New Star Blogs

Take a ‘Voyage Through the Past Century’ with Rolf Knight


9781554200689-voyage-3DVoy­age Through the Past Cen­tu­ry, Rolf Knight’s vivid and thought­ful mem­oir of his life as an inde­pen­dent social­ist schol­ar and writer, is pub­lished this month by New Star Books. Knight has writ­ten some of the most impor­tant and influ­en­tial his­to­ry books about British Colum­bia, includ­ing A Very Ordi­nary Life and Indi­ans at Work.

Writ­ten with the same verve and acu­men that Knight brought to his ouevre of works about BC’s work­ing-class his­to­ry, Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tu­ry is described by Mark Leier as “a fas­ci­nat­ing account of a van­ish­ing world … informed by a deep, per­son­al appre­ci­a­tion of work­ers and a smart, pugna­cious dis­gust for cap­i­tal­ism and its apol­o­gists.”

Born while his par­ents worked at a remote coastal log­ging camp, Knight was raised in work­ing-class East Van­cou­ver, a peri­od doc­u­ment­ed in A Very Ordi­nary Life and Along the No. 20 Line. A bright stu­dent, he stud­ied at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia and went on to obtain a PhD in Anthro­pol­o­gy from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, train­ing that is put to good use in his obser­va­tions of the peo­ple and the com­mu­ni­ties he encoun­tered in Africa, South Amer­i­ca, North­ern Que­bec, post-war Berlin, 1950s New York, and 1970s Cana­di­an acad­e­mia.

An ear­li­er ver­sion of Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tu­ry was pri­vate­ly print­ed and cir­cu­lat­ed among Knight’s friends twen­ty years ago, and copies have been avid­ly sought ever since. Knight was rec­og­nized in 1992 by the Cana­di­an His­tor­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion with a Clio Award for his life­time con­tri­bu­tion to region­al his­to­ry. He lives in Burn­a­by, BC.