Friday, June 3, 2011

Guest Review: Lone Survivor

Summary: Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.

A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates' heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war. -- Little, Brown


Note: This review was written by my dad.

With all the current interest in the Navy Seals after the Bin Laden adventure, I asked Booking Mama if I could write a review for LONE SURVIVOR: THE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF OPERATION REDWING AND THE LOST HEROES OF SEAL TEAM 10 by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson, a book I had read more than a year ago. Luttrell was the sole survivor of a 2005 Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan which claimed the lives of three of his combat partners.

The book begins with the difficult task of Luttrell informing family and friends about the death of loved ones. The book then goes back to the beginning of Luttrell’s story of the SEALS and his training. Marcus and his twin brother had always wanted to be SEALS and began training at age 15 with a former U.S. Army soldier. Luttrell then uses the grueling period of training known as “Hell Week” to describe some of what he and his brother endured to become SEALS. He does a fantastic job telling of the mental and physical toughness it takes to make the grade.

Luttrell then describes Operation Redwing where he and three other SEALS were dispatched into the rugged Afghanistan Mountains to capture or kill a well-known terrorist aligned with Osama Bin Laden. After being spotted by some goat herders who apparently revealed their location, the SEALS were surrounded by a band of as many as 200 Taliban soldiers. After several hours of fighting three of Luttrell’s team were killed. During the fighting a distress call from one of the SEALS led to a helicopter being sent in for a rescue attempt. Unfortunately the helicopter was shot down resulting in the death of eight more SEALS and eight Army special force members. Despite being wounded several times, Luttrell somehow survived and was rescued by a group of Pashtu villagers who cared for and protected him for several days until he could be rescued. Luttrell’s detailed account of the story is remarkable. He was even able to recall the exact locations where each members of the team lost his life. Each body was later recovered.

In January, 2010 I had the opportunity to hear Marcus Luttrell’s first hand account of his mission. As Marcus continuously paced the stage during his presentation one had the feeling that he was reliving the experience. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Marcus Luttrell was not a polished speaker but was telling the story from his heart.It was not an experience he enjoyed and he thought he would never have to tell this story again after he wrote the book. But I’m sure he tells the story over and over in memory of his fallen comrades. All proceeds from book sales go to the Lone Survivor Trust whose mission is to welcome home, empower and restore America’s wounded warriors, their families and surviving families.

LONE SURVIVOR is an action packed and patriotic story about a brave group of men defending their country. I recommend this true story to anyone who wants to better understand the dangers and sacrifices our military members go through each day in the fight against terrorism.

Thanks to Booking Pap Pap for his very relevant review of LONE SURVIVOR.

4 comments:

Beth F said...

Wow -- what a story. And it's fantastic that Booking Pap Pap got a chance to see Marcus Luttrell talk.

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a great book. It sounds like something we should read to remind us of the bravery of our men and women in the military. I can't imagine living through something like that. Another great review from Booking Pap Pap!

Lena said...

I smiled when it read this review was done by my dad. That is wonderful in itself.

This sounds like a great book, especially to remind us of all the sacrifices the men and women in the military make on daily basis to protect our right to freedom and safety. I'm sure it was nice to see Luttrell in person and hear him speak. What an honor that must have been. Great review.

Heather J. said...

My husband read this a while back and it actually moved him to tears. He handed it to one friend/family member after another, insisting that they each take the time to read it. And this from a guy who rarely reads!

So glad Booking Pap Pap enjoyed it as well.