Ranger Confidential

  • by Andrea Lankford
  • Narrated by Julia Motyka
  • 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Depressing from Cover to Cover

‘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.
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- Drew (@drewsant)


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.
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- Charlie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-09-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios