Top critical review
RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "THESE THINGS WE DO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE."
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 28, 2012
As a proud Honorably Discharged Viet Nam Era Veteran I have made it part of my adult life to read as many true war books as I can. On many... I get emotionally intertwined in the stories in many ways. Some of it is unabashed pride... some is bone shaking sorrow... some is gallows humor that only someone who had been there could understand... and much of it is anger at the way I and my compatriots were treated not only by the enemy... but by our own American citizens back home. The ever increasing *RULES OF ENGAGEMENT* that only the United States takes to such non-sensical extremes... are constantly growing and it's akin to putting shackles on our brave soldiers when our lives are on the line. And in recent years it is utterly fascinating to me how the use of the "players" on the battlefield have changed... and how the battlefield itself has changed in many ways... and yet in many ways its stayed the same.
Author Marcus Luttrell does a fine job in this book in many areas such as describing the irritating and expanding Rules Of Engagement... but unfortunately the writing in this book drags for long periods of time. It surely doesn't measure up to his earlier fast-paced *LONE SURVIVOR*. The author's pride in America and limitless dedication and love for our country... and the hero after hero... that our Lord has blessed our country with... portrayed in this solid story... is never at issue. It's simply that the story is told in fits of peaks and extended valleys. With my personal experience and lust for literary growth in the human side of modern warfare... it's almost ridiculous how many books on this subject are constantly being published... almost like water through a burst dam. Unfortunately the percentage of these books that make a major literary impact like the aforementioned *LONE SURVIVOR* are less and less on a percentage basis.
There are some great quotes and analogies that really hit home to people that know... such as:
"ERNEST HEMINGWAY ONCE WROTE THAT "THERE IS NO HUNTING LIKE THE HUNTING OF MAN AND THOSE WHO HAVE HUNTED ARMED MEN LONG ENOUGH AND LIKED IT, NEVER REALLY CARE FOR ANYTHING ELSE THEREAFTER." "LET ME FLIP THAT AROUND: THERE IS, IN FACT, NO FEAR AS DEEP AS THE FEAR OF BEING HUNTED. THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE THIS FEAR FIND, LATE IN LIFE, THAT THEY NEVER HAVE REASON TO BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING ELSE."
Then there is the term: "MOGADISHU MILE"... "TO REACH THEIR TEAMMATES, THEY WOULD HAVE TO MAKE A TWO-HUNDRED-YARD DASH THROUGH HELL."
The difference between being afraid and fear... is clearly defined: "FEAR IS A FORCE THAT SHARPENS YOUR SENSES. BEING AFRAID IS A STATE OF PARALYSIS IN WHICH YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING." And as any veteran knows all too well... the latter of these two "states" is what gets your teammates killed. As you can see there are some great true life gems in this book... but they're just way too far in between at times. On a very personal note... the best friend I had in my life was my deceased Dad... and one thing he always preached to me "IS THAT IF YOU CAN COUNT YOUR REAL FRIENDS ON ONE HAND YOU'RE TRULY A RICH MAN!...AND FAIR-WEATHER FRIENDS ARE A DIME A DOZEN... WHEN YOU'RE REALLY DOWN YOU'LL SEE WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE BECAUSE THEY'LL STICK WITH YOU!" Marcus echoes my Dad's mantra as follows: "IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW IF SOMEONE IS A TRUE FRIEND, GET YOURSELF INTO A TIGHT SPOT WITH HIM OR HER; EVERYONE HAS PLENTY OF FRIENDS WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD, BUT TRUE FRIENDSHIP IS FORGED IN MOMENTS OF CHAOS. IT'S A SAD FACT, BUT IT'S THE TRUTH."
There's a lot of heartfelt "meat" in this book... but unfortunately it's surrounded by a lot of "fat" that could have been cut.