A Navy combat veteran showcases the deadly operations in Iraq, promoting American military duty as ennobling in the service of humanity.
In something of a sequel to his first book (Lone Survivor, 2007), Luttrell chronicles his missions preserving democracy for America. Much of this book, co-authored by Hornfischer (Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, 2011, etc.), is set in Ramadi, an especially bloody Iraqi outpost. During their time in Iraq, his SEAL combat brothers killed perceived enemies, suffered countless wounds, and died at a rapid pace, making the narrative occasionally difficult to follow. In some chapters, battle tactics predominate, and the sentences are quick and graphic. Other chapters aren’t as violent, as Luttrell explains why some men answer the call of war no matter the risk to themselves or their loved ones. The author seeks to explain the honor of military service to the vast majority of readers who have never experienced it. Luttrell is mostly silent about questions of whether inserting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan ever made sense in terms of American foreign policy. He followed his military commanders because of his belief in their knowledge and motivation. Though George W. Bush appears in the book multiple times, Luttrell seems unable to grasp the ferocity of the opposition the president faced at home and abroad. Toward the end of the book, the author departs from Iraq and expands on his earlier book by discussing the war in Afghanistan, and he devotes a chapter to military wives, who understandably worry every day about their men in combat.
An action-packed, occasionally reflective saga of contemporary military service.