Published in 1903, the story is set in the Yukon during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush. It’s a time when gold is high in demand and strong sled dogs were needed to conquer the snowy Alaskan wilderness. The novel’s story focuses on a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in California. He’s stolen and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog. As he adjusts to his new life, he reverts to ancient dog traits, and is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments, fight to dominate other dogs, and survive in a harsh climate. Eventually he leaves the instincts of civilization behind relying only on his primordial instincts, emerging as a leader in the wild.
So why is this book challenged? From Bannedbooks.org:
“Generally hailed as Jack London’s best work, The Call of the Wild is commonly challenged for its dark tone and bloody violence. Because it is seen as a man-and-his-dog story, it is sometimes read by adolescents and subsequently challenged for age-inappropriateness. Not only have objections been raised here, the book was banned in Italy, Yugoslavia and burned in bonfires in Nazi Germany in the late 1920s and early 30s because it was considered “too radical.””