Picked up a copy of Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson’s Lone Survivor on the strength of a heartfelt recommendation by thrillerist Vince Flynn on the Hugh Hewitt radio program. The book about Navy SEALs in Iraq and Afghanistan knocked Mr. Flynn out, and so I thought it would do something similar to me.
But at this passage on page 36, I wavered:
“Out there, often in uncharted desert wasteland near the water, we’d see rocket launchers in the distance and drive right onto them, only to find they were just decoys, huge fake missile containers pointing at the sky, made out of scrap metal and old iron bars.
“After a two-day drive over rough country in unbelievable heat, that counted as a very grave inconvenience. If our team had ultimately found Saddam in his hidey-hole, we’d probably have shot him dead for a lot of reasons, but especially on the strength of those wasted desert runs. (Just joking.)”
And then, at this passage fifty-four pages on, I stumbled and fell:
” ‘Drop! All of you!” he bellowed And there was an unbelievable commotion as chairs were scraped back and we all hit the floor in straight-arm rest position. ‘Push ’em out!’ he snapped. And we made the twenty then were left in the rest position.
“He stared at us and said, ‘Listen. You were told to have a pencil and paper with you at all times. So why don’t you? Why the hell don’t you!’“
But it was on page 106 that I washed out completely:
“I saw him outside the classroom, and, still with his sunglasses on, he offered his hand and smiled quietly. ‘Nice job, Marcus,’ said Reno. He had a grip like a crane. His hand might have been bolted onto blue twisted steel, but I shook it as hard as I could and I replied, ‘Thank you, sir.’
“We all knew he’d changed us drastically in those two weeks in Indoc. He’d showed us the depth of what we must achieve, guided us to the brink of the forthcoming unknown abyss of BUD/S. He’d knocked away whatever cocksure edges we might still have possessed.
“We were a lot tougher now, and I still towered over him. Nonetheless, Reno Alberto still seemed fifteen feet tall to me. And he always will.”
I’ll never be a SEAL.
But YOU might make the grade. Click on LONE SURVIVOR to find out.