Ranger Confidential by Andrea Lankford Book Review


Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks by Andrea Lankford is a compelling account of the life of a National Park Service ranger.

Through her twelve years of service, Lankford shares her experiences of firefighting, law enforcement, and wilderness medicine in Cape Hatteras, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon. The book is an eye-opening look at the dangers and difficulties faced by park rangers, as well as the beauty and joy of working in some of the most breathtaking places on the planet.

The main themes of Ranger Confidential are the dedication and commitment of park rangers to protect and preserve our national parks, the dangers they face in doing so, and the emotional toll it takes on them.

Lankford paints a vivid picture of the daily struggles of park rangers, from dealing with tourists who don’t follow the rules to responding to gruesome injuries and deaths. She also highlights the camaraderie among the rangers and their unwavering love for the wild spaces they protect.

The book ends with a heartbreaking story of a ranger’s death, reminding readers of the ultimate sacrifice that park rangers make in order to keep our parks safe.

Useful Takeaways:

  • Dedication and commitment of park rangers to protect and preserve our national parks
  • Dangers faced by park rangers
  • Emotional toll of working in the parks
  • Camaraderie among the rangers
  • Unwavering love for the wild spaces they protect
  • Appreciation for the day to day (often tedious but necessary) work to protect, promote, and preserve our natural heritage

What I Liked

This book was a fun and fascinating guide “behind the scenes” of a dream job for many in America. I loved her candor, mix of stories, and the perspective on what it really takes to operate America’s National Parks.

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