A dense and specialized but nevertheless convincing memoir by a former director of the National Park Service. Hartzog's effort to set the record straight on the management history of the National Park Service is weighed down by a superabundance of names and details, but his sincere love of public service, political wrangling, and the American landscape gives the book a down-home charm that rescues it from too great a tediousness. During his tenure as director from 1964-1972, this self-educated farmer's son added 69 new parks to the system (including Redwood National Park) and helped Congress establish a National Wilderness Preservation System, a National Trails System, and a Wild and Scenic Rivers System. He was a major defender of the need for unspoiled open spaces in this country and often (and these are some of the most interesting parts of his book) got into trouble for this with the special-interest groups. He is most thorough on the relationships among politicians, conservationists, and the special-interest groups, and offers a detailed analysis of the situation of the Park Service during the recent tenure of the right-wing Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. Occasionally eloquent and often amusing in an anecdotal way, Hartzog captures the flavor of the bureaucratic life with accuracy, completeness, and some zest.