Book: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

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Book:

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Author: Mark Bowden
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Publisher: Penguin Books

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.

Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Barnes and Noble

Mark Bowden gives the reader an intense “You Are There” look at the October 1993 attempt by a U.S. Special Forces team to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord in Mogadishu, Somalia—and shows how the mission turned into a bloodbath that would cost the lives of 18 American soldiers. Ultimately, the incident would lead to the infamous video footage of a soldier’s body being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Bowden is careful to present both sides of the conflict, giving the reader all the information they need to fully understand the day’s tragic events.

Related Works

Album:Black Hawk Down: Original Soundtrack

Black Hawk Down: Original Soundtrack

Hans Zimmer

After the success of Gladiator, it wasn’t unusual to see director Ridley Scott turn to Hans Zimmer again for the score to Black Hawk Down, his fierce adaptation of Mark Bowden’s account of the tragic 1993 American military intervention in Somalia. What was more surprising was the schedule Scott imposed on the German-born composer: 15 days to write, arrange, and record the film’s nearly two hours of music. The results of Zimmer’s miraculous two-week musical campaign not only belie those constraints; they instantly take their place alongside…

Film:Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down conveys the raw, chaotic urgency of ground-force battle in a worst-case scenario. With exacting detail, the film re-creates the American siege of the Somalian city of Mogadishu in October 1993, when a 45-minute mission turned into a 16-hour ordeal of bloody urban warfare. Helicopter-borne U.S. Rangers were assigned to capture key lieutenants of Somali warlord Muhammad Farrah Aidid, but when two Black Hawk choppers were felled by rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. soldiers were forced to fend for themselves in the battle-torn…

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