Friday, 15 March 2013

Lone Survivor - Marcus Luttrell

Title: Lone Survivor
Author: Marcus Luttrell
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Pages: 392

Content: The strength of this true story lies in the light that it sheds on the strength of character, mental toughness, of the soldiers; as well as the confusing cultural and ethical nuances that epitomize operations within the Afghan theatre of operations. The central unit, a four man recce team, is faced with hard ethical questions relating to prisoners when their deep reconnaissance mission is compromised by Afghan shepherds. The challenges of modern, asymmetric warfare are highlighted when the team struggles with the factors influencing what courses of action they have to pursue. The reader comes to quickly appreciate that answers and decisions are not cut and dried and that all have their consequences. Additionally, the book is a fascinating study of the inner workings of the Afghan/Pashtun culture. The concept of ‘lokhay’ or the responsibility that a family and village has for the protection and support of a guest, at the expense of all else, is one that is completely alien to western cultures but is deeply rooted in the Pashtun psyche. Finally, the book provides additional proof of the necessity for tight team cohesion and training as you would fight. While many expound upon these concepts, too often we let these standards slide to our ultimate detriment.

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