The real stories behind the scenery of America’s national parks.
For 12 years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes.
Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.
In this graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of her and others’ extraordinary careers, Lankford unveils a world in which park rangers struggle to maintain their idealism in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a comrade killed while holding that thin green line between protecting the park from the people, the people from the park, and the people from each other. Ranger Confidential is the story behind the scenery of the nation’s crown jewels - Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smokies, Denali. In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive.
‘Ranger Confidential’ is an uncensored look at those who protect America’s National Parks. Well written and poignant, the book is a must read for those who are thinking about working in the national parks, and those starting to learn about the outdoors. However if you’re looking for something that makes you want to grab your back and head out to the trail look somewhere else. Reading the article about this book in ‘Backpacker’ magazine I knew parts were going to be sad and gory but I figured that they would be interspersed with sun antidotes about pranks or fun times in the back country, but I was wrong. While there are some (very few) times where the beauty of the parks shows through, or something goes write, if you were to believe this book the life of a ranger really sucks. The book seems to say that they pretty much go from one search and rescue to another while getting paid like crap, and after a while it makes the author seem to be a bit whiny.
Ms. Motyka's narration is OK. She does a good job with the various characters and male voices, but at times she sounds a bit electronic.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
As someone curious about a career as a Ranger in the NPS, I was interested to get an insiders perspective. While the stories were fairly bleak, one can see the truth in them being far more important than a happy ending. However, the disjointed timeline and jumping from one place to another was not preferable. The performance aspect has some to be desired as well.
All in all, this is a decent audio book. If one can look past some of its shortcomings, this book is worth a listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
As a longtime backpacker in places such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Glacier national parks, I made myself listen to the entire book, although I found it excruciating. The book is a mishmash and overwritten to the point that one almost cannot blame the narrator for her overly dramatic rendition of the narrative. This is the People Magazine version of important issues that have faced the Park Service for years. Books such as Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon and Not without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure in the White Mountains come at some of these issues more peripherally but perhaps with less high drama. This book is very overwritten.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about Ranger Confidential? What did you like least?
I was hoping for SOME comic relief after reading the reviews. Instead I got many details about the deaths of people who made horrible decisions in beautiful and dangerous places. There were some happier stories but they were too few and far in between.
What could Andrea Lankford have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Less death and tragedy.
Have you listened to any of Julia Motyka’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I am not sure and I can't compare.
Was Ranger Confidential worth the listening time?
It was a series of stories that did reveal the dangers of our national parks. I am not sure if it was worth the time listening to that much death and carnage. It may have been, just wasn't the book I was hoping for. This may be more my mistake than the author's fault.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Ranger Confidential in three words, what would they be?
A candid look inside the the lives and profession of the NPS and its Rangers.
What did you like best about this story?
You can tell the author has true first hand knowledge of the subject. Her details really make the story believable, things only someone who had been there and done that could ever know. I've never been an NPS Ranger but I feel like I've had one as a good friend for a long time and listen to their stories from work.
What about Julia Motyka’s performance did you like?
Yes very much, she really brought the story to life. She was a good pick for this book and Ill be looking for her in the future.
Any additional comments?
If you get out in the National Parks and want to get an idea about the other side of the Rangers, THIS IS THE BOOK. The NPS officially may not have been thrilled with everything in the book or the truthful perspective in which it was written but if you want to get an inside look at being a Ranger or working in the parks THIS IS THE BOOK.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Great stories about Rangers and what they deal with everyday. Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in an inside look.
Insight is awesome! Make you think twice about a lot of what is happening all around
I am Retired Law Enforcement after 30 years with the NYPD and NYSAG. I truly enjoyed reading about challenges faced on a daily basis by Rangers with the NPS. It is a side of Law Enforcement we really don't see or understand until a book like this. So, Thank You, all of the Rangers and NPS Employees, for your dedicated, professional, and unselfish Service. Bill Burbage
lots of amateur mistakes. needed a good editor. perpetuates, if not normalizes, the use of the vulgar term "split tail" by using it repeatedly. a sad thing if you're female. narrator had continuously overly enuncited, pressured, and theatrical inflection that called attention to herself while detracting from the writing. stories were great, had much potential, if better handled with the writing.
Interesting and eye-opening, but choppy and difficult to follow in style. The stories are all disturbing, and most don’t really have a resolution. They trail off and the next thing starts with no logical segway. Grim.