To Build A Fire And Other Stories

ISBN: 0613175573
ISBN 13: 9780613175579
By: Jack London

Check Price Now


Adventure Classic Classics Currently Reading Default Favorites Fiction Literature Short Stories To Read

About this book

It was so cold that his spit froze in the air before it hit the ground. He was so far above the Arctic Circle that the sun never rose. Seventy below zero, and there was nothing but whiteness in every direction: ice and snow. No trees, no houses, no wood, no warmth. He had only a few matches and a handful of frozen fingers. And yet, to survive, he had to build a fire.Jack London's tales of adventure are unsurpassed because London was there. From Alaska to the Yukon, from the Klondike to the Arctic tundra, London knew the outlaws and the wolves, the prospectors and the grizzlies. In these collected stories of man against the wilderness London lays claim to the title of greatest outdoor adventure writer of all time.

Reader's Thoughts


Jack London's short stories are astonishing. I read them last year, and my jaw was agape the entire time. I highly recommend them.

David Nichols

While he is probably best-known for his novels (especially CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG), London made much, if not most, of his literary revenue from his short stories. Most of his shorter fiction, as this collection demonstrates, was mediocre, weighed down by unengaging plots, racist language, and one- or two-dimensional characters. There are several very fine pieces here, however, including the title story; "Love of Life," which was apparently the last story Lenin had read to him (he enjoyed it); the claustrophobic "In a Far Country"; and "The Wit of Porportuk," detailing a conflict between a Native American chief and his rival's daughter. The anthology also includes several tales not set in London's usual Arctic milieu: "A Piece of Steak," one of the best-constructed pieces of short fiction I've read; "The Mexican," a boxing story nested inside a narrative of the Mexican Revolution; "The Apostate," a moving tale of a child worker which manages to end both realistically and happily; "South of the Slot," a secret-identity story about a sociology professor in working-class San Francisco; and "The Strength of the Strong," an allegory about socialist revolution disguised as a Stone Age drama.

David Ward

To Build a Fire by Jack London (Tor Classics 1999) (Fiction - Thriller). Jack London is thought to be one of the greatest adventure writers of all time because he experienced that of which he wrote. He was in the Arctic with the wolves, the prospectors, and the frozen cold. "To Build a Fire" is thought of as his masterpiece. A man is on the march to meet his friends; he is not an experienced northern hand, and he does not know that the day is too cold for safe travel. London discloses that the temperature is below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The man becomes wet to the knees as he stumbles into a spring and then must build a fire to dry out, only to have melting snow fall on and extinguish his fire. As he tries to build it again, he finds that his hands are too cold to hold the matches. Unless he can rekindle the fire, he will surely freeze...This is a terrifying dilemma. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2004.


To Build a Fire is a wonderful short story that has the same great descriptive imagery in many of London's novels. A story about a stubborn and in the end, out of luck man in the mean and brutal wild. A touching piece written wonderfully.


I really had a Jack London phase in middle school. I remember writing a short story based on the same style and even featuring the same morals. Good times.


A collection of eight of Jack London's best short stories, including his famous 'To Build a Fire.'Listen to To Build a Fire and Other Stories on your smartphone, notebook or desktop computer.

Kevin-Abandoned Myers-Abandoned

This is the very first book I read and has shaped my reading habits for the rest of my life. Because of this book I never waste my time on what I believe is a poorly written book.


You are by yourself, in the Yukon, in brutal freezing conditions. You are wet and your hands are frozen and if you can get a fire built to warm up and dry out, you’ll probably be able to make it back to the camp in time for the doctor to cut off all of your frost bitten parts – and you’ll live . That is if you can start a fire. But to start a fire you have to thaw your hands. And to thaw your hands, you have to catch your dog, cut him open, and stick your hands into his guts. But your dog is smart and no longer trusts you. This is Jack London’s “To Build A Fire”.


My grandma always reads this book in the cold winter months (we have a Hungarian edition, containing 26 short stories, that I cannot find on Goodreads, but this should be close). One winter I read it as well, and liked it. Some of the stories were not that good, but those about the cold north and gold miners were great. Pure naturalism, describing the harsh and unforgiving conditions in a masterful way.

Mike Bloom

"To Build A Fire" is an exquisite short story which sets forth, in simple terms, the consequences of a lack of humility before nature. A perfect example of a story EVERYONE should read.


It is unfortunate that London is grouped in with classic literature. Compared to the greats, he pales. Nevertheless, his writing is still quite exciting, gripping, and insightful. The tales he weaves take place in areas few know much about, yet he is able to take us into the minds of men living in extreme conditions throughout the globe.The most famous story, of course, is To Build a Fire. I was surprised to find that his other short stories has just as much merit and originality. At times I was put off because of the animal slaughter from hunting, but for the most part he shows profound respect for nature and wildlife, and for the men who brave to live amongst it all.An easy read, and certainly worthwhile if you like adventurous stories at all.


These stories were very enjoyable and entertaining. I was concerned that they would get repetitive after a while but the book is split up half klondike, gold rush stories and half stories on other subjects ranging from south sea islands to boxing. Right when I was starting to get tired of the klondike stories the second half kicked in and kept me interested through to the end. The klondike stories were more consistently good but the gems of the other stories were superior in my opinion. I think this is a collection that any reader would enjoy, including women that may feel no interest in the yukon. London's writing has a humanistic edge that will enthrall, regardless of gender or nationality. I've read White Fang and Call of the Wild years ago but this collection was superior in my opinion and I would recommend it unreservedly to friends and family.


Jack London sure can write a short story. The ones here range from good to amazing, and they're all worth reading. The 25 stories are presented by order of date written, and you can really see how his writing improves and his interests change. My favorites were "The Mexican", "Love of Life", "An Odyssey of the North", "The God of His Fathers", and "Batard", which felt like the the twisted part three to Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Геллее Авбакар

Disclosure:I got this Edition of Jack London stories free from a friend of mine, I get in English, I have an Electronic version of the Book and soon I am planing to have it in Kindle too. My Plot:The story was about an American who was traveling to the Yukon Territory in Canada, he was looking forward to meet some friend there, In fact the Hero's aim from this journey was to look for the Gold, so he took his Husky and Start the Journey in a very cold winter day, He was crossing the River but unfortunately he gets wet all over and the Temperature was below - 59. so he chooses to build a fire and gets away from the danger of Freezing, but due to the attempts he made the fire was gone due to a blow of snowy wind, but the will was hot in him so he decide to build another fire but with another desperate will, he was aware that he is going to lose some toe from the Frostbite, but the fire went off again, The main Character decide to kill the dog and warm his toe from the temperature of his body, but he could not get out the knife and could not get the Dog closer too, so he went on a blackout, the Dog comes closer to his master to smell his death body, and went running to the direction where the camps lie, to look for help of his master. Positive and Negative Aspects: The story was all nice, I admit that completely, It was the first story to be told without naming the Characters or showing their identities, but speaking of Positives, I would say that this is the first story to put Nature as a Third Character. The whole story was a conflict against the instinct and the logic, and the most winning chance was for the nature. Inside the Story Nature and Instinct were represented in the snow and the Husky, most of the events were against the Main Character who fought in despair. It was a battle against the most needed elements in life, which are fire, water, and air. so the writer was professional in combining these elements through his story. Speaking of Negatives, I would say that nothing annoy me from reading this story, It was written in an Understandable English, and Most of the Elements are quite simple.My Personal Reaction:Reading this story made me think of the change that the Dearest American made to the world of Literature, It was a very nice Movement of Change in the story telling Techniques. Jack London made a big difference between American Literature and English Literature. I really enjoy the change that has been the American literature especially in "To Build a Fire". Personally I would admit that this is the first step that made me fall in love with the Literature of this Country. Recommendations: I would recommend this story to the new audience of Literature, to all the fans of American Literature and to those who are seeking the change in the world of Literature, Automatically The reader of this story will change the parameters of his favorite type of stories.


I will never forget growing up to my dad reading these stories aloud to us four kids. The featured story, "The Build a Fire," is a chilling (and chilly) suspense story of a man's race against nature. I love that my dad took the time to read us quirky survival stories such as this one...could be one of the reasons I love mountaineering so much to this day.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *