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The Iron Heel by Jack London

The Iron Heel (original 1907; edition 2006)

by Jack London

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1,0152812,582 (3.42)51
Title:The Iron Heel
Authors:Jack London
Info:Mondial (2006), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Iron Heel by Jack London (1907)

  1. 10
    Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia by Alexander Bogdanov (leigonj)
    leigonj: Both are science fiction written in 1908, inspired by the events of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Both are born of the writings of Marx and Engels.
  2. 00
    Walkaway: A Novel by Cory Doctorow (melmore)
    melmore: Both works are (among other things) showcases for the elaboration of political and economic arguments. Both strive to represent the full horror of economic oppression, and what happens when the oppressed resist.
  3. 00
    News from Nowhere by William Morris (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Morris's novel could almost read like the future utopia from which London's fictional annotations are written.

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English (27)  French (1)  All languages (28)
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Written in 1908, it is considered to be one of the first dystopian novels. It also is written as a first person narrative from a woman’s POV in manuscripts found later, much later, so it is looking back in history. The novel has many flaws and it is also full of socialist view points but it is also quite amazing how forward looking Jack London was in some aspect. While this is considered ‘soft’ science fiction, it is a political statement. You know from there very beginning sentences that things are not going to go well for the revoluntionaries. Jack London believed that society was evolving in much the way as nature was said to evolve. The book probably does have historical importance for it’s influence on other science fiction and dystopian novels that would follow. ( )
  Kristelh | Oct 26, 2018 |
I was assigned this novel for an American Fiction course and was not immediately impressed. It is slow to start, but is written as diary entries and once the action begins, it is hard to put down. The scenes of the revolution particularly in the end are descriptive and detailed and provide a clear mental image. The ending was abrupt but fitting for the story. While not something I would necessarily pick for myself, in the end I did enjoy reading it. If I had not known any better, I would have thought it to be a piece of non-fiction prose due to the realistic quality. London's dystopia novel could easily been written today because the underlying messages and themes are just as relatable in today's society as they were then. ( )
  CJ82487 | Mar 20, 2018 |
Well, if I wasn't a socialist before....

My first Bookslut 100 read of the year. Not so much I was expecting, based on both my prior exposure to Jack London and the description of this as a dystopian sf novel. It took me forever to read as only a few pages would be enough for me to get a righteous rage going, and I'd have to put the book down and walk away for a bit. Not, you know, Octavia Butler rage inducing, but the fact that it would occur to me to make such a comparison at all is a little surprising. Like Butler, where it succeeded is where it felt familiar/possible/looming right around the next corner. Where it failed were the sudden zip-forwards just when we'd transitioned from backstory/motivation to action. Not constant, but there were a few places where I thought, "Wait, we're skipping over this part of the story, why?"

Overall I would recommend this to those interested in under-appreciated works of the dystopian sf canon. Readers not ready to put this book in its historical context may be impatient with it. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
The first part of the book has some of the preachiest speechifying one could ever hope to encounter in a dystopian scifi novel. If you enjoy dialectic, do not skip. Once that's all out of the way, the pace picks up appreciably. Prescient in the way an oligarchy would come to control the mass media, which we appear to have arrived at presently. One thing that struck me about this book was how much London, a socialist, writing about people working towards a socialist utopia of equality, still wrote within the class, race, and gender norms of the day. ( )
  encephalical | Nov 5, 2017 |
Review from the February 1975 issue of the Socialist Standard:

  Impossibilist | Sep 4, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Londonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lerner, MaxIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricketts, MikeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saville, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trotsky, LeonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zinn, HowardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"At first, this Earth, a stage so gloomed with woe / You almost sicken at the shifting of the scenes. / And yet be patient. Our Playwright may show / In some fifth act what this Wild Drama means."
First words
It cannot be said that the Everhard Manuscript is an important historical document. To the historian it bristles with errors—not errors of fact, but errors of interpretation. Looking back across the seven centuries that have lapsed since Avis Everhard completed her manuscript, events, and the bearings of events, that were confused and veiled to her, are clear to us. She lacked perspective. She was too close to the events she writes about. Nay, she was merged in the events she has described.
The soft summer wind stirs the redwoods, and Wild-Water ripples sweet cadences over its mossy stones.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039717, Paperback)

Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack London's The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as the state oligarchy, known as "the Iron Heel," moves to crush all opposition to its power.

First time in Penguin Classics
Includes introduction and explanatory notes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this harrowing tale of class warfare that merges science fiction and fantasy, a powerful state organization known as "The Iron Heel" is determined to crush the working class -- at any cost.

(summary from another edition)

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