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The Iron Heel (Rediscovered Classics)

The Iron Heel - Jack London, Matt Soar Jack London is better known for adventure stories from the Alaskan goldrush (White Fang, Call of the Wild, To Build a Fire), but this work proves his powers of political observation and insight. First published in 1907, the entire work is littered with astonishingly accurate foreshadowings and predictions, including: a second Russian Revolution (the first one occurring in 1905), a World War 1-like conflict with Germany, the rise of Japanese "daibutsu" and militarism, and a dialectic of ever-more centralized political and economic power in the United States. London was a Socialist, and the story details the beginnings of a Socialist revolution in America, but you needn't share his politics to appreciate the novel. In fact, "The Iron Heel" refers to an Oligarchy of Robberbarrons, who these days are more dispised by Libertarians than by Socialists.What I found most impressive was the sophisticated methods of class warfare which London details between the Socialists and the Iron Heel: spies, double-agents, agents-provocateurs, sabotage, propaganda, identity theft, false-flag terrorism, and an internal passport system("no fly" list, anybody?). At 102 years old, it is fair to say that this novel may actually be even more relevent today than it was at the time of publishing. The Robberbarrons remain with us today, if not by that name, and their global power manifests in the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Their theft of $12 trillion in the form of a banking bailout could easily have come from these pages. On a basic level, the degree to which this book mirrors today's headlines is eerie.