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Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
MARK BOWDEN

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden
689 reviews (1999) (400p)
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction Finalist

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Book Description
The acclaimed New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down is "a shocking account of modern warfare . . . gripping and horrifying" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Destined to become a classic of war reporting, Black Hawk Down is Mark Bowden's brilliant account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3rd, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take an hour. Instead they found themselves pinned down through a long and terrible night fighting against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. The following morning, eighteen Americans were dead and more than seventy had been badly injured.

Drawing on interviews from both sides, army records, audiotapes, and videos (some of the material is still classified), Bowden's minute-by-minute narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern combat ever written--a riveting story that captures the heroism, courage, and brutality of battle.

"Black Hawk Down ranks among the best books ever written about infantry combat. . . . A descendent of books like The Killer Angels and We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young."-- Bob Shacochis, The New York Observer

"If Black Hawk Down were fiction we'd rank it up there with the best war novels: The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, or The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien."-- Tom Walker, The Denver Post

"Stands in a league with Shelby Foote's stirring Civil War Diary, Shiloh."-- Jim Haner, The Baltimore Sun

"One of the most gripping and authoritative accounts of combat ever written."-- Kirk Spitzer, USA Today

"Amazing . . . One of the most intense, visceral reading experiences imaginable."-- The Philadelphia Inquirer
A New York Times bestseller for 14 weeks
Bowden's Black Hawk Down series, which appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for best foreign reporting


Amazon.com Review
Journalist Mark Bowden delivers a strikingly detailed account of the 1993 nightmare operation in Mogadishu that left 18 American soldiers dead and many more wounded. This early foreign-policy disaster for the Clinton administration led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and a total troop withdrawal from Somalia. Bowden does not spend much time considering the context; instead he provides a moment-by-moment chronicle of what happened in the air and on the ground. His gritty narrative tells of how Rangers and elite Delta Force troops embarked on a mission to capture a pair of high-ranking deputies to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid only to find themselves surrounded in a hostile African city. Their high-tech MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters had been shot down and a number of other miscues left them trapped through the night. Bowden describes Mogadishu as a place of Mad Max-like anarchy--implying strongly that there was never any peace for the supposed peacekeepers to keep. He makes full use of the defense bureaucracy's extensive paper trail--which includes official reports, investigations, and even radio transcripts--to describe the combat with great accuracy, right down to the actual dialogue. He supplements this with hundreds of his own interviews, turning Black Hawk Down into a completely authentic nonfiction novel, a lively page-turner that will make readers feel like they're standing beside the embattled troops. This will quickly be realized as a modern military classic. --John J. Miller


Other Award Winning Books by Mark Bowden
The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden
79 reviews (2012) (p) (Amazon Top100)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Mark Bowden Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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