although a September 2013 Amazon monthly special (2.99 most markets?) and although Lankford is kind enough to join us all on GR, unfortunately I can't in good faith recommend this more or less 12 years' survey of being a US Park Service Ranger. perversely, I've almost spent 12 years myself being involved in writing / summary writing / precis or abstraction summation, so life's twist goes like this:
Lankford had the story, but not the professional writer/editor's ruthless ear
I had all the pay-for-play editing experience, but I don't have a story (more or less).
to put it all in a nutshell, the problem with this book was the beginner's error of not knowing how to zero in, to laser in on the really really good stuff. Lankford had one really great story (and one very good one, heli-rescue in general, although that's a separate problem too if you think about it-- $3 million rescues for one fat middle-aged non-hiker two miles away from the trail)--
the GREAT: people get a kick out of parachuting. however each jump is $500 or more. so some people bungee-jump. but that thrill is measured in split-seconds. finally, somebody got the idea of BASE jumping in national parks. low cost, several seconds of fun, everyone wins!
unfortunately, it turns BASE jumping is probably among the most dangerous activites in the world. you have a window between second 3 and second 8 to open your chute, or otherwise... splat !!!
so gov't steps in, and forbids BASE jumping. unfortunately, the prohibition only creates further opportunities for harm. being chased by Park Rangers, some BASE jumpers end up in far bigger trouble than just the fine and the confiscation of parachute.
there's more to this story, of course, but what Lankford missed with the socio-economic ramifications of BASE jumping and the comparisons to addictive drugs. the professional editor/writer understands that this could be a INTO THIN AIR book all in itself. unfortunately, we had to deal with a long extended mega gripe about poor wages and tough conditions of Park Rangering to get there. we learn about $30 million boondoggle projects, but what we wanted was the Jon Krakauer excellence of 'selection.'
since AL is good enough to join GR and participate in reviewing/writing, I will at least be fair enough to say that at the amazon.com monthly special price certainly nobody will feel cheated. you got your published book at the price of a happy meal, and you know, books will be with you forever. so, if you are very keen on joining the park service or you just want that one half-chapter on BASE jumping and heli-rescues, well, you won't go terribly askew with Ranger Confidential.