Edward Hoagland Books In Order


  1. Cat Man (1956)
  2. The Circle Home (1960)
  3. The Peacock’s Tail (1965)
  4. Seven Rivers West (1986)
  5. Children Are Diamonds (2013)
  6. In the Country of the Blind (2016)


  1. City Tales / Wyoming Stories (1986)
  2. The Final Fate of the Alligators (1991)
  3. The Devil’s Tub (2014)

Non fiction

  1. Notes from the Century Before (1969)
  2. The Courage of Turtles (1971)
  3. Walking the Dead, Diamond River (1973)
  4. Moose On the Wall (1974)
  5. Red Wolves and Black Bears (1976)
  6. African Calliope (1979)
  7. The Edward Hoagland Reader (1979)
  8. The Tugman’s Passages (1982)
  9. Heart’s Desire (1988)
  10. Balancing Acts (1992)
  11. Tigers & Ice (1999)
  12. Compass Points (2001)
  13. Hoagland On Nature (2003)
  14. Early in the Season (2009)
  15. Sex and the River Styx (2011)
  16. The Alaskan Travels (2012)
  17. On Nature (2014)

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Edward Hoagland Books Overview

Cat Man

Fiddler, an intelligent young man, has joined the circus because he is broke. He’s the Cat Man, and his hands are covered in scratches and scars to prove it. Through Fiddler, Hoagland provides us with an intimate, behind the scenes view of life at the circus, from his freakish cohorts to the big cats themselves: Chief, the Indian boss; Brownie, the Animal Department head; One Arm Bingo; and the big cats themselves especially the cats. The panther, the jaguar, the cheetah, the tigers, the enormous lazy male named Joe, and Rita, the killer leopard all become intriguing characters in their own right, populating this brilliantly written novel. The train crew, the seat department, the prop men, the winos, and the townies all play vital roles in the surreal, yet altogether real, setting of the circus. Hoagland’s knowledge of the circus comes firsthand and we are all the richer for his having lived it and written Cat Man in its honor.

The Circle Home

Set against the backdrop of the streets of New York City, the fishing wharfs of Boston in the fifties, and the prizefighting gyms of both cities, Denny Kelly’s life is on the skids. He’s down and out and falling fast. Kelly is a has been who isn’t ready to give up. He wants to prizefight again, to regain that illusory sense of power and grace. He’s too old to be fighting, but it’s the only thing he knows how to do. He’s walked out on his wife and daughter, has destroyed everything important in his life, yet all he ever really lived for was his moment of glory in the ring the gladiatorial triumph that makes bearable every defeat, every humiliation. Hoagland takes us deep into the prizefighter’s hopes and struggles. We smell the blood and sweat of the gym, meet the wildly eccentric trainers, managers, and fighters, and sense the crackling tension of the ring. And keenly, we feel the burden of Kelly’s mistakes and the pain he’s caused those who have tried to get close to him. We live Kelly’s dreams and wince at his failures, and our heart aches for him. We know his time is running out, and we are with him in the end as he goes full circle, and finally comes home.

Seven Rivers West

Seven Rivers West chronicles the adventures of Cecil Roop, an easterner drawn to the West in the 1880s in search of a grizzly cub to bring back east to show on the Vaudeville circuit. During his quest which evolves into a hunt for a bigfoot he picks up eccentric companions: Sutton, a circus performer in search of gold; Charley, a wily old frontiersman; Roy, a one armed, toothless gold hunter; Margaret, a serene Indian woman; and a pack of loyal dogs. Full of high drama, bear attacks, run ins with displaced Indians, and set against the stunning backdrop of the natural wonders of the West at the turn of the century, this novel is at once a picaresque adventure and the exuberant story of an unprecedented quest.

Notes from the Century Before

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.

The Courage of Turtles

Called by John Updike, ‘the best essayist of my generation,’ Edward Hoagland, in a mesmerizing work, explores with brilliance and insight everything from basic human emotions to country fairs, rodeos, and the circus.

African Calliope

Open this book and enter into a richly detailed landscape and an exotic society. Follow Hoagland’s travels, from equatorial mountain forests to the Sahara desert; from small Sudanese towns in the south and west to short stays in the capital, Khartoum. Hoagland’s eye for detail presents the reader with electrifying images of life in the Sudan rotten diets, disease, coups and civil war, the traders, poachers, tribal headmen, and those who come to help. 6 X 9, 256 pages, maps

Balancing Acts

This diverse and inspired collection of essays displays all of Edward Hoagland’s signature qualities: intimacy, virtuosity, eccentricity, and abiding originality. Part memoir, part travel guide, these twenty five essays have breathtaking range and represent the work of a master at the top of his form.

Tigers & Ice

Very few writers have explored the natural world with the distinctive flair and insight of Edward Hoagland. Now, in Tigers & Ice, he provides what might be his most compelling work yet. Edward Hoagland was legally blind for three years until surgery miraculously changed his life. In this powerful essay collection, he serves up a literary banquet celebrating his renewed vision. With the penetrating and entrancing prose that has marked his career as one of the most celebrated essayists, he guides us along the full spectrum of a fascinating life from the painful stuttering of prep school days to a vagabond existence as a tiger cage boy in the circus, from enthralling travels in Antarctica to settling into the luscious surroundings of his home in Vermont. Indeed, Tigers & Ice serves full notice of this one of a kind writer at his most evocative, powerful best, exploring his own life and the natural world with trademark honesty and grace. 51/2 X 81/4, 228 pages

Compass Points

In a luminous memoir of a life richly lived, one of America’s finest writers explores the themes that have shaped his life and work: the glories of the natural world, the lure of working for a circus and fighting forest fires, the afflictions of temporary blindness and blocked speech, and the enduring influence of literary friendships, including John Berryman s, Edward Abbey s, and his mentor, Archibald MacLeish. From his childhood in rural Connecticut to some of the earth s last remaining wildernesses, Hoagland has traveled the world wielding his unusual gift for observation. In Compass Points he delivers an honest and lively accounting of his voyages through two marriages; the New York parties he attended as a precocious young writer; Vermont hippiedom and academia; his many vivid sojourns into Europe, Alaska, British Columbia, the Sudan; and, perhaps most unforgettably, his stint in the Animal Department of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fifty years ago. Leavened with Hoagland s trademark humor and insight, Compass Points is an entertaining and moving account of the days and nights of one of our most eminent literary voices.

Hoagland On Nature

Edward Hoagland is not only one of the best writers of our time; he is also one of the keenest observers of nature and one of the most celebrated essayists. His subjects range from the natural history of owls to the delicious mystery of wolves ‘Howling Back at the Wolves’; the demise of the red wolf ‘Lament the Red Wolves’; our relationship with dogs ‘Dogs, and the Tug of Life’; the nature of a bear stalker ‘Bears, Bears, Bears’; and the intricate workings of an old farm’s ecosystem. Hoagland’s exploration, from the boreal forests of Maine to the brawny Belize River, illuminates both the exotic and the wilds of our own backyards. Hoagland reports from the frontlines of life. He recounts fascinating detail with exacting prose. He’s irascible, brilliant, probing, sharp witted, and brutally honest about himself and the state of the natural world. No one who admires John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, and Edward Abbey should miss this definitive collection. It will forever change the way you view the natural world.

Early in the Season

By 1968, Edward Hoagland had successfully published three novels, including the award winning Cat Man. Looking for material for his next book, he immersed himself in the British Columbia bush for seven weeks, recording his observations and interviews in a series of diaries that became the widely lauded travel book Notes from the Century Before. Early in the Season is an equally riveting account of his return journey. Early in the Season vividly evokes the vast stands of trees, the fast flowing rivers, the rocky ridgelines of the province’s unspoiled central interior. Against this dramatic backdrop Hoagland profiles an extraordinary cast of characters from the region s present and past: fearless, larger than life trader Skookum Davidson; self proclaimed Chinese Indian medicine man Luke Fowler; indomitable Omineca River Queen Agate Alexander; and many others. Poignant, probing, and historically rich, this book offers a window on the people and places that shaped British Columbia and a transporting read for anyone curious about life in one of the world’s most majestic wildernesses.

Sex and the River Styx

Called the best essayist of his time by luminaries like Philip Roth, John Updike, and Edward Abbey, Edward Hoagland brings readers his ultimate collection. In Sex and the River Styx, the author’s sharp eye and intense curiosity shine through in essays that span his childhood exploring the woods in his rural Connecticut, his days as a circus worker, and his travels the world over in his later years. Here, we meet Hoagland at his best: traveling to Kampala, Uganda, to meet a family he’d been helping support only to find a divide far greater than he could have ever imagined; reflecting on aging, love, and sex in a deeply personal, often surprising way; and bringing us the wonder of wild places, alongside the disparity of losing them, and always with a twist that brings the genre of nature writing to vastly new heights. His keen dissection of social realities and the human spirit will both startle and lure readers as they meet African matriarchs, Tibetan yak herders, circus aerialists, and the strippers who entertained college boys in 1950s Boston. Says Howard Frank Mosher in his foreword, the self described rhapsodist ‘could fairly be considered our last, great transcendentalist.’

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