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The Iron Heel Paperback – October 25, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1619492288 ISBN-10: 1619492288 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: London Press (October 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619492288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619492288
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

<DIV>

Jack London (1876–1916) published an enormous number of stories and novels, including The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Martin Eden.


Jonathan Auerbach is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park.

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Customer Reviews

I believe that the increasing Socialist vote will prevent - hope for it anyhow.
MR D MCMILLAN
I would advise you to forget all the terrible things you've heard about it and at least give it a chance.
Cody
Throughout the book, London's Nietzschian perspective on socialism was a constant theme.
Peter S. Bradley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter S. Bradley on December 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a terrifically fun novel for (a) science fiction fans or (b) history buffs or (c) Jack London afficianados. The story is a novel written by London in 1908 that describes the failed putsch by socialists during the period running from approximately the 1910s through 1930s as a memoir recovered by a future Socialist utopia hundreds of years in the future. This last conceit allows London to describe the repressive government - the "Iron Heel" or "Oligarchy" - that inevitably follows the Marxist laws of history until the really succesful Socialist revolution occurs in the year 2180, aka Year One of the "Brotherhood of Man." The novel follows Ernest Everhard, and his wife Avery, who is the putative author of the memoir, so this novel also has what may be a unique perspective of London writing in the first person as a woman character, as they try to establish a socialist revolution in a world that is in the death grip of Capitalism.

From a historical perspective, this book is fascinating in that it seems to offer a glimpse into the worldview of the Left prior to World War One. The novel has more than its fair share of polemical moments when London preaches the Socialist gospel through the mouth of Everhard. We learn, for example, that capitalism is doomed to failure as it invests its surplus wealth into the development of foreign markets, which in turn become competitors, leading to a crisis where no further investment is possible. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The rich, who control the governments, pass legislation eliminating the independent middle class and reducing the poor to a state of serfdom. The rich create a special janissary-class of poor, who serve as the police and the army, to oppress their fellow class members.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By william mathews on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Iron Heel is a fictional history, a document of the future about the American socialist revolution against the Oligarchy and its counter-revolutionary forces, the Iron Heel. It seems to have been inspired by H.G. Wells and pieced together with American socialism of the West and its violent episodes, rather than the more urban East Coast tradition. I was raised partly in the Napa-Sonoma area as a teenager, so there was for me a sense of familiarity with the early setting of this tale in northern California.

But this tale of London's was in the end larger than fiction. In print by 1908, it was read by the young Bolshevik, Nicholai Bukharin, and woven into his analysis of imperialism and the expected transition to socialism during and after World War I and the Russian Revolution of October 1917. The Bolsheviks hardly needed inspiration from American socialism and they had their own experiences with Tsarist repression and civil war, but the concept of the Iron Heel stuck. And one thinks London's depiction of the proletariat as 'proles' may also have influenced George Orwell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Barnhart on February 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read other Jack London pieces I thought I might add this to my literacy list. Pleasantly surprised to find it more interesting and entertaining than expected as well as still relevant in many ways and offering worthwhile perspectives and insights into the politics of our own age. It isn't a terribly challenging book and worth reading on at least a few points. If you like Jack London in general you might give it a go. The book being set in a geographic area I know well also shed light on what must be some of the foundations of current political and social thought in the San Francisco Bay area.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Rumpf on July 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
A kind of science fiction story, Jack London's The Iron Heel, written in 1907, tells the story about a battle over America. There are bombs, bullets and riots, but the cause isn't aliens or an evil genius. It's an economic war between the classes. The narrator, Avis Everhard, relates the story of her transformation from the uninformed daughter of a professor at Berkeley to a cunning revolutionary. The Iron Heel is the name given to the forces of the oligarchy that take over America through the influence of money over the government and a private police force. Feeling more like propaganda than sci-fi at times--especially when Avis' husband Ernest speaks in the first part of the book--it is interesting to note how dangerous London views what we call supply side economics on the middle class. "'From your figures, we of the middle class are more powerful than labor,' Mr Asmunsen remarked. 'Calling us weak does not make you stronger in the face of the strength of the Plutocracy,' Ernest retorted...your strength is detachable. It can be taken away...Even now the Plutocracy is taking it away...And then you will cease to be the middle class.'" Admittedly, Jack London was a socialist, but viewed in the context of current events in America, he wasn't far off about the dangers of unchecked corporations and an ever widening economic divide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Frueh on March 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
London's novel of a socialist hero draws a brutal picture of the corporate-power relationship at the beginning of the 20th century. It is filled with wonderfully written oratory drawn, in part, from London's own socialist publications. However, as compelling as the story is, the true power of it comes from the context given by the 'footnotes' written in a dry, almost sardonic tone by the editor from centuries in the future. Through the eyes of this editor, you begin to see the smallness of the individuals in this revolution. It is a beautiful and chilling tale.
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