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I have just begun reading Richard Bangs’ engaging new book, ADVENTURES WITH PURPOSE (Menasha Ridge).

Bangs has been a major player in the adventure travel and conservation world for some time. An expert river runner with many first descents, Bangs knows how to engage the reader and raise the adventure to a higher psychological level.

Many in the public may recall his celebrated Mungo Park dispatches in the mid 1990s. With Microsoft backing and technology, Bangs was able to make reports over the new Internet medium from remote sites, suggesting the possibilities of the Internet.

Bangs was one of the founders of the large adventure travel company, Mountain Travel Sobek, and has authored over a dozen books. His RIDING THE DRAGON’S BACK won a Lowell Thomas Award in 1989.

Bangs has also been a critical political player in the conservation field by drawing attention to many remote areas, awakening the passion for preserving these areas, especially rivers. This is part of the “purpose” theme of the current book. Remote areas must be deeply felt to be saved. Bangs engages the reader, raising awareness of threatened people, places, animals, and habitats.

The current book draws together Bangs’ reports on 16 of his worldwide adventures.

I have finished the first chapter, “The Quest For the Lord of the Nile,” set, of course, in Egypt. It is a compelling read about Bangs’ fascination with the crocodiles of the Nile. Bangs has also produced a PBS documentary on this subject.

Bangs is far more than a thrill seeker. If you want a thoughtful and literate, yet spirited report on adventures, Bangs’ new book would be a good choice.

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