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 have 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 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 for which two of his squadmates were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism 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.
©2007 Marcus Luttrell (P)2012 Hachette
Don't pay too much attention to the complaints about either the narrator or the author's conservative politics. The reader may bother some, but I listened to this book straight through over the course of several flights out west, and loved it -- the only time I took it out was literally at TSA. As for his political views - he is a Navy SEAL, from Texas, right? Seriously - the narration is fine, and the authors occasional politics asides are amusing and endearing even to a liberal like as me, Well worth the credit.
I've read quite a few histoy/military history books so far, and this ranks right up there as one of the best tales to date. Dick Couch's 'Warrior Elite' edges this one out as the best so far, and I mention it becuae there is a relation betwen the two books. In this story, Marcus Latrell, USN SEAL, talks about his training with BUD/S class 228, the same class that Mr. Couch expertly documented in his book.
The novel begins a bit slow, and the readers attempt at a 'texas good ole boy' accent is distracting, but once the story shifts to Operation Red Wing, the pace picks up. If you want to be inspired, truely inspired, then read this AND 'Warrior Elite'. Navy SEALS are not just the toughest, best trained fighting division in the world, they are also an ultra rare breed of men. Their stories are simply amazing.
Yes, because it tells a great story of what happened during Operation Red Wings. However, there is a LOT of Navy recruiting going on during the book. I understand Marcus is proud, and rightfully so. But I can not help but wonder if during the editing by the Navy if it was recommended to amp up the bravado.
The fake Texas accent put on by Kevin Collins was horrible. I got use to it about a 1/3 of the way into the book. There were times when he was talking about his fellow Seals screaming out that Collins cocked it up pretty good. The dramatic flare in points was less than desirable.
I listened to the book in 2 days. Once you got past the Seals training, which was necessary to understand the relationships, the actual story of Operation Red Wings was captivating.
On a personal note. What Marcus Lattrel and the rest of his Seal brothers endured and went through was saddening. There are highs and lows in the story and it makes you understand A. What it takes to be a Seal. B. What those heroes went through on the top on that mountain.
The unholy bond between these men is beyond a normal mans comprehension, but did learn that Dick Marcinko left a mindset, that the SEAL of today has taken to another plane.
I served in the US Navy, and for the first time cried while reading a book. It taught me that the Afghan people are not all terrorists, and that was a huge lesson learned.
When the Afghan village took on the Taliban devils really moved me, but the downing of the Chinook made me ill, and the movie did this book justice, for the first time, that I know of.
The Spartons could not approach a USN SEAL, making them the greatest combat soldiers in the history of man kind. Loved the book, even though it was very emotional for me at times, as all us sailors are very proud of these special men.
On a footnote though, their was a huge mistake in deciding to go ahead with the mission, but this showed the humanity coming to the surface with a US soldier, and that is the difference that make the SEALs, that more special, as they knew this mission was doomed when they let the Taliban goat herders go on their way.
Listen to the Authoritarians
The guy who reads this book, with his psycho-pathological over-enunciation of every word, is the most distracting, horrifying thing that could happen to an otherwise interesting book. How anyone could enjoy this is beyond me. I would honestly rather listen to a cute-voiced 5 year old read this than this clown. He's just soooooo terrible. Marcus, for the love of god, have it re-recorded by a normal person.
DIFFERENT READER!!!!!! Without the fake over-exaggerated accent. I can BARELY listen. I've heard amazing things about this book, which is the only reason I even trying to push through this nightmare reader.
I will never buy any other book in which BOZO the psycho-pathological over-enunciator reads. It's just so unbelievably bad.
Loved the book and movie. It's a great story. I got the audio version so I can listen to it again in the car. After about 15 minutes of listening to this 3rd year theater major who has clearly never been south of New Jersey do his best Texas accent, I was starting to think about swerving into oncoming traffic.
I think instead of finishing the audio book, I'll give my 6 year old son a dollar to just read it to me.
Excellent detail. Saw the movie first, and was pleased to hear the actual events as they truly happened. As the father of two In service in the U.S. Army, my heart goes out to all that have lost friends and family in service of our country. F the liberal media.
The non-soccer mom
I have never left such a review for a book, but I continually asked myself why in the world Ian finishing this. The narrator was insufferable. And while I thank Marcus Lutrell for his service and huge sacrifices, he is insufferable, too. He is beyond egotistical, unbelievably narcissistic and while he seems to want to believe he became a SEAL for this country, it is extremely obvious he did it to feed that enormous ego. His constant railing against the Liberals was also in hugely poor taste. Whatever your politics, his clear hatred for "the other side" is no healthier for this country than siding with any one belief. He took every single available opportunity to express his political beliefs and obvious blaming of the Liberal media and left for everything. I really wanted to like this book. And I wanted to respect Marcus. But he makes it impossible.
I wanted to read this book because so many people had told me how great it was. However, I must have been naive to expect the story to be written as a narrative versus as a sort of long conversation with the writer. The book is full of very far right Conservative, anti-Liberal rhetoric, which, these days, I'm getting a bit tired of all the political hate, from both sides. I understand that should maybe be expected from some military guys but I felt it severely distracted from the story. I appreciate and agree the sacrifice anyone in the military makes needs to be remembered, which is part of why I wanted to read the book. But the author so clearly expected the "liberal media" to criticize him that his criticism of the very far left Liberals (though he seemed to expect this of all liberals) and defense of his and the military's actions pervaded the entire book. I ended up being taken out of the story every time he would do this, even though I agree there are sometimes necessary evils and tough choices made in the time of war.
It was interesting to hear about some of what the SEALs have to go through for training. However, this also felt more like Navy advertising versus being a part of the book. Yes, it was good to give the back story and idea of the mindset and personalities of the SEALs, but it was a little more than the first 1/3 of the book which just seemed unnecessary. It is amazing what Marcus Luttrell and his team went through and great to know there are people out there who will fight so hard to save a complete stranger, especially at high risk to themselves.
The narrator really wasn't that great. He over enunciated every word and spoke just far too slowly. I listened to the entire audiobook at an accelerated speed. The first third at 2X speed and the part that was actually about the operation at about 1.5X and had absolutely no problem listening to the story. It helped the narration sound more normal, especially since, like I said, the book was written more as a conversation Marcus Luttrell was having with someone versus a retelling.
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