02 April 2014

Lone Survivor

Author: Marcus Luttrell
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

Somewhat surprisingly, I actually heard about this novel before I realized they were making it into a movie.  My boyfriend owned two copies of it that he had borrowed from two different people that told him he should just keep it.  He and I both have grandparents that were in the military, so every once in a blue moon we get to talking about military novels and this one happened to come up in a round of conversation, so I borrowed it while we were looking through things as we packed.  It took me a while before I actually decided to read it, and it took me even longer to trudge through it until I got to the interesting part.

The novel is advertised as an eyewitness account of Operation Redwing, but on first cracking open the book you would hardly guess.  The novel starts as Marcus and crew are en route for what will become Operation Redwing, but the first third to half of the novel focuses on his upbringing, the fine state of Texas, and SEALs training.  Thus, the first half of the novel took me the greater part of three months to slowly make my way through.  After all, it was nothing I haven't watched/read about/heard about before.  But once we actually get to the portion of the novel that focuses on Operation Redwing, then hold on to your hats, folks, because it's a roller coaster of a ride downhill from there.

Sure, Luttrell glorifies the military in this novel.  Heck, he even glorifies the state of Texas.  But that doesn't take away from the situation that he and the other members of his team faced in Operation Redwing.  And, while it shows the Taliban as the enemy, it doesn't group all people living in Afghanistan together; instead, it shows what a volitile state the country is in, and shows just how difficult it is to tell the difference between a friendly and an enemy.  It also shines a light on how the media in America has gotten out of hand, to the point where soldiers are sometimes afraid to do their jobs because of how the media might portray them and the backlash it would cause.  Instead, Lone Survivor made me wonder just how many lives could have been spared - Afghan and American - if Luttrell and the other members of his team had followed protocol for the mission instead of letting the media weigh in on their decision.

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