Iron Heel

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Novel by Jack London, published in 1908.

Purportedly written in 1932, this “Everhard Manuscript” tells of events said to take place between 1912 and 1918, when, by a process of evolutionary development, the great capitalistic monopolies of the U.S. band together in a fascistic organization, the Iron Heel, which seizes control of the country. Stamping out all democratic forms and free institutions, the Iron Heel creates a caste system with a plutocratic aristocracy at the top, supported by secret police, a military oligarchy, and a few powerful subsidized unions that aid in suppressing the majority of organized labor. Originally motivated by fear of the growing revolutionary Socialist party, the Iron Heel succeeds in driving the equalitarian movement underground, but there it continued to militate against the “Oligarchs” and their barbarous tyranny. One of the Socialist leaders is Ernest Everhard, a Californian, whose wife Avis, converted by him to the cause, tells their story in this manuscript. For 20 years they maintain their secret, partially terrorist, organization, which averts war with Germany by a general strike in collaboration with German Socialist unions, instigates armed revolts, and in general advocates the use of force against force. The manuscript breaks off, following Everhard's execution, but footnotes written 700 years later inform the reader that the Iron Heel retained power for 300 years, was overthrown, and was succeeded by a golden age of collectivism.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Jack London (1876—1916) American novelist

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.