One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book is because it was a subject I have never read about before and I was able to garner a lot of new info like army training, wars, the war zone in Afghanistan, the mujaheddin, Taliban, etc.
I don't a agree with a lot of stuff that the author mentions in his book - always making the Americans the heroes and all the Afghans the villains and terrorists and like as if killing them would be the big solution to everything. He uses the excuse that because it was the Afghans that blew up the twin towers then every single Afghan deserves to burn. In my opinion it is too much generalization when the truth is that you are talking about human beings - each and every single one of them different than the other - and the fact that Marcus Lutrell is just sooo against any and all Afghans when I am sure a lot of them - actually most of them - had nothing to do with anything and were put in the middle of it all without any choice but to either join the Taliban (which i am also totally against) or to go to the Americans side...and them being born there it is only fair to understand when they go fight on the side that originated in their won country. I personally dont see Marcus as a hero as he puts himself out to be and thats what I dont like about the book - the way it portrays that the Americans are always the good ones and the right ones and the ones saving the planet - which is a distorted and wrong way of seeing things because all war is wrong. There is just no in between. It just doesn't go with me.
Nevertheless I still like Marcus Lutrell and consider him a good writer. What I do agree with him on is his do-or-die spirit and how he fights with a cause - even though I know it is the wrong cause. But that doesn't take away that the story is still a great story, and Marcus was a good soldier that has his values like sticking it out no matter what, team spirit and at least in his own mind he is fighting for what he has always heard and known to be true and good. So I guess that is what makes it a good book despite being controversial to many many things written in it.
The friend who recommended me to read this book later on commented the following - and I totally back him up on it: "The book is good to read for perspective, which is so important in life. There are many guys like Marcus in the military. Their world is the whole world and nothing else. They are right and the rest are wrong. But knowing this perspective is important when your journey is through something as small as the world."
So all in all, despite being contrary and against MANY things that are on this book I still consider it a great and even pretty moving book. I do wish Marcus would help more the wonderful tribe that took him in and gave him "Lockhai" (maybe he did but just never mentioned about it in the book) as they were in my opinion the best part of the whole story and the determining factor that made the book turn out what it turned to be - that and also when Marcus decides not to kill the goat herders. It was so touching to see how they had no need or responsibility to defend them and risk their own lives to save him when he was a man that was fighting against their country and killing their own people and yet they were still righteous and compassionate to put the whole tribe's life on the line to save his life. That is the part of the story which shows you the greatest power anyone can ever have - the power of putting one's life before your own. That is what made this book beautiful.
About the AuthorMarcus Luttrell was born in Huntsville, Texas in 1975. He has a twin brother named Morgan. Luttrell is a former Navy SEAL. Luttrell began his training for the Navy SEALs when he was only fourteen years old. There was an old US Army Special Forces soldier that lived in Luttrell's town. T his man's name is Billy Shelton. Even though Billy Shelton was a small man, no one looked down to him. To Marcus Billy Shelton appeared to be seven feet tall. After high school Luttrell attended Sam Houston State University. As soon as he was out of college he went to join the Navy. After basic Navy training he went to Coronado, California to join the SEALs. He has not written any other books. He also plans on becoming a doctor now that he is out of the Navy. His book is also being turned into a movie.
SettingLone Survivor take place mostly in Afaganistan. Mainly the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Other parts of this book take place in Coronado, California and at Marcus' home in Texas. The book takes place mostly in the year 2005. Some other parts of the book happen in 2001 and before. Most of the action occurs in 2005.
People Involved in Lone SurvivorMarcus Luttrell- Author and the only survivor of the fated Operation Redwing. Recipient of the Purple Heart and Navy Cross.
Lt. Micheal Murphy- Leading officer of the team that Luttrell was a part of. Marcus' best friend. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor. Lt. Murphy was the first person in the Navy to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Died June 28, 2005.
Petty Officer Matthew "Axe" Axelson- Another man in the four man team of Operation Redwing. Axelson was awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart. Matthew Axelson was the husband of Cindy Axelson. He died June 28, 2005.
Petty Officer Danny Dietz- The final member of the four man team of Operation Redwing. Danny was an extremely tough man. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross. He died June 28, 2005.
Lieutenant Commander Erik Kristensen- Died in the Hindu Kush mountains trying to rescue Marcus. Kristensen was the commanding officer of SEAL team 10. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy- Died in the Hindu Kush mountains trying to rescue Marcus. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Petty Officer Shane Patton- Very laid back SEAL. He was originally a part of Operation Redwing and was switched with Danny Dietz at the last minute. He also died trying to rescue Marcus. He was awarded the Purple Heart an the Bronze Star.
Petty Officer James Suh- was also killed in the helicopter that was sent to rescue Marcus. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Sarawa- A Pashtun doctor who discovered Marcus and helped heal his injuries.
Gulab- A Pashtun man that was well respected in the village of Sabray where Marcus was hidden. He helped to protect Marcus from the Taliban.
SEAL TrainingThe US Navy SEALs having a training system unlike any other fighting force in the military. They endure months of arduous labor just for the right to wear the SEAL Trident. The Navy SEALs get hundreds of applicants, but only a few acutally graduate. Their training starts of with a session called Indoc. This is when the pretenders are weeded out. As stated in Luttrell's book and in official US Navy literature the purpose for Indoc is, "To physically, mentally, and environmentally prepare qualified SEAL candidates to begin BUD/S training." During Indoc SEAL hopefuls have the idea of teamwork placed into every aspect of their lives. After the men go through Indoc they then move to BUD/S training. BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolitions/ SEAL training. During this training if one of the men was to mess up they were told by their instructor to, "get wet and sandy." The man at fault would then run into the freezing cold water, lay down in it, and then roll around in the sand. Then they would have to continue training that way. At the end of BUD/S phase one the SEAL hopefuls have to go through the infamous "Hell Week". At the end of this week the men a physically exhausted. The men who make it through "Hell Week" are then secured as SEALs. After phase one the SEALs go through their training that will help them in the battlefield. Once this training is done they are full fledged SEALs.
Operation RedwingThis book centers on Operation Redwing in the war in Afghanistan. As previously explained a good portion of the book takes place in SEAL training. Operation Redwing was a plan by the Navy SEALs to eliminate a high ranking Taliban official. In the book he was referred to as Ben Sharmak, but he is really Mohamad Ismail. Operation Redwing was continually called off because Sharmak was always on the move. One day He finally stopped moving. The SEALs knew where he was. It was their time to strike. The four man SEAL team consisting of Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson, Mike Murphy, and Marcus Luttrell was inserted into the Hindu Kush mountains by an MH-47 helicopter. The guys of SEAL team 10 had a weird feeling about this mission. They all thought that it was because of the terrain. Due to this apprehension all the men brought extra ammunition with them. Matthew Axelson and Marcus Luttrell were the snipers for this mission. Danny and and Mikey were the spotters. It took the team a long time to find a good place to make the shot on Sharmak in the nearby village. When they finally found their spot three Afghan goat herders walked up right behind them. The SEAL squad quickly subdued them and had them sit on a nearby log. They then discussed the goat herders' fate. They has two choices, one to execute them on the spot, or they could let them live. There were problems with both. If they killed them they could be tried for murder back in the US, and if they let them live the goatherders could give their position away to the Taliban. It was up to Marcus, and he let them live. These goat herders did tell the Taliban where the SEALs were. Soon they were fighting for their lives. The Taliban had the high ground, and they were trying to circle around the SEALs. Lt. Murphy realized this and decided that the only way to win this fight was to get down the mountain and onto flat ground. Them men retreated down the mountain. The gradient was so steep that each time they retreated they fell down the mountain. During the first fall Marcus lost all his medical gear and his rifle sling along with he helmet and many other things. Even though he had no way to hold onto his rifle during the falls his rifle always landed right next to him. Marcus saw this as an act of God. The squad's radio was also broken. This made calling for re-enforcements nearly impossible. The men of SEAL team 10 had been shot many times. Lt. Murphy was shot in the stomach in the beginning of the battle. Danny also took several hits in the back. Axe was hit many times as well. Even though they were battered the men kept fighting. After Danny could no longer stand from being shot so many times Marcus ran over to him to try and drag him to cover. As he did this Danny kept shooting. While Marcus was dragging Danny, Danny was shot one last time in the head. He was killed instantly. Lt. Murphy also sustained major wounds while he made a call on his cell phone to HQ for re-enforcements. Then Mikey charged up the hill and stood behind the cover of some rocks. He was then killed by the Taliban. Axe was shot a number of times. One bullet even hit him in the head. Marcus and Axe took cover behind a tree and were hit with an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) that sent both of them flying. It was later determined that Axe had not been killed from the blast. The Navy figured this out because his body was found hundreds of yards away from where the bast hit, and when Marcus was blown away by the blast Axe had three clips left for his pistol. When they found the body there was only one and a half left. Axe had kept fighting until the end.
SabrayMarcus was rescued by a Pashtun doctor from the village of Sabray. The Pashtuns are a strong warrior tribe that are usually allied with the Taliban. In this case they were not. One of their tribal laws is called lokhay warkawal. This law means that if they take someone into their home they a sworn to defend that person to the death. That is exactly what the village of Sabray did for Marcus Luttrell. Marcus was protected by a man named Gulab. They sheltered him until he was rescued by the Army Rangers six day after the original gun battle.
StyleMarcus Luttrell writes in a very casual way. His book is written in a very conversational tone. This helps the reader understand this book better. It also makes the reader feel as if they are listening to Luttrell talk about these events. Marcus has a very sophisticated vocabulary. There are rather large words used throughout the book. There is plenty of action in this book. The whole fight on the mountain takes up a lot of the book, and that part is very thrilling. Luttrell is very good at describing the scenery that the book is taking place in. Luttrell has a tendency to bring up major points many times because he really wants the reader to understand them. His major point is that there is much more that goes on in the world than the citizens of the US know because the media bends and twists things to seem like they are something else. Luttrell brings that up a whole lot in his book. The chapters were rather long, but the long chapters suited the book because so much stuff happened. The book was a good length at 388 pages.
Interview with Marcus on the Today Show
ReccomendationI would reccomend this book to anyone. It is a great eye opener to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only thing that I might be wary of is that there is a fair amount of foul language in it. This comes out more in the fighting parts of the book though. Janice Harayda said, "Luttrell’s memoir of this horrific
experience is part war story, part polemic against “the liberal media” and part Valentine to George W. Bush. As a war story, it is gripping, providing a rare soldier’s-eye-view of a guerilla conflict. As a polemic, it is uneven. And as a Valentine to the president, it is likely to appeal only those who already support the administration." The New York Times said,"Along with the tragic story about how Mr. Luttrell lost his comrades, the book is spiked with unabashed braggadocio and patriotism, as well as several polemical passages lashing out at the “liberal media” for its role in sustaining military rules of engagement that prevent soldiers from killing unarmed civilians who may also be scouts or informers for terrorists. The book was embraced by many military buffs and conservatives. And the baby-faced Mr. Luttrell, with his commanding physical presence and soft-spoken delivery, made for an intriguing presence in his television interviews." All in all this was a great book. I really enjoyed reading it.
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