Large Print Edition
By Jack London
BiblioLife (2008), 124 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - July 12, 2010
If you believe in evolution, you may wonder how the ancestors of humans lived. In London's clever tale, they are ape-like, with no language and only several dozen sounds, beings who know nothing of fire. They grew up in nests in trees, far above hunting animals below them. They were afraid of falling, and this atavistic fear has been passed on our genes today and is the reason many people fear heights.
This throwback fear of heights is not the only ancient experience passed on to our generation from the primeval past. People sense other experiences of their ancestors in their genes and imagine, incorrectly, that this is a proof of reincarnation, that they had a previous life. But they did not live before. They are, London writes, only sensing the past of their ancestors that is imbedded in their genes.
And, so, imagine a young man in modern times who has a unique sensitivity to these genes, who is able to sense the life lived by his primordial ancestor. He sees three levels of developing "humans" in his dreams, the tree dwellers, the cave folk, and the fire people. His ancestor is among the middle group, deadly frightened by the other two. He sees his folk scampering around, enjoying life somewhat but not quite like monkeys, and how the fire people decimate them.
It may surprise readers to find out that the famous classical writer, the author they were told to read in school, who wrote Call of the Wild and many other books, composed this clever and interesting fantasy.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.