With Frontispiece. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1914. 6 pp undated ads. Original light blue cloth decorated in gilt.
First Edition of this collection of seven socialistic tales. Two of them, "The Dream of Debs" and "South of the Slot," he had written years earlier just after the San Francisco earthquake. In the former (which was later published as a separate pamphlet),
San Francisco is destroyed by another form of catastrophe, a nationwide general strike. The wealthy narrator wakes up with the premonition of an earthquake to come. Yet there is only silence, the silence of nobody going to work. Slowly, the city breaks down. Violence flares between the slum people and the upper classes... [Sinclair]
In the title story, London mocks his old god Kipling, whom his earliest Alaskan tales emulated: primitive men choose brotherhood over capitalism, rejecting the lies of their "Lip-King."
Macmillan produced only 3,948 copies of this book -- which, with the exception of London's plays and his few nonfiction titles, is one of the smallest number of copies of all his works -- fewer than THE SCARLET PLAGUE, fewer than THE HOUSE OF PRIDE, fewer than SOUTH SEA TALES, fewer than THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS. Not only were a small number printed, but the binding was unfortunately lettered in white -- which typically is found quite eroded today. This, however, is a handsome copy -- fine except for a small smudge at the bottom of the rear cover, with none of the white eroded. Quite uncommon in this condition. Sisson & Martens p. 76; Blanck 11955. Item #13666