Review: In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond by John Zada

On the central and north coast of British Columbia, the Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, containing more organic matter than any other terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. The area plays host to a wide range of species, from thousand-year-old western cedars to humpback whales to iconic white Spirit bears. According to local residents, another giant is said to live in these woods. For centuries, people have reported encounters with the Sasquatch – a species of hairy, bipedal man-apes said to inhabit the deepest recesses of this pristine wilderness. 

Driven by his own childhood obsession with the creatures, John Zada decides to seek out the diverse inhabitants of this rugged and far-flung coast, where nearly everyone has a story to tell, from a scientist who has dedicated his life to researching the Sasquatch to members of the area’s First Nations and a former grizzly-bear hunter-turned-nature tour guide. With each tale, Zada discovers that his search for the Sasquatch is a quest for something infinitely more complex, cutting across questions of human perception, scientific inquiry, indigenous traditions, the environment, and the power and desire of the human imagination to believe in – or reject – something largely unseen.

In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch by John Zada. Narrated by Pete Cross. Audiobook published by Dreamscape Media, 2019. 8 hours and 58 mins. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was very different then what I thought it would be. Not in a bad way! Just different. The author dived deeper then just bigfoot talk, and talked about the land and the people who lived in the area. We learned a lot about some Native American tribes in the far west coast of Canada that we really don’t hear much about. We learn about a lot of the problems they are facing and how they are trying to fight back. Mixed in to this environmental and cultural political narrative, we get sprinkles of bigfoot sightings and stories, all second hand.

I was very impressed with the author. Even though he was a big fan of bigfoot, and truly wanted to believe in it, John did a remarkable job of staying unbiased and looking at both sides of the coin equally. Not many people can pull that off. You are either a big believer or you are a skeptic. It is rare to see someone in the neutral camp. I thought that was great because the author didn’t try to force any one view on you. He just reported what he heard and what those stories (and bigfoot) meant to the people telling them.

I wished this book had focused a little bit more on bigfoot, because that IS why I wanted to read it… I didn’t really want to get in to the political quagmire of the region. BUT… it was very informative about the native American tribes living in the area and I really knew nothing about them before hand. So I do appreciate the fact that the author took time out of his project to write about what is going on in that area and the life of these people and their struggles with the government, hunters, and commercial fishing. So if you want to learn about a diverse area that you don’t hear much about, or you would like to learn about some environmental issues from the far west coast, I highly recommend this book. I also highly recommend this book if you are into travel writing. If you want just straight up bigfoot searching with fanfare, you might be a little disappointed unless you know going in that it’s not going to be sensationalized.


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