New York: The Macmillan Company, 1917. 6 pp undated ads. Original reddish-brown cloth.
First Edition, which consisted of only 3,056 copies -- one of the smallest Jack London first editions. This is a collection of eight pieces, mostly nonfiction, some of which were written as early as 1911: the title essay is a socialistic treatise, and the others include a piece on driving a four-horse team, one on small-boat sailing, an Introduction to TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, and two dramatic sketches. The book was published in February 1917, three months after Jack's death.~When the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917 and the Bolsheviks were triumphant, they too found in Jack's selected works the voice of the oppressed masses of the United States. He became and remains [as of 1978] the most widely read American author in Russia. "How sad it is," Anna Strunsky Walling wrote in her epitaph of him, "that Jack London should have passed into the silence, out of the sight of the red banners waving over a free people and out of the reach of the voices of millions singing the Internationale!" [Sinclair]~This is a fine, bright copy (just a hint of rubbing at the tips), and is quite uncommon thus. The front free endpaper bears the signature of Jack London (decidedly not written by himself, for the reason implied above, but ink-stamped). The front paste-down bears the signature "Joan London," presumably in his daughter's hand (Joan London, 1901-1971, went on to have a career in freelance writing and in labor activism); though we are unable to guarantee that this is her signature, we DO know that she ink-stamped and signed copies of her late father's books in order to increase their value. Sisson & Martens p. 92; Blanck 11972. Item #12687