By Marcus Latrell
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.
What is a hero? What is sacrifice? I thought I knew what these things were, but really I didn’t. A real soldiers story is much different than what kids see playing a Call of Duty video game. In Marcus Latrell’s book Lone Survivor, I came to see what a true warrior goes through during battle. Set in Afghanistan a few years after the 9-11 attacks, the author retells his epic story of surviving the unthinkable odds, while his brothers-in arms gave the ultimate sacrifice. I believe Marcus Latrell captured his story through its themes, setting, and vocabulary.
The themes in this book really stood out to me, the most important being, never give in. Even after falling off cliffs, being shot, blown up, and almost dying of thirst, Marcus Latrell never gave up hope. After being hit by a rocket propelled grenade or RPG, Marcus was knocked unconscious and blown into a deep ravine. Several hours went by before he awoke. Bleeding and unable to move his legs he gathered enough strength to crawl to a safe position. He realized he was the last in his team of four Navy SEALS alive. While lying in a crevice in a cliff many thoughts crossed his mind. One of the things that kept him going was he kept repeating Psalms 23:4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. The other was that he was determined to tell the story of how brave his SEAL team had fought and the sacrifice they made. The author was able to express this powerfully through his themes.
The setting played a vital role in this book. America had just gone through its worst terrorist attack and the first attack on its own soil since Pearl Harbor. The country was gearing up for war and Marcus Latrell had already begun his SEAL training. The setting varied from his childhood in Texas to the icy waters of Coronado to the unforgiving mountain peaks of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. Even as a child he knew what he wanted to do, deciding to be a Navy SEAL at the age of twelve. After being accepted into the program his intense training took him all across the country. While serving in Afghanistan, along with his team of three others, he was assigned to kill a Taliban warlord. The team was flown into the steep and rocky mountains of the Hindu Kush where they had to hike to recon the area where the warlord was believed to be. Marcus described the scenery well and explained the Afghani culture and how they viewed the Americans. I gained a better understanding of the war on terrorism through the setting of this book.
The author was able to express emotions and thoughts through the use of his vocabulary. Though it used graphic language it enabled me to better understand the struggles that our military men and women face every day. I have been wanting to read this book for a while but my father did not want me to because of the use of this language, but now agreed so I would understand that war is not glamorous as one may be lead to believe playing video games. Marcus achieved the true nature of war through his description and vocabulary. He was to the point in his descriptions and did not over exaggerate. I believe he wanted to tell the story exactly how it happened.
In the end, this is one of my favorite books I have ever read. It was full of action, patriotism, and sacrifice. I think someone looking for these qualities would enjoy this book. For someone my age who was just a baby at the time of the 9-11 attacks, this book gives a realistic view of the war on terror and helps give understanding of those serving in the military during this time.