It is the rare book that remains in print for nearly fifty years, earning wide acclaim as a classic. "The Forest Ranger" has been essential reading for generations of professionals and scholars in forestry, public administration, and organizational behavior who are interested in the administration of public lands and how the top managers of a large, dispersed organization with multiple objectives like the Forest Service shape the behavior of its field officers into a coherent, unified program. Published as a special reprint in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service,
"The Forest Ranger" is as relevant and timely today as when it was first issued in 1960. This special reprint of "The Forest Ranger" includes two new forewords and an afterword. The first foreword, by Harold K. (Pete) Steen, former president of the Forest History Society, considers the book's impact on the forestry community and explains its continued relevance in light of changes in today's Forest Service. The second, by Richard P. Nathan, codirector of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, considers the book's contribution to our understanding of administrative and organizational behavior. The new afterword by author Herbert Kaufman describes how his landmark study came into being and offers a candid assessment of how his theories about the agency's operations and its future have held up over time.
In 1960, the Forest Service had a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and "The Forest Ranger" was a seminal analysis of the hows and whys of its success. Kaufman also warned, however, that an organization so unified and well adapted to its environment would have difficulties navigating social change. He was right: the environmental, civil rights, and women's movements have all presented challenges to the character and purpose of the Forest Service, ultimately changing the organization in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Now, as then, "The Forest Ranger" is a striking and prescient case study of how a complex organization operates and evolves over time.