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This was payback time for the World Trade Center. We were coming after the guys who did it. If not the actual guys, then their blood brothers, the lunatics who still wished us dead and might try it again.
Good-byes tend to be curt among Navy SEALs. A quick backslap, a friendly bear hug, no one uttering what we're all thinking: Here we go again, guys, going to war, to another trouble spot, another half-assed enemy willing to try their luck against us ... they must be out of their minds.
It's a SEAL thing, our unspoken invincibility, the silent code of the elite warriors of the U.S. Armed Forces. Big, fast, highly trained guys, armed to the teeth, expert in unarmed combat, so stealthy no one ever hears us coming. SEALs are masters of strategy, professional marksmen with rifles, artists with machine guns, and, if necessary, pretty handy with knives. In general terms, we believe there are very few of the world's problems we could not solve with high explosive or a well-aimed bullet.
We operate on sea, air, and land. That's where we got our name. U.S. Navy SEALs, underwater, on the water, or out of the water. Man, we can do it all. And where we were going, it was likely to be strictly out of the water. Way out of the water. Ten thousand feet up some treeless moonscape of a mountain range in one of the loneliest and sometimes most lawless places in the world. Afghanistan.
"'Bye, Marcus." "Good luck, Mikey." "Take it easy, Matt." "See you later, guys." I remember it like it was yesterday, someone pulling open the door to our barracks room, the light spilling out into the warm, dark night of Bahrain, this strange desert kingdom, which is joined to Saudi Arabia by the two-mile-long King Fahd Causeway.
The six of us, dressed in our light combat gear - flat desert khakis with Oakley assault boots - stepped outside into a light, warm breeze. It was March 2005, not yet hotter than hell, like it is in summer. But still unusually warm for a group of Americans in springtime, even for a Texan like me. Bahrain stands on the 26° north line of latitude. That's more than four hundred miles to the south of Baghdad, and that's hot.
Our particular unit was situated on the south side of the capital city of Manama, way up in the northeast corner of the island. This meant we had to be transported right through the middle of town to the U.S. air base on Muharraq Island for all flights to and from Bahrain. We didn't mind this, but we didn't love it either.
That little journey, maybe five miles, took us through a city that felt much as we did. The locals didn't love us either. There was a kind of sullen look to them, as if they were sick to death of having the American military around them. In fact, there were districts in Manama known as black flag areas, where tradesmen, shopkeepers, and private citizens hung black flags outside their properties to signify Americans are not welcome.
I guess it wasn't quite as vicious as Juden Verboten was in Hitler's Germany. But there are undercurrents of hatred all over the Arab world, and we knew there were many sympathizers with the Muslim extremist fanatics of the Taliban and al Qaeda. The black flags worked. We stayed well clear of those places.
Nonetheless we had to drive through the city in an unprotected vehicle over another causeway, the Sheik Hamad, named for the emir. They're big on causeways, and I guess they will build more, since there are thirty-two other much smaller islands forming the low-lying Bahrainian archipelago, right off the Saudi western shore, in the Gulf of Iran.
Anyway, we drove on through Manama out to Muharraq, where the U.S. air base lies to the south of the main Bahrain International Airport. Awaiting us was the huge C-130 Hercules, a giant turbo-prop freighter. It's one of the noisiest aircraft in the stratosphere, a big, echoing, steel cave specifically designed to carry heavy-duty freight - not sensitive, delicate, poetic conversationalists such as ourselves.
We loaded and stowed our essential equipment: heavy weaps (machine guns), M4 rifles, SIG-Sauer 9mm pistols, pigstickers (combat knives), ammunition belts, grenades, medical and communication gear. A couple of the guys slung up hammocks made of thick netting. The rest of us settled back into seats that were also made of netting. Business class this wasn't. But frogs don't travel light, and they don't expect comfort. That's frogmen, by the way, which we all were.
Stuck here in this flying warehouse, this utterly primitive form of passenger transportation, there was a certain amount of cheerful griping and moaning. But if the six of us were inserted into some hellhole of a battleground, soaking wet, freezing cold, wounded, trapped, outnumbered, fighting for our lives, you would not hear one solitary word of complaint. That's the way of our brotherhood. It's a strictly American brotherhood, mostly forged in blood. Hard-won, unbreakable. Built on a shared patriotism, shared courage, and shared trust in one another. There is no fighting force in the world quite like us.
The flight crew checked we were all strapped in, and then those thunderous Boeing engines roared. Jesus, the noise was unbelievable. I might just as well have been sitting in the gearbox. The whole aircraft shook and rumbled as we charged down the runway, taking off to the southwest, directly into the desert wind which gusted out of the mainland Arabian peninsula. There were no other passengers on board, just the flight crew and, in the rear, us, headed out to do God's work on behalf of the U.S. government and our commander in chief, President George W. Bush. In a sense, we were all alone. As usual.
We banked out over the Gulf of Bahrain and made a long, left-hand swing onto our easterly course. It would have been a whole hell of a lot quicker to head directly northeast across the gulf. But that would have taken us over the dubious southern uplands of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we do not do that.
Instead we stayed south, flying high over the friendly coastal deserts of the United Arab Emirates, north of the burning sands of the Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter. Astern of us lay the fevered cauldrons of loathing in Iraq and nearby Kuwait, places where I had previously served. Below us were the more friendly, enlightened desert kingdoms of the world's coming natural-gas capital, Qatar; the oil-sodden emirate of Abu Dhabi; the gleaming modern high-rises of Dubai; and then, farther east, the craggy coastline of Oman.
None of us were especially sad to leave Bahrain, which was the first place in the Middle East where oil was discovered. It had its history, and we often had fun in the local markets bargaining with local merchants for everything. But we never felt at home there, and somehow as we climbed into the dark skies, we felt we were leaving behind all that was god-awful in the northern reaches of the gulf and embarking on a brand-new mission, one that we understood.
In Baghdad we were up against an enemy we often could not see and were obliged to get out there and find. And when we found him, we scarcely knew who he was - al Qaeda or Taliban, Shiite or Sunni, Iraqi or foreign, a freedom fighter for Saddam or an insurgent fighting for some kind of a different god from our own, a god who somehow sanctioned murder of innocent civilians, a god who'd effectively booted the Ten Commandments over the touchline and out of play.
They were ever present, ever dangerous, giving us a clear pattern of total confusion, if you know what I mean. Somehow, shifting positions in the big Hercules freighter, we were leaving behind a place which was systematically tearing itself apart and heading for a place full of wild mountain men who were hell-bent on tearing us apart.
Afghanistan. This was very different. Those mountains up in the northeast, the western end of the mighty range of the Hindu Kush, were the very same mountains where the Taliban had sheltered the lunatics of al Qaeda, shielded the crazed followers of Osama bin Laden while they plotted the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11.
This was where bin Laden's fighters found a home training base. Let's face it, al Qaeda means "the base," and in return for the Saudi fanatic bin Laden's money, the Taliban made it all possible. Right now these very same guys, the remnants of the Taliban and the last few tribal warriors of al Qaeda, were preparing to start over, trying to fight their way through the mountain passes, intent on setting up new training camps and military headquarters and, eventually, their own government in place of the democratically elected one.
They may not have been the precise same guys who planned 9/11. But they were most certainly their descendants, their heirs, their followers. They were part of the same crowd who knocked down the North and South towers in the Big Apple on the infamous Tuesday morning in 2001. And our coming task was to stop them, right there in those mountains, by whatever means necessary.
Thus far, those mountain men had been kicking some serious ass in their skirmishes with our military. Which was more or less why the brass had sent for us. When things get very rough, they usually send for us. That's why the navy spends years training SEAL teams in Coronado, California, and Virginia Beach. Especially for times like these, when Uncle Sam's velvet glove makes way for the iron fist of SPECWARCOM (that's Special Forces Command).
And that was why all of us were here. Our mission may have been strategic, it may have been secret. However, one point was crystalline clear, at least to the six SEALs in that rumbling Hercules high above the Arabian desert. This was payback time for the World Trade Center. We were coming after the guys who did it. If not the actual guys, then their blood brothers, the lunatics who still wished us dead and might try it again. Same thing, right?
We knew what we were coming for. And we knew where we were going: right up there to the high peaks of the Hindu Kush, those same mountains where bin Laden might still be and where his new bands of disciples were still hiding. Somewhere.
The pure clarity of purpose was inspirational to us. Gone were the treacherous, dusty backstreets of Baghdad, where even children of three and four were taught to hate us. Dead ahead, in Afghanistan, awaited an ancient battleground where we could match our enemy, strength for strength, stealth for stealth, steel for steel.
This might be, perhaps, a little daunting for regular soldiers. But not for SEALs. And I can state with absolute certainty that all six of us were excited by the prospect, looking forward to doing our job out there in the open, confident of our ultimate success, sure of our training, experience, and judgment. You see, we're invincible. That's what they taught us. That's what we believe.
It's written right there in black and white in the official philosophy of the U.S. Navy SEAL, the last two paragraphs of which read:
We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required, yet guided by the very principles I serve to defend.
Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.
Each one of us had grown a beard in order to look more like Afghan fighters. It was important for us to appear nonmilitary, to not stand out in a crowd. Despite this, I can guarantee you that if three SEALs were put into a crowded airport, I would spot them all, just by their bearing, their confidence, their obvious discipline, the way they walk. I'm not saying anyone else could recognize them. But I most certainly could.
The guys who traveled from Bahrain with me were remarkably diverse, even by SEAL standards. There was SGT2 Matthew Gene Axelson, not yet thirty, a petty officer from California, married to Cindy, devoted to her and to his parents, Cordell and Donna, and to his brother, Jeff.
I always called him Axe, and I knew him well. My twin brother, Morgan, was his best friend. He'd been to our home in Texas, and he and I had been together for a long time in SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Alfa Platoon. He and Morgan were swim buddies together in SEAL training, went through Sniper School together.
Axe was a quiet man, six foot four, with piercing blue eyes and curly hair. He was smart and the best Trivial Pursuit player I ever saw. I loved talking to him because of how much he knew. He would come out with answers that would have defied the learning of a Harvard professor. Places, countries, their populations, principal industries.
In the teams, he was always professional. I never once saw him upset, and he always knew precisely what he was doing. He was just one of those guys. What was difficult and confusing for others was usually a piece of cake for him. In combat he was a supreme athlete, swift, violent, brutal if necessary. His family never knew that side of him. They saw only the calm, cheerful navy man who could undoubtedly have been a professional golfer, a guy who loved a laugh and a cold beer.
You could hardly meet a better person. He was an incredible man.
Then there was my best friend, Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, also not yet thirty, an honors graduate from Penn State, a hockey player, accepted by several law schools before he turned the rudder hard over and changed course for the United States Navy. Mikey was an inveterate reader. His favorite book was Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire, the story of the immortal stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae.
He was vastly experienced in the Middle East, having served in Jordan, Qatar, and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. We started our careers as SEALs at the same time, and we were probably flung together by a shared devotion to the smart-ass remark. Also, neither of us could sleep if we were under the slightest pressure. Our insomnia was shared like our humor. We used to hang out together half the night, and I can truthfully say no one ever made me laugh like that.
I was always razzing him about being dirty. We'd sometimes go out on patrol every day for weeks, and there seems to be no time to shower and no point in showering when you're likely to be up to your armpits in swamp water a few hours later. Here's a typical exchange between us, petty officer team leader to commissioned SEAL officer:
"Mikey, you smell like shit, for Christ's sake. Why the hell don't you take a shower?"
"Right away, Marcus. Remind me to do that tomorrow, willya?"
"Roger that, sir!"
For his nearest and dearest, he used a particularly large gift shop, otherwise known as the U.S. highway system. I remember him giving his very beautiful girlfriend Heather a gift-wrapped traffic cone for her birthday. For Christmas, he gave her one of those flashing red lights which fit on top of those cones at night. Gift-wrapped, of course. He once gave me a stop sign for my birthday.
And you should have seen his traveling bag. It was enormous, a big, cavernous hockey duffel bag, the kind carried by his favorite team, the New York Rangers. The single heaviest piece of luggage in the entire navy. But it didn't sport the Rangers logo. On its top were two simple words: Piss off.
There was no situation for which he could not summon a really smart-ass remark. Mikey was once involved in a terrible and almost fatal accident, and one of the guys asked him to explain what happened.
"C'mon," said the New York lieutenant, as if it were a subject of which he was profoundly weary. "You're always bringing up that old shit. Fuggeddaboutit."
The actual accident had happened just two days earlier.
He was also the finest officer I ever met, a natural leader, a really terrific SEAL who never, ever bossed anyone around. It was always Please. Always Would you mind? Never Do that, do this. And he simply would not tolerate any other high-ranking officer, commissioned or noncommissioned, reaming out one of his guys.
He insisted the buck stopped with him. He always took the hit himself. If a reprimand was due, he accepted the blame. But don't even try to go around him and bawl out one of his guys, because he could be a formidable adversary when riled. And that riled him.
He was excellent underwater, and a powerful swimmer. Trouble was, he was a bit slow, and that was truly his only flaw. One time, he and I were on a two-mile training swim, and when I finally hit the beach I couldn't find him. Finally I saw him splashing through the water about four hundred yards offshore. Christ, he's in trouble - that was my first thought.
So I charged back into the freezing sea and set out to rescue him. I'm not a real fast runner, but I'm quick through the water, and I reached him with no trouble. I should have known better.
Excerpted from Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell Patrick Robinson Copyright © 2007 by Marcus Luttrell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted April 8, 2009
Wish I could rave about this one. Its beyond harrowing what those guys went through up on that mountain pass.
Unfortunately, the author spends 60% of the story patting himself on the back/being unbearably arrogant, and another 25% going on a political tirade that has no place in a story that is supposed to honor his fallen brothers. I lost a bit of respect for the man every time I read "lefty" "liberal media" or other derrogatory inflamatory comment. Its one thing to disagree, and another completely to insult. I dont like it from anyone on either side of the argument. It adds nothing to the story... any story.
The remaining 15% of the story - the actual events of those days on the mountain - is riveting, horrifying and amazing to the point that a Hollywood movie of it would come off as unbelievable. He is clearly so wrapped in the story that he forgets to wax political or get arrogant. My jaw dropped regularly and I had tears for pages on end and can not believe he made it out alive, or that they were able to retrieve his fallen commrades.
I have a co-worker who couldnt finish the book due to the first half (or more) being an egomaniacal semi political rant.... Ive urged him to finish, for the sake of those men who died who deserve respect and honor, regardless of how you feel about the conflict, or the clear agenda of the man who tells their story.
A story like this should be free of agenda, and unfortunately this one is not. He does a major disservice to the SEALs, and especially to those who gave their life on that mountain - both fighting with him and trying to rescue him - by telling the story with too much ego and political rhetoric.
106 out of 338 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2008
I purchased this book when it first came out and was afraid to read it. I picked it up recently and absolutely could not put it down. This book has touched me in so many ways. Admittingly, I have taken our liberties for granted. After reading this book, I am truly grateful for men such as Marcus who are willing to put their lives on the line in order to protect mine. The courage these men have cannot be denied. This book should be read by all. I read some of the recent reviews and took great offense on comments regarding the political slant. This book is not about that. Regardless of how you feel about war and the US involvment, one cannot be less than thankful for the protection we have by our military. This book is so very highly recommended. It will be hard to replace this book as my favorite!!!
94 out of 101 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2008
READ THIS BOOK!!! I absolutely LOVE this book! My husband is a Marine, so I read a lot of military books. This one is, by far, my favorite! In it, Marcus Luttrell tells the story of growing up in Texas with his twin brother, the process of becoming a SEAL, and then his AMAZING story of survival against all odds! EVERYONE should read this book! Whether you're for the war, against the war, military, civilian, young or old. It will open your eyes to a whole other world. A world far, far away, yet so close to so many of our lives. And one I find many Americans know very little about!
77 out of 82 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2007
Sometimes war is black and white. This book is well written and it gives a first-hand account of the war on terror. The Navy SEALS are the world's best fighting force, but as Petty Officer Lutrell writes, the people who protect us are told to fight fair against an enemy that wants to kill you and your children. The book illustrates just what the Taliban is all about and why we must get serious and allow our armed forces to do the job that they were trained to do. As Navy SEAL Lutrell tells us in this work, these are the very same animals that masterminded the attacks on 09/11/01. Lutrell and his brethren's mission in Afghanistan is for our forces to go after these Taliban and Al Queda forces and elminate them before another attack occurs on our home soil. Lone Survivor is the story of a group of brave SEALS who go into the Afghan mountains after these barbarians. The story of Operation Red Wing is action-packed and fast moving and if you have any appreciation for our military this book will leave you feeling more proud than ever to have these men and women protecting you. Lutrell gets it and his frustration with people in Washington and in the media who know nothing about military operations is evident. The author takes the reader through talking to loved ones who lost a family member in the war, to becoming a SEAL, and finally to the events that occured during Operation Redwing in Afghanistan. An outstanding read that becomes harder to put down as the book progresses.
74 out of 88 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 10, 2011
I am never one to write a review-- somehow can't figure out how to just rank by stars which i always look at when buying books online...
Anyway, I was searching this book to buy for a friend and I saw a negative review and thought I really should give my praises because this book is a must read. It does an unbelievable job of weaving in lessons about hard work and determination, friendship, family, and the unwavering spirit of america.
If it were up to me, this would be assigned reading for every high school senior- my generation could really take away so much from the experiences shared in this book.
Oh-- and to the person who claimed this book was written by an author who just continuously 'patted himself on the back', you become a navy seal and do multiple tours in iraq and afghanistan and tell me he doesn't deserve the credit he gives himself. He truly is an American hero. Five stars does not give this book nearly enough justice.
67 out of 74 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2011
As a disabled veteran, Army widow and mother of a deployed soldier in this terrible war on terror, I found this book to be gripping. I don't care about the skill of the writer -- his account of this terrible ordeal has been life changing. I am also someone who has spoken to Mr. Luttrell online.
When our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines go off to war to defend this country against ALL enemies foreign and domestic, they expect the people appointed over them -- military and civilian alike and including our commander in chief -- they have a right to expect those people not in the fight to do everything they can to support the men behind the weapons and bring them home safe -- NOT politicize their battles!! After reading this book and the FEW terrible reviews by those expecting something else, I can fully understand why Mr. Luttrell feels the way he does. He went into the military intending to make it a career and because of the lack of support by his superiors, ended up totally disabled and embittered beyond belief. This is completely understandable. We who serve give up the majority of our civil rights in the fight to defend freedom, our way of life, and yes, even those stupid people out there who would never even think of putting on a uniform and making the same sacrifice, but are MORE than willing to sit back in their chairs and utter one hateful diatribe after another against those who do and come back changed for life.
I suggest that anyone brave enough to make it all the way through this book and hating it to get off their collective duffs, wear the uniform, defend our country, and come back alive -- THEN READ THIS BOOK AGAIN WITH A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.
62 out of 73 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2009
There are many things that have been said about this book before I picked it up. So, I came into this with a preconceived idea of what I would read. To my pleasant surprise it was not quite what I had anticipated, and I am grateful for that. I expected a war story that would be long on details and short on character, but what I got was the look into the soul of a man. Marcus told his story in a way that makes sense to him and exposed who he is to the world. His actions as a SEAL took courage, but letting the world see who he is as a man is even more courageous. He will be judged, his actions will be judged, and the book will be judged, but he stays true to his values to tell the story of his team and how the most challenging experiences in life make him a unique man.
I could not put the book down once I started and only recommend this book to people with values, morals, and conviction because those without virtue could never understand the man or the book. I only wish my son would be half the man that Marcus is.
49 out of 55 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2008
I could not get past the second chapter, the first two were enough to stop me right there. Clearly the author has a story to tell, he wears the uniform of one of our most elite special forces teams and lived through a harrowing experience. Unfortunetly the author does so much chest beating and dishes out such a buffet of right wing AM radio talk show crap that it makes the book unreadable unless you are inclined to digest that sort of mindless diet. I was very disapointed.
43 out of 172 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2010
There isn't enough story to fill a book - an engaging magazine piece perhaps. Instead, we are delivered a healthy dose of Luttrell's political views which, frankly, are poorly developed and short sighted.
41 out of 200 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2008
First, I am a moderate republican, I bought this book learn about this tragic event and learn about the war in Afganistan. Instead the first 50 pages is about the liberal media and left wing politians. The event the book is about doesn't get started until almost 200 pages in. I believe everything done on that mountain by all the Navy Seals was heroic, but the author comes across as a bitter cocky man, and truly do not believe everything he writes and by being the "lone Survivor" there is no one to dispute what he says.It hurts me to write this review because I feel I dishonor those involved but that how I feel. I like to say I'd be honored to meet the author, but I wouldn't. The author blames the liberal media for what happened on that mountain, I don't like liberal media also but they were not on that mountain so do not blame them.
40 out of 157 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2009
Fascinating. Takes you deep inside the machismo world of the US Navy Seal teams where you get an up close view of the brotherhood and trials these truly amazing men go through. Also one of the most tragic and thrilling accounts of battle I have ever read. Very insightful into the war in Afghanistan. A definite must read. Would recommend over any other book I have ever read. Truly keeps you on the edge of your seat. It will be impossible to put down. I read it in less than a week. A book of unparalleled sacrifice, heroism, and bravery.
27 out of 31 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2007
this book could have been the next Black Hawk Down but due to the constant political ravings and obviously exaggerated details of the firefight between the Taliban forces and the trapped SEALS (a Mark 12 rifle with a scope survives falling down the side of a mountain without knocking the scope out of true?) the book turns into a diatribe against Liberals and the heroics of George W. Bush. I really wanted to like this book but the writing is just bad - it sounds like a 12 year old boy who watched too many action movies wrote many of the passages. It's too bad too because I am sure a great story was there to be told in a believable, credible way.
25 out of 107 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 11, 2012
Marcus Lutrell is a Texas-boy through and through. Texans are a unique breed. Often arrogant and self-confident, yet warm and generous, Lutrell fits the bill. "Don't mess with Texas!" On June 28, 2005, Lutrell and SEAL Team 10 are sent on a mission into Afghanistan as part of Operation Redwing. SEAL Team 10 consisted of Lutrell, Matthew Axelson, Michael Murphy and Danny Dietz. The SEALs moved through the Hindu Kush mountains, eventually positioning themselves to watch the village where their target was supposed to be located. While on surveillance, they are surrounded by the Taliban and engaged in a firefight. Over the next few hours the team is outnumbered probably 35 to 1, caught in a vicious firefight, wounded and pushed further and further down the mountain. There are great moments of heroism and bravery as one-by-one they are picked off. In the end, only Lutrell is still alive and on the run with the Taliban chasing him through the mountains. Eventually he is found and taken in by a Pashtun tribe, and carried to their village where his wounds are treated and he is cared for. The tribe extend their hospitality to him, and they are bound to protect and care for him to the death. This pits them against the Taliban in securing the safety of Lutrell, and in their determination to return him to the Americans. Eventually they do just that. The writing style was a little too relaxed for me. It was like I was sitting in a bar and listening to him talk over a beer. It was a little scattered and lacked very much structure. Additionally there is so much arrogance in the beginning that it could be a bit of a turnoff. But eventually I got used to the writing style and began to see the arrogance more as "confidence", and by the middle of the book I'd hit my groove. However the one thing that kept bothering me was the continual derogatory attitude towards "liberals". I know Texans are staunchly conservative, but it would have been nice to see a little less bias and derogatory tone. It is quite evident that the author views liberals an enemy nearly paramount to the Taliban. The details of the firefight are brutal. These guys were shot repeatedly, with serious head, neck, back and stomach wounds, sometimes mortally shot, and they kept going. They kept fighting- for themselves, for their buddies, for their mission and their country. The one thing that I missed in this book was the chance to really get to know these guys that died out on that mountain. However that didn't stop me from crying as I read of their bravery in the face of terror and pain. There is a fair amount of vulgarity throughout this book. After all, there is a reason we refer to people as "talking like a sailor"! Overall I would recommend this story-- for the middle. The beginning is a little too arrogant and brash, like a boy boasting of his conquests. The end a little too quiet as he recuperates and tours the US to visit with the family members of those who died in Operation Redwing. The middle, the heart of the story, is heart-wrenching and brutal and will have you in tears as you read what these boys went through and what they did for one another. Their love for one another is evident. Beautiful. If you are intrigued by the Navy SEALs, if you don't shy away from brutality, if you can take the vulgarity and brashness, pick this one up. It will move you.
24 out of 30 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 22, 2011
Some reviewers have given this book a low rating because the political views expressed don't align with their own. I think it's unfortunate they can't appreciate the story for what it is; an amazing tale of a guy getting shot at and loosing his friends so the rest of us don't get blown up on planes/malls/buses/bridges etc. Perhaps they are upset to find an American hero thinks their political views don't work in his reality, and has the audacity to say so in his book...
22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2010
I found the poor writing a distraction. This book was hard to follow with the writer's continued use of odd metaphors to describe events and surroundings. The writer tried too hard to create a piece of art and share a dramatic experience, but in the process the story got lost. Eventually I had to put the book down.
21 out of 88 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2011
I know that I'm a racist, warmongering hater, but I can accept that about myself. If you share some of those characteristics or honor those who do, you'll love this book.
20 out of 34 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2011
What should have been a good book gets bogged down by the author's politics. His criticism of the "liberal media" sounds like Fox News talking points. His criticism of liberal politicians and how they need to get out of the way... He swore an oath to serve his country. He sounds like he does not believe in the chain of command. Its a shame that a great story of our military gets lost in the author's obvious right wing political beliefs.
19 out of 113 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2011
My thanks to Marcus Luttrell for not only reliving these events to bring them to paper, but for continuing to take a stand for his brethren and country, long after leaving Afghanistan. My thanks to his family who also have sacrificed much for our country. As for the book reviews that follow, I wholeheartedly agree with Krazeehors' review of May 5, 2011. Pray for and continue to support our troops. This book is engaging, very hard to put down, revealing, educational, heartrending, suspenseful, detailed, and shows history through the eyes of one who lived it. Buy it, read it and get copies for your friends-it's life changing. Then thank a member of our armed forces, veteran or otherwise, for their sacrifice. Thank you Marcus.
19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2010
The writer is way too full of himself, and the writing style is tedius; it's almost impossible to drag myself through to the end. I would not recommend this book.
18 out of 83 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2012