Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Review: Lone Survivor

I was out of town this weekend (hence some of the delayed responses for other posts). I took a copy of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson with me. I started the book at the airport on Friday afternoon, and finished it Sunday morning. This was really an incredible book and I couldn't put it down.

Lone Survivor is the story of Operation Redwing in Afghanistan. The operation called for a team for four Navy SEALs to stalk then capture or kill a known Taliban leader. Intelligence indicated that this particular leader could have 80 to 200 soldiers with him. Operation Redwing would end in the largest loss of life to Navy SEALs and U.S. Special Forces in America's history. 24 hours after the operation launched, Petty Officer Luttrell would be the only member of the operation left alive.

Luttrell’s recount of the firefight he and his teammates were in is incredibly gripping. His recount of what happened with his family in Texas during all of this also jumps off the page. When the media reported that the entire team had been killed (including Luttrell), an incredible five day ordeal began for his parents and brothers. Luttrell’s twin brother never once thought the missing SEAL was dead. The Navy also refused to list any of the SEALs as anything other than “Missing” until bodies could be found. Support began to come out of the woodwork for Luttrell’s family.

While Luttrell's family tried to get information, Luttrell struggled to survive. A local tribe took him in and protected him under Lokhay. Lokhay means, “…the population of [the village] will fight to the last man, honor-bound to protect the individual they have invited in to share their hospitality… [t]his is strictly nonnegotiable. “ Once the Taliban found out the village was hiding Luttrell, things continued to get tough for Luttrell. However, without the village, Luttrell never would have survived.

Lone Survivor is a page turner. The fights really come out of the page, and the ordeal Luttrell’s family goes through tugs at the reader’s heart. Luttrell explains his own feelings on the liberal media and on our own Rules of Engagement. Whether you agree with him or not, his words are worth considering because of the things he has seen. The teammates Luttrell describes are real Hero’s. Three of the members (including Luttrell) were awarded the Navy Cross for Combat Heroism, and leader of the group, Lt. Michael Murphy, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I would recommend anyone studying the war in Iraq or Afghanistan read this book. This book will become required reading for anyone studying the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few people at different news agencies read this as well.

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