militias. The press became `suppressage'. Its policy is to print nothing that is a vital menace to the established and to mould public opinion.
The Church is also their mouthpiece: `the command to the Church was `Feed my lambs', but out of the dividends magnificent churches are built where your kind preaches pleasant platitudes to the sleek, full-bellied recipients of those dividends.' When one of its ministers speaks out for the poor, he is put in an asylum for being `insane'.
In order to keep control of the proletarians, the Plutocrats force a split in the unions between the strong unions in the monopoly corporations and the rest of weakly organized labor.
Another means of control is terrorism and `agents provocateurs' whose bloody attacks are foisted on the shoulders of their enemies.

The only opposition to the rule of the oligarchs consists of the `Brotherhood of Man', a socialist semi-clandestine organization.
A Marxian capitalistic endgame explodes with a bloody war between the few and the many ...

This forceful revolutionary book is brushed in an idealistic tone, with rather naïve black and white (the good and the bad) colors.
Unfortunately, it is partly still very topical.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tall Toad on February 23, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This text is an interesting adventure for Jack London into futurism. Probably his only complete attempt at Science Fiction. He depicts the rise and struggles of Socialism against the Oligarchy in an eerily premonitory way. While this tale predates the Soviet and Chinese actions of the past century, it seems to not only predict them, it actually helps to explain them. I'm told that Jack, who was an avid Socialist for most of his life, actually resigned from the Party not long after finishing this work. In a way, he struggles to answer his own questions about the future of social systems here. After this work, he turns back to tales of adventure and finishes his days sailing the South Pacific.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn G. Moberg on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jack London gives a chillingly realistic tale of the rise of "The Iron Heel", which is a term for the capitalists who control some 75%-90% of the wealth of the world and use it to keep power. When Ernest and Avis Everhard try to lead a socialist revolution, The Iron Heel steps up and attempts to crush it. The Iron Heel mercylisly slaughters the proletariat and the socialists. While Eric Blair's (George Orwell) 1984 was a great warning and Zamyatin's We was frighteningly logical, London's The Iron Heel is unquestioningly the most realistic of the genre.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By multiscan on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
This edition is incomplete. The full, original work is a frame-story, kind of like Bellamy's "Looking Backward". The editors chose to cut out London's all-important Foreward, which sets the "novel" up as an incomplete manuscript discovered (rather implausibly inside of an oak tree, if I recall correctly) centuries after its writing.

Buy the Lawrence Hill version, which is complete and has a good contemporary critical introduction.
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