|John Griffith London came from a poor family and, as a boy, dropped out of school to sell newspapers and do odd jobs to survive. His father deserted the family and refused to acknowledge London as his son. The boy went to sea, was a gold miner in the Klondike, and worked as a war correspondent; he was also jailed for vagrancy, a traumatic experience that reinforced his deep distrust of the capitalist system and his embrace of socialism. London's fiction is imbued with the rugged living he experienced. During his prolific career, he wrote over 50 books: short stories, novels, and other works. Although enormously successful, London eventually went into debt, and was plagued by personal demons, including alcoholism. He suffered from kidney disease and died at the age of 40 of a morphine overdose that was probably intentional.