Modern Library Exploration

Notes from The Century Before

A Journal from British Columbia

Publisher: Modern Library
In 1966, Edward Hoagland made a three-month excursion into the wild country of British Columbia and encountered a way of life that was disappearing even as he chronicled it. Showcasing Hoagland’s extraordinary gifts for portraiture—his cast runs from salty prospector to trader, explorer, missionary, and indigenous guide—Notes from the Century Before is a breathtaking mix of anecdote, derring-do, and unparalleled elegy from one of the finest writers of our time.


From the Introduction by David Quammen

The century before is now the century before that, and Edward Hoagland’s first nonfiction book is more lively and valuable than ever, thirty-three years after its first publication. Why? When you’ve read it you’ll know, in four or five different...
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“This book is as remarkable as the landscape it describes.” —Newsweek

“One of the most interesting, revealing, and delightful travel books I have read.”—The New York Review of Books

“His journal is about tangles and unrealized ambitions . . . and he understands wonderfully what to make of what he sees and hears. . . . A strange and beautiful book.”—The Washington Post

“Hoagland builds up an extensive, vivid picture of a place and people and, like all good travel writers, makes the reader want to start right out over his tracks.”—The Atlantic Monthly

“A beautiful book: so sharp and persistent in rendering the visible world, and yet so strangely wild with feeling.”—Philip Roth

“A spellbinding document.”—George Plimpton