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To Build a Fire Paperback – January 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453607943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453607947
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Short story by Jack London, published in Century Magazine in 1908, later reprinted in the 1910 collection Lost Face. (An earlier draft had been published in 1902 in Youth's Companion.) London's widely anthologized masterpiece illustrates in graphic terms the futility of human efforts to conquer nature. Set in the Klondike in winter, the story concerns a man who ignores warnings and attempts to travel a great distance in the extreme cold. Although even his dog senses the folly of the journey, the man stubbornly continues to believe in his own infallibility. His doom is sealed when, after getting his feet wet, he is unable to build the crucial fire that might save his life. London's stark, unadorned prose is a powerful vehicle for his grim message. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

Jack London's eerie short story of life and death in the Yukon cold is brought to a vivid new level. This audio presentation is fully scored with music which could easily stand alone and is narrated to perfection. The slow, low voice of Gonneau, enhanced with the slightest trace of accent, is paced to capture every nuance of confidence, fear, panic and resignation. This combination creates a haunting tone which enlivens every phrase and makes the experience of the literature, the music and the spoken word endure. For any sceptic of the power of the audio format, this is an excellent response. R.F.W. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on April 30, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
"To Build a Fire" is one of the greatest short stories ever and perhaps Jack London's masterpiece. A consummate naturalist work, it is a superb example of realism, almost painstakingly portraying what it is like to be in the bitterly cold Yukon without adequate provisions. This alone would lend significant historical value, an intriguing look at America's last frontier, but the story is of course far more than this. Its genius is its simplicity; London manages to put a world of significance into a short work with very little conventional action. The story itself is absorbing; suspense mounts and mounts, and London has the trick of making us always feel that something ultra exciting is happening or about to happen. His prose is also top-notch - restrained yet lyrical. What makes the story great above all, though, is its plethora of important themes: human hubris, nature's immensity, humanity vs. nature, etc. Naturalism normally shows how environment shapes people, sometimes almost fatalistically, but London vividly shows that we are always in control of our fate. Nature may seem unsympathetic or unforgiving but is actually neutral and certainly not malicious; it is a blank canvas on which we paint our lives - sometimes to our detriment. One could argue that the story's real message boils down to the famous Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared." It unforgettably shows how this is far easier said than done. An excellent work all around, "To Build" is essential for anyone interested in London, American literature, or the time and place - nay, for anyone at all interested in short stories. It is worth reading alone, but the fact that it is in virtually every London collection plus many others makes a standalone hard to justify. The important thing at any rate is to read it in some form.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1996
Format: Paperback
Although at times this book becomes slightly boring, the overall effect makes it well worth reading. A multitude of stories are told throughout time, yet few truly well-told tales exist among them. These well-told tales are not only memorable, they also exhibit exceptional grammatical ingenuity. The extreme setting and vivid, descriptive adjectives, by a notable author, make this a remarkable piece of literature. A lone, rather unlikable man and his dog are portrayed throughout the story. This inhumane man, in ingnoring his elders, does himself great damage. As the temperature in the story lowers, the suspense rises considerably. The reader may find themself at the edge of their seat while reading, as the man, oblivious to the cold, continues to trudge on. This book ought to be read by everyone, for the theme of the story appears to be that oftentimes an animal's instincts prove to be far better than one human's supposed intellegence
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Martineau on November 29, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Re-read this book for an online English class. I had forgotten how well London was able to convey the message of how you should listen to those who are only trying to look out for your best interests. I even went so far as to turn up the heat in my house after reading this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HawaiiBubba on September 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an entertaining book. Despite the negative things i have heard about London (the author), this book transported me from Hawaii, a land where making a fire is a simple task-to a place where your very life depended on fire (I now have 20 Bic lighters in my survival pack). This author did his job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How can you justify charging the price of a normal-length novel for this short story that looks like it was printed at Kinko's?

The book was fine - but your pricing is NOT.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This has to be one of the scariest stories I have ever read--made so because it is entirely believable. Jack London's prose is clean, clear and precise as he details the journey of one man across the Yukon on a bitterly cold day--a journey he is not equipped to make. In the beginning he starts out cocky and self-confident, congratulating himself on being so adventurous but when a series of missteps throw him into a dire situation his decline is as inevitable as it is terrifying. Outstanding story-telling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jack London was one of the best writers of American historical literature. I taught English for 30 years and also used his books in my history classes.
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By Linda M. on February 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book!
I should have read it years ago....
You will not go wrong in getting this one.
Enjoy it.
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