My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I literally spent the last two hours of this audiobook in tears. Crying out loud, tears.
On Goodreads, I don’t get political. Personally I don’t feel this is the right place for it. While I respect others that might; I simply don’t feel the need to engage in that sort of discussion with pretty much anyone. Because I’ve found that most people’s political (like their religious) beliefs are deeply held and resistant to change. Again, I respect that.
So I won’t engage in a political discussion about this book. I will, however, explain why this book impacted me so deeply.
I hold the United States Military in the highest regard. Government? Politicians? Not so much.
The men and the women who volunteer their lives to protect the country I love? The people who lived their personal and private lives with respect, honor and dignity – I will never speak a bad word against.
My father was a U.S. Marine. My husband served in the U.S. Navy and now serves with honor in the Air Force. My father-in-law, my brother-in-law and my son are all either U.S. Air Force veterans or currently serving. My father-in-law is a veteran of the first Gulf War. My close friends include retired Army Rangers, retired Navy Seals, current Air Force officers and enlisted and even a Coast Guard officer. To say I am pro-military is to make a understatement so great I don’t even have the words to express it.
What this book was to me was a look into the heart and soul of an American hero.
Marcus Luttrell takes us on a winding journey at first; back and forth between present time, his childhood, his Seal training and what was present day. We learn about the heart of a Seal in general, the heart of one Seal in particular. The heart and soul that allow a man to walk deep into hostile, enemy territory because he believes he is doing right and defending his country. The type of heart and soul that keeps a man fighting as his brothers fall and die beside him. The type of heart and soul that helps a man with severe injuries fucking crawl almost 5 miles on an Afghan mountain. The type of heart and soul that I can barely comprehend. That you, if you are honest, can barely comprehend. Or we’d be there too…willing to pay the ultimate price for the United States and her people.
I learned more about terrorism (from a man who has looked terrorists in the eyes) and the history of Afghan tribes from this book than I’ve leaned from the media or politicians since September 11, 2001. I discovered how the media impact warfare. How politicians who have never set foot in a hostile environment influence command and control. I discovered the deep integrity and honor with which some Afghan tribes operate. And the ruthless warfare the Taliban engage in.
Perhaps this book is preaching to the choir, though I wish everyone would read/listen to it.
Because while it is political it is also written to honor the heartfelt sacrifice of the men who perished during Operation Redwing. Men who were husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Men who decided to risk their lives so that I can be free and safe. Men who deserve to be remembered (as do all of our fallen soldiers) for all eternity for doing so.
While the movie that is based on this book does follow quite well, there is so, so much missing. Much that deserves to be read, understood, pondered.
As I said previously, people hold their political and religious beliefs closely and deeply. It is my hope that they do not hold them ignorantly, taking the word of talking heads in media or government as truth. If I could wish one thing it would be that people would gladly take it upon themselves to be educated in their opinions. Research. Listen to opposing views. Most opinions have a grain of truth and the truth is not always something that we want to hear. However, we as a people, as a nation, need to understand what goes on around us. We need to understand current affairs. We need to understand history. We need to comprehend how it all ties together.
Or it all falls apart.
I highly recommend this book/audiobook to everyone.
P.S. The narrator did a phenomenal job. I’ve seen and heard many interviews with Luttrell and I felt like it was the author himself narrating the book! Well done and bravo! I was mesmerized for over 16-hours.