Lone Survivor, Peter Berg’s combat saga, is the story Operation RED WINGS, one of the most famous battles of America’s longest war. The film is partly based on a memoir by Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, the only surviving member of a Navy SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) team that Afghan insurgents all but wiped out in 2005. Some viewers will struggle to watch the film, which veers between brutal authenticity and unnecessary sensationalism. For others, the struggle will not end with one viewing because veterans, journalists, and others are still fighting over the RED WINGS story.
Luttrell’s memoir, co-written with novelist Patrick Robinson, is Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. An immediate best-seller, the book raised eyebrows among those with knowledge of RED WINGS and its aftermath. Several apparent errors in the narrative led critics to suggest that co-author Robinson might have played an outsized role in its drafting, or that Luttrell was not familiar with aspects of the larger operation. Many of Lone Survivor’s apparent errors, since corrected, would probably only interest veterans and military scholars. Read the full story »