I was gifted with this book by my son, and I’m so glad I read it because it is the kind of story that stays with you long after the last page is turned. In fact, I’ve found myself checking Face book, the Boots Campaign, YouTube and elsewhere to gather more information about this courageous and outstanding man…Marcus Luttrell. Thank you for your service seems trite acknowledgment for the heroism and sacrifice of our brave Navy SEALs, but it needs to be said. Better stated: Thank you for your endurance, your God-given talents, dedication and zeal to help make our country and its citizens free from the oppressive zealots who would kill us in their misguided mission to annihilate the Great Satan.
Lone Survivor is the true story of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10. But it is more. The book opens with Marcus Luttrell’s mission to personally meet the families of his dead comrades; not just his close brothers who were part of the mission, but also of the 16 heroes who came to rescue Marcus and his mates and who were shot down in their helicopter.
The second part of the book details Marcus’ early years, his training to become a SEAL while still a teenager, and later the actual training that took place in Coronado, CA and elsewhere. The degree of difficulty of SEAL training is explained in clear detail; out of well over one hundred men, only a handful will have the stamina and mental fortitude to finish. (Luttrell explains that the body can stand almost any punishment, but the battle between success or failure is in the mind.)
Finally, after weeks and months of physical training, marksmanship, guidance and other tactical courses, the newly minted SEALs are pinned and ready to go. The final part of Lone Survivor deals with Operation Redwing and the betrayal of Petty Officers Marcus and his buddies Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelman and Lt. Michael Murphy. Also detailed is the story of Marcus Luttrell’s survival, thanks in part to his overwhelming need to relate the last days of his group and in a larger part to the Pashtun villagers who protected him from the Taliban.
Luttrell and his co-author, Patrick Robinson, have penned a gripping story of courageous men and one particular man’s courage against near impossible odds. This is not the type of book I normally choose, but I found it enthralling, horrifying and so gripping I couldn’t put it down.
Lone Survivor has more than 1500 reviews; I doubt mine will add noticeably to them, but I have to say I found the book very engagingly written, and since Luttrell’s views are similar to my own, not at all off-putting as some reviewers have commented. Also, as a published author who has checked, double, triple and quadruple checked my own manuscripts, let me say that no matter how many times you reread your work, errors get through. There was nothing in Lone Survivor that gave me an instant’s pause.