Cover image for Black Hawk down : a story of modern war
Black Hawk down : a story of modern war
Bowden, Mark, 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
386 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Portions of this book were originally published as a series in The Philadelphia inquirer."
Reading Level:
970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.3 23.0 62805.

Reading Counts RC High School 8.1 28 Quiz: 29078 Guided reading level: NR.
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT407.4 .B69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DT407.4 .B69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DT407.4 .B69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DT407.4 .B69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reading List

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Recounts a 1993 firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia, that resulted in the deaths of eighteen Americans and more than five hundred Somalis, examining the rationales behind the disastrous raid.

Author Notes

Mark Bowden has been a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty-one years and has won many national awards for his writing. He is the author of "Black Hawk Down," "Bringing the Heat," "Doctor Dealer", "Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw." and, more recently, The Finish: "The Killing of Osama bin Laden", and Hue 1968: A Turning point of the American war in Vietnam. Bowden has also written for Talk, Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Playboy, among others.

The original series of articles which became "Black Hawk Down" earned him the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award, and made him a finalist for the NBA in nonfiction.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Dramatically, graphically reconstructing the October 1993 gun battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, journalist Bowden leaves nothing about combat to the imagination. Thinking there must have been some official inquiry into the disaster that killed 18 American soldiers and upwards of 500 Somalis, Bowden discovered none was undertaken, and so conceived this account. It is a horribly fascinating bullet-by-bullet story, in which the purpose of Americans in Somalia fades to irrelevance amidst the immediate desperation of fighting. The battle ignited as the army's elite formations, the Delta units and the Rangers, were ambushed in the course of capturing clan leaders. In the ensuing day-and night-long snafu, helicopters were shot down, rescue convoys drove in wrong directions, men bled to death. In effective New Journalism style, Bowden projects the individual soldier's thinking: his pride in his elite training, his surprise at the strangeness of combat, his determination to hold out until rescue, and, in two instances, his pure self-sacrificial heroism. An account impossible to stop reading, especially for those with army associations. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is military writing at its breathless best. Bowden (Bringing the Heat) has used his journalistic skills to find and interview key participants on both sides of the October 1993 raid into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, a raid that quickly became the most intensive close combat Americans have engaged in since the Vietnam War. But Bowden's gripping narrative of the fighting is only a framework for an examination of the internal dynamics of America's elite forces and a critique of the philosophy of sending such high-tech units into combat with minimal support. He sees the Mogadishu engagement as a portent of a disturbing future. The soldiers' mission was to seize two lieutenants of a powerful Somali warlord. Despite all their preparation and training, the mission unraveled and they found themselves fighting ad hoc battles in ad hoc groups. Eschewing the post facto rationalization that characterizes so much military journalism, Bowden presents snapshots of the chaos at the heart of combat. On page after page, in vignette after vignette, he reminds us that war is about breaking things and killing people. In Mogadishu that day, there was no room for elaborate rules of engagement. In the end, it was a task force of unglamorous "straight-leg" infantry that saved the trapped raiders. Did the U.S. err by creating elite forces that are too small to sustain the attrition of modern combat? That's one of the key questions Bowden raises in a gripping account of combat that merits thoughtful reading by anyone concerned with the future course of the country's military strategy and its relationship to foreign policy. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Based on a series that won the Hal Boyle Award for best foreign reporting from the Overseas Press Club after appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, this book details the American assault on Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. A 75,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Assaultp. 1
Black Hawk Downp. 69
Overrunp. 133
The Alamop. 199
N.S.D.Q.p. 259
Afterwordp. 351
Sourcesp. 357
Acknowledgmentsp. 381
Indexp. 383