The Last Season

  • by Eric Blehm
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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A fascinating account

“The Last Season” by Eric Blehm examines the life and death of National Park Ranger Randy Morgenson. During his 28 years as a park ranger, Morgenson was stationed as a back country ranger in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon mountain range. Morgenson mysteriously disappeared in 1996; his body was not found until 2001.

Blehm examines the life of Morgenson and reveals a contradictory figure. He could be considered a dedicated naturalist or an environmental zealot. Apparently, by all accounts, Blehm indicates Morgenson conducted himself with complete professionalism in his encounters with visitors to the park system, and he risked his life to assist loss or missing park visitors. The book provides a good description of what the life of a back country ranger is all about on a daily basis.

Blehm reveals that at the time of Morgenson’s disappearance he was at a crossroads in his personal life. He was in the middle of a divorce, had an affair with a female ranger and had become fatalistic about his life. Blehm explores the various theories as to what happened to the ranger. The official report is accidental death.

The book is well written and thoroughly researched. The book is part biography and part detective story. Blehm provides some great descriptions of the Sierra Nevada back country. Jonathan Davis does an excellent job narrating the story. The book is moderately long at almost thirteen hours.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Well Written Character Study of an NPS Ranger

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.

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- Kathy "Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios