The Iron Heel is considered to be the one of the earliest of the modern dystopian novels. It chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States and Jack London's most explicit display of his socialist views. The Iron Heel stresses future changes in society and politics and is uncommon among London's writings in being a first-person narrative of a woman protagonist.
The Iron Heel is based on the fictional "Everhard Manuscript" written by Avis. In addition, the novel has an introduction and series of footnotes written from the perspective of scholar Anthony Meredith. Meredith writes from around 2600 AD or 419 B.O.M. (the Brotherhood of Man). Jack London thus writes at two levels, often having Meredith condescendingly correcting the errors of Everhard yet, at the same time, exposing the often incomplete understanding of this distant future perspective.