Review: Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

I really haven’t veered too far from my original intent when I began this site, but I wanted to at least put up a little review of sorts onlone survivor the book I literally just finished this afternoon.  I would like to think of myself as a jack of all trades kind of guy; however, I think the follow-up to that (master of none) is more fitting.  I really love to read, but I allow a lot of other things to get in the way, which causes me to read at a very slow and distracted pace sometimes.  So I’ve been reading this book for about a month or more now, however, this week it really took off for me. Lone Survivor is probably a book you’ve seen half a dozen times at your local bookstore.  I know I passed by it quite a few times before finally deciding I had to read it.  I have lately really enjoyed non-fiction stories that involve people doing things that I guarantee I could never do.  Lone Survivor is just that type of story.

This tale follows Marcus Luttrell through his experiences preparing for the navy seals, going through the necessary training to be a navy seal, and then going through a mission gone horribly awry while working in Afghanistan. The actual plot that takes place is pretty incredible.  I found both the training and the actual mission extremely interesting to read about.  Luttrell goes into great detail describing the different tasks that were required of him in boot camp.  Some of the activities help me understand why it is I sit in a classroom everyday and didn’t choose to do what he does.  Such things as being required to jump in the freezing cold ocean, roll around in the sand, and then go for a four mile run don’t sound like much fun to me.  His description of “Hell Week” where he was not permitted to sleep for 72 hours, forced to tread water in freezing cold temperatures, and perform crazy drills while carrying an eight-foot long and one foot in diameter log only further prove to me that I am just not motivated enough to keep up with this guy.  All along he tells of all the people around him quitting.  I can’t help but think I would have been one of the first.

Without giving too much away, the mission (Redwing) in the story is once again an incredible look into a special ops mission in Afghanistan.  The team (Danny, Axel, Murphy, and Marcus) head out to find, kill, or capture a major al Qaeda leader hiding in a very remote part of Afghanistan.  They see the danger of the situation before even leaving; however, being navy seals, they still head out to and try to accomplish their mission.  If the title doesn’t already give it away, the mission goes seriously wrong and they have to fight their way out while sustaining tremendous casualties.  Their fight to live and survive shows more heart than I could ever imagine being able to conjure up.  I cry when I get shot in the wrong place with a hockey puck.  These guys keep fighting despite being shot in the neck and chest.

After reading this story, I looked around to see what someone could possibly say negatively about this story.  Of course, people will always complain about something as hot button as war. One of the biggest complaints people have is that he seems to blame most of the downfalls of their mission on liberals in America.  As Luttrell says, “…the view of most Navy SEALs (is), the public does not have that right to know, not if it means placing our lives in unnecessary peril because someone in Washington is driving himself mad worrying about the human rights of some cold-hearted terrorist fanatic who would kill us as soon as look at us…” (pg. 38).  I think this is a very easy point of view to take when you look at what he went through. Had his team not been worried about the issues that would arise from how they should have handled their situation, things would have ended up very differently.  He does continually come back to this point throughout most of the story and, to a degree, it definitely does get a little repetitive.  My political views are so minute that this really does nothing to raise my displeasure or love for the story.  I can definitely see his point of view given his situation; however, when compared to what happened at Abu Ghraib, it is hard to say we should not regulate at all what people do in a time of war.  If nothing else it has left me with something to think about.

Lone Survivor is an incredible story about how one man managed to survive against all odds.  If you can separate this from your own political and religious views, then you’ll really enjoy this story.  However, if you simply can’t get past Luttrell using his story as an opportunity to talk about what is wrong with liberal America, then you’ll probably have a tough time getting through this one.

Teacher Grade: B

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with the author’s dissatisfaction with Mr. Luttrell’s anti-liberal theme. I am somewhat liberal in my thinking about social and economic issues in the U.S. I also agree 110% with the real heart of his bitch…..the rules of engagement. I would give our fighters complete autonomy in making decisions in the field. He simply throws too many people together in one big lump. If he cares to be an advocate for conservative ideals in matters other than combat I welcome his opinion but as much as I admire the man I wish he’d at least acknowledged the varying degrees of “Liberal”. Otherwise, the book is awesome. I’ve read many of the books considered to be the greatest works by the master writers but have never been so moved as I was while reading the account of the firefight culminating with Mike Murphy screaming for help from his best friend. Wow.


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