The People of the Abyss is a classic work about poverty and recounts the time the author spent in London. Born in San Francisco, he became a political activist and socialist at an early age. Written after posing as an American sailor stranded in the East End of London during 1902 - sleeping in doss houses, living with the destitute and starving - this is perhaps Jack London's most important work.
As well as being a literary masterpiece, The People of the Abyss stands as a major sociological study. While other American writers were blindly celebrating the glories of the British Empire at its peak, Jack London was asking why such misery was to be found in the heart of a capital city of immense wealth.
This is a work of reportage - London lets his observations speak for themselves. A precursor to the writings of George Orwell, this book remains a standard-bearer critique of capitalism, as powerful today as it was then.
Jack London (1876-1916) was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. His first real literary success came in 1903 with The Call of the Wild, which became an immediate bestseller. With a passionate advocate of unionisation and socialism, he authored works of non-fiction, such as The People of the Abyss (Pluto, 2001) and short stories such as Revolution and other Essays (Pluto, 1991).
Introduction Preface 1. The Descent 2. Johnny Upright 3. My Lodging and Some Others 4. A Man and the Abyss 5. Those on the Edge 6. Frying-Pan Alley and a Glimpse of the Inferno 7. A Winner of the Victoria Cross 8. The Carter and the Carpenter 9. The Spike 10. Carrying the Banner 11. The Peg 12. Coronation Day 13. Dan Cullen, Docker 14. Hops and Hoppers 15. The Sea Wife 16. Property Versus Person 17. Inefficiency 18. Wages 19. The Ghetto 20. Coffee-Houses and Doss-Houses 21. The Precariousness of Life 22. Suicide 23. The Children 24. A Vision of the Night 25. The Hunger Wall 26. Drink, Temperance, and Thrift 27. The Management