bhc, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by bhc)
After 27 years, as an experienced park ranger, Randy Morgenson leaves base camp and disappears while on patrol in the high country of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. I was hooked on this book (The Last Season) from the beginning. It was easy to read and kept my attention to the bitter end. Eric Blehm did an outstanding job researching and telling Randy's story.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Blehm (Agents of Change) offers a thorough if cumbersome account of the life of Randy Morgenson, a National Park Service ranger in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains whose zeal gave way to disillusionment before he disappeared on duty in 1996, after 28 summers on the job (although his body was found, how he died remains a mystery). The book begins with the day Morgenson left his camp for a three-day patrol and then failed to make scheduled radio contact. From there, the narrative weaves the events of the ensuing search with descriptions of ranger life, tales of past incidents in the area and Morgenson's increasingly fraught personal history. Blehm's exhaustive research is impressive, although the author struggles to find the proper balance of background information and narrative pace, spending, for instance, an entire page on a peripheral reference to the California Conservation Corps when a sentence or two would have sufficed. He does, however, succeed in creating an empathetic portrayal of Morgenson and a revealing look at the taxing, underappreciated calling to which he dedicated himself. Readers are left with an intimate sense of an intelligent if flawed man whose love of the mountains ended up costing him his marriage, his ambitions and his life. 16-page b&w photo insert not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"As Jon Krakauer did with Into the Wild, Blehm turns a missing-man riddle into an insightful meditation on wilderness and the personal demons and angels that propel us into it alone."
by Men's Journal,
"Blehm mounts the search for Morgenson with a thriller's pacing....A potent testament to the enduring power and allure of wild open spaces."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A rambling, yet compelling portrait of a man who perhaps loved the wilderness too much."
by National Geographic Adventures,
"Blehm...deftly interweaves the story of Morgenson's life-long devotion to wilderness with a riveting account of the hunt for him."
"A vibrant and ultimately tragic story of a man whose life was full of passion until the very end."
by Library Journal,
"Readers will experience the daily hopes of rescue and the eventual letdown when the search efforts must be called off. While the book is a tribute to one man, the descriptions of backcountry rangers — lives will fascinate many."
by Harper Collins,
Destined to become a classic of adventure literature, The Last Season examines the extraordinary life of legendary backcountry ranger Randy Morgenson and his mysterious disappearance in California's unforgiving Sierra Nevada—mountains as perilous as they are beautiful.
Eric Blehm's masterful work is a gripping detective story interwoven with the riveting biography of a complicated, original, and wholly fascinating man.
by Harper Collins,
Destined to become a classic of adventure literature, The Last Season examines the extraordinary life of legendary backcountry ranger Randy Morgenson and his mysterious disappearance in California's unforgiving Sierra Nevada—mountains as perilous as they are beautiful. Eric Blehm's masterful work is a gripping detective story interwoven with the riveting biography of a complicated, original, and wholly fascinating man.
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