To Build A Fire And Other Stories

ISBN: 0613175573
ISBN 13: 9780613175579
By: Jack London

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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


An excellent collection of short stories!The plot for To Build A Fire can be summarized with: There’s a man in the wilderness and he’s trying to build a fire. In fact, the title itself summarizes the story. But this is a story you have to experience—a summary just doesn’t do it justice. When I first began reading it in high school, I thought, “Okay, so a guy is trying to build a fire…so what else happens? Is there a mystery to it…is there romance…?” There’s no romance…there’s no real mystery. But as you read it you find yourself being drawn into the story: alternately cheering for and then commiserating with the hero. And when the story is over you feel…well, I’ll let you find out for yourself how you feel.


This was my choice for independent reading during a couple of months in my junior year of high school. The first set of short stories are set within the Yukon territory and really explore the concepts of man vs. nature and man with nature.The remainder of the stories explore more of the every-man and one's daily challenges. My favorite out of the bunch is "A Piece of Steak", which is about an aging boxer who is set to box against a younger fighter.All of these stories in one or more ways deal with the affects of nature and aging on humans. While both factors seem to act like enemies against us all in our respective lives, the truth is that neither one acts deliberately against us but rather fulfills its purpose as it should.

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.


I've read the title story and a few others and will come back for the rest later but I really enjoyed To Build a Fire. I really enjoyed that the man is alone, save that suspicious dog that will always survive. I like that his own arrogance gets the best of him. I like stories of man vs wild.


The only thing that pisses me off about Jack London is the lack of female characters. I'd like to go off and die in the cold looking for fortune, thank you very much.It's probably responsible for any gender confusion I've felt.But... any adventure worth having (or dying for) gets 5 stars from me.


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”.

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.


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.


No matter how brilliant a writer Jack London is, there are only so many times I can read a story where a young man succeeds against all obstacles, only to die in a heroic/tragic/interesting manner. The Klondike section of the book is phenomenal, but the "Other Stories" is hit or miss. Well worth reading, but I would still recommend this one in small doses at a time. Trying to read through the whole thing at once will end up with all of those wonderful stories blurring together, where you can't remember if it's the prizefighter who's fighting for money to support the Mexican Revolution or the one who's fighting to pay his family's rent that you like better.


I have 3 favorite short stories,"To Build a Fire""Leningen versus the Ants"and "The Most Dangerous Game"*********************And I just bought 2 of them on Audible to give them another go! I can't find Leningen--I'll keep looking!

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.


Jack London just can't go wrong; I have not read anything by him that I have not absolutely loved. This book is a nice collection of some awesome stories with interesting facts, such as at what temperature does spit freeze?


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.


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.

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