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Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks | [Andrea Lankford]

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Andrea Lankford (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (171 )
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  •  
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 09-28-14
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 09-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cringeworthy"

    I downloaded this since my Mom and I were going to be driving around the plains and seeing a few of the National Parks. I grew up doing this on the East and West Coasts; I have a lot of respect for the Parks Service and the Rangers because of this. There is no question that they do a difficult and, at times, dangerous job.

    That being said:

    Julia Motyka should be banned from reading books. Her narration made this book unlistenable.

    The forward was the most self congratulating and cringeworthy drivel I have heard in a long time, if not ever. Right up to the horrifying "Hell yeah!". I just shuddered thinking about it again. We were looking for something relatively light to pass the time, not 100 ways to die in the Parks you're about to go visit. Oh, and in case you all didn't know, criminals take vacations too. I'm pretty sure they just call it 'hiding', Andrea.

    This may be a great book that picks up once you get past the first few chapters, but Motyka made that option unavailable to us. If you like grating saccharin noise while you drive/walk/whatever, go for it. As for me, I am returning this ASAP.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kgohl WORCESTER, VT, United States 09-02-14
    kgohl WORCESTER, VT, United States 09-02-14 Member Since 2010
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    "People Magazine version of the National Parks"

    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
  •  
    Erich William Kutschke Chicago, ILLINOIS United States 06-12-14
    Erich William Kutschke Chicago, ILLINOIS United States 06-12-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "100 Ways We've Seen People Die in a National Park"
    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.


    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marvin DALLAS, TX, United States 12-30-13
    Marvin DALLAS, TX, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A must read"

    most of the books I've listen to our self-help business development. I decided to take a break. This is an amazing book I want to reach out to every park ranger and thank them for their selfless non-recognized efforts. I did not realize this book was more about an individual until the end. The stories kept me engaged. I camp, I hike, I backpack I did not realize the potential of some of the dangers that were around me.

    Haven't written many reviews, I felt compelled to write this, thank you very much for the book.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LTrouten Laredo, Texas 07-22-13
    LTrouten Laredo, Texas 07-22-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Nice easy listen on a long drive"

    At times the story seemed a little disjointed as the author cycled back and forth from one park to the next and back again, but overall it was a nice easy listen that was entertaining as a whole for a long drive across the western US. I could have lived without the foreshadowing in the forward chapter, but it didn't diminish my overall enjoyment.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. York, PA, United States 11-20-14
    L. York, PA, United States 11-20-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A different look at National Parks!"
    What did you like best about Ranger Confidential? What did you like least?

    I enjoy true stories, and found it to be mostly entertaining but a bit overly long and became bored nearing the end.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    It was a bit revealing about how the Park Service works (if it was all true). Least interesting was there were to many similar stories which is probably why I got bored with it.


    What three words best describe Julia Motyka’s voice?

    Was just okay!


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Depends on the spin the film industry would put on it and who would star in it.


    Any additional comments?

    It was ok but would not be one I would listen to again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 11-04-14
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 11-04-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Learned so much"
    Would you try another book from Andrea Lankford and/or Julia Motyka?

    Yes


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I was fascinated by the stories, I never really thought about what a park ranger goes through


    Was Ranger Confidential worth the listening time?

    Yes it was a good story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-19-14
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-19-14 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

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    "Darwin Awards would love this ..."

    Yeah, as other reviewers have pointed out, there are a lot of deaths in this book but the majority are on the level of the Darwin Awards. Like the guy that got stoned, got up in the middle of the night to pee and wondered off a cliff.

    This book also shows how the city dweller's experiences with being in a natural setting points to how unprepared we are to cope with what nature has been for millions of years. And it also shows how those who choose to live with nature as rangers learn to accept the beauty, the wonderment of our earth and the creepy crawlies and the wild life. This is a terrific book, but it's like nature, go into it with acceptance of this is how it is living with nature and trying to keep the unprepared public safe. This book is a must for those who plan to venture out into the wilderness. Be prepared and even when you think you are prepared, check again and always listen to the rangers. They know more about your person mixed with nature than you do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Mendocino, CA, United States 01-31-14
    Andrea Mendocino, CA, United States 01-31-14
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    "Entertaining and Real"

    A de-romanticized account of the heroism, grit, and harsh realities of park rangers and their profession. Entertaining humor and cynicism.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Arkansas 09-09-13
    Jan Arkansas 09-09-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Candid, Honest and Educational"

    I downloaded the book before our summer vacation to one of the parks, so it was timely. A collection of National Park "slices of life" from a Ranger's perspective. Gives the reader a good look at not only "a day in the life" of a ranger, but also a broader insight into the career of a ranger. I liked it.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
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