Jack London was born in San Francisco on January 12th 1876, the unwanted child of a spiritualist mother and astrologer father. He was raised by Virginia Prentiss, a former slave, before rejoining his mother and her new husband, John London. Largely self-educated, the teenage Jack made money stealing oysters and working on a schooner before briefly studying at the University of Berkeley in 1896. He left to join the Klondike Gold Rush a year later, a phenomenon that would go on to form the background of his literary masterpieces, The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906). Alongside his novel writing London dabbled in war reportage, agriculture and politics. He was married twice and had two daughters from his first marriage. London died in 1916 from complications of numerous chronic illnesses.