If you haven’t bought the hottest book of the summer, which I told you about in June, you should. “Lone Survivor” is the #1 NYTimes best-seller in the nation. Congrats to the author and American hero, Marcus Luttrell:
On June 7 Marcus Luttrell was discharged from the Navy, having served with the elite Seals, survived a fierce battle in Afghanistan and earned a Navy Cross for combat heroism. Less than a month later “Lone Survivor,” Mr. Luttrell’s memoir of the 2005 battle and his rescue, became a best seller.
Unlike Pat Tillman or Jessica Lynch, Mr. Luttrell was not a soldier whose name had been widely reported in the news media. Until he was released from the Navy, he was not permitted to do any publicity for the book, which went on sale June 12.
Yet backed by strong support from military blogs and right-wing pundits like Michelle Malkin as well as appearances with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” program, with Glenn Beck on the radio and on CNN Headline News, “Lone Survivor,” with its action-packed narrative and patriotic tone, has emerged as one of the summer’s biggest publishing success stories. On Sunday the book, which hit No. 1 on The New York Times’s nonfiction hardcover best-seller list two weeks ago, will be back in that slot after slipping to No. 2 for one week. The publisher, Little, Brown & Company, initially printed 75,000 copies; there are now 275,000 copies in print. According to figures from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of sales, “Lone Survivor” has already outsold books about Mr. Tillman or Ms. Lynch, as well as several other soldiers’ memoirs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The immediate success of “Lone Survivor,” which Mr. Luttrell wrote with the novelist and ghostwriter Patrick Robinson, can be traced to a combination of factors. Mr. Luttrell’s story, involving a failed mission to capture or kill a Taliban leader in the mountains of Afghanistan, is unusually dramatic: Mr. Luttrell was the only one of four men on the mission to survive after a violent clash with dozens of Taliban fighters. Eight members of the Seals and eight Army special operations soldiers who came by helicopter to rescue the original four were shot down, and all aboard were killed.
Mr. Luttrell was then rescued by a group of Afghan Pashtun villagers who harbored him in their homes for several days, protecting him from the Taliban and ultimately helping him to safety.
Along with the tragic story about how Mr. Luttrell lost his comrades, the book is spiked with unabashed braggadocio and patriotism, as well as several polemical passages lashing out at the “liberal media” for its role in sustaining military rules of engagement that prevent soldiers from killing unarmed civilians who may also be scouts or informers for terrorists.
Here’s Blackfive’s round-up of milblog Luttrell links. Here’s the Today interview:
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