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The book is an in-depth character study of a national park service ranger, Randy Morgenson, who went missing while on duty in the California back country of Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks in 1996.
Morgenson was a complicated character, what you might call an extreme environmentalist. It appeared he was at his happiest during his summers working as a park ranger and stationed in the wilderness areas. From all accounts and according to Blehm's research, Randy was well-liked by many. His disappearance affected many people, and this book details the search for him.
I found the book interesting and an easy listen overall. However, I felt it was too long and covered too much minutiae. Very little of the twelve plus hours of listening covered the search and rescue action which to me was the most interesting part. Yet, I had to keep listening as I needed to know the outcome of the search. I had to know if Randy was the victim of an untimely accident, if he just decided to disappear and start a new life, or if he committed suicide. These three options were all viable possibilities, and I spent alot of time pondering the outcome during times I was not listening.
In addition, I spent a good deal of time pondering why Blehm chose to invest so much time and research on this particular man. I also wondered whether Randy was as self-absorbed as I imagined he was, and if so, why was he so beloved by so many co-workers. No easy answers on these questions, and I came away with no firm resolution. Considering how much I thought about the book when I was not listening, I am feeling it was a worthwhile read. In addition, the ending took me by surprise and was not what I was expecting.
Add to this an excellent narration by Jonathan Davis and I would recommend this audio book, particularly to nature lovers.
90 of 93 people found this review helpful
The author did his research and it shows! It was my favorite thing and my least favorite thing at the same time. Including what everyone thought at every point in the time line was woven together beautifully but made for an extremely repetitive narrative. Lots and lots of variations on the same themes repeated from many angles. I don't think the author missed a single angle but I was wishing he had by the end!
50 of 53 people found this review helpful
This tale of disappearance and ultimately death in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is sad but brings the beauty of the High Sierras into sharp focus. The amazing work of the seasonal NPS rangers who go without pensions, long term benefits and poor pay is also well highlighted. Recommended for outdoors fans!
Great biography and examination of the disappearance of experienced backcountry ranger. If you like outdoor literature read this.