Jack London was born in SanFrancisco. He wasdeserted by hisfather, "Professor" William Henry Chaney, an itinerantastrologer, and raisedin Oakland by hismother Flora Wellman, a musicteacher andspiritualist. London'sstepfather JohnLondon, whosesurname he took, wasa failed storekeeper.
London's youth was marked by poverty. At the ageof ten he became anavid reader, and borrowed booksfrom the OaklandPublic Library, where Ina Coolbirthrecommended himthe works of Flaubert, Tolstoy and other majornovelists.