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The Terrible Solomons


Jack London was an American author best known for writing The Call of the Wild. Jack London was his pen name, likely born in San Francisco, California as John Griffith Chaney. Like the restive characters in his works, London sought a variety of experiences as a young man including sailor, hobo and an agitator for jobs during the depression. His tale The Terrible Solomons was first published in 1910. A half-serious, half tongue-in-cheek account of an innocent young tourist’s discovery of the everyday violence rampant both on the ships that navigate around the Solomon Islands and on land in and around the trading posts and European-run plantations in those parts. Although we know that race relations were very different when this story was written from what they are today, nevertheless the racist terminology and the casual callousness by which blacks are murdered out-of-hand throughout this long and extraordinarily-bloody farce are just too much for the modern reader. True, the natives are head-hunters and man-eaters and just as bent on murder and mayhem as any of the white sailors and settlers in the story, but no, in spite of the subjacent humour and the liveliness of the action, this story is more a testimonial to the misguided white-superiority ideology of so many Europeans of those times than an acceptable work of literature for our hopefully-more-enlightened days. Enjoy free online English audiobook “The Terrible Solomons”, a short story by Jack London.

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