Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden
A Story of Modern War

78%

15 Critic Reviews

One element that is lacking from his account is a level of background that would offer more than a surface look...But as reportage, this account offers a look at modern war in the tradition of the great war correspondents. Gripping, passionate, and impossible to put down.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Already a classic of war reporting and now reissued as a Grove Press paperback, Black Hawk Down is Mark Bowden’s brilliant account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3, 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 wounded.
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.
 

About Mark Bowden

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Mark Bowden is a noted body language expert, master of non-verbal and verbal communication, and a leader in the techniques of influence. The creator of TruthPlane, a unique model of training for anyone who has to communicate to an audience, his techniques are used now by top executives and political leaders across the globe. Mark gained his university degree in performance in the UK, and studied the gesture control methods of Jacques Lecoq's Laboratory of Movement, Paris; he has worked with leading practitioners of movement psychology and built upon the influence techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson. He holds a reputation as one of the UK's expert performance trainers, lecturing on performance at Drama Academies and Universities throughout the UK and across the world including RADA, Oxford and Cambridge; he is a highly sought after trainer in business communication at Canadian Universities including McGill, and international top ten business school Schulich at York. His client list of leading business people and politicians currently includes presidents and CEO's of fortune 50 companies and a G8 Prime Minister.
 
Published April 1, 2010 by Grove Press. 417 pages
Genres: History, War, Biographies & Memoirs, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 24 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Black Hawk Down
All: 15 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

One element that is lacking from his account is a level of background that would offer more than a surface look...But as reportage, this account offers a look at modern war in the tradition of the great war correspondents. Gripping, passionate, and impossible to put down.

Read Full Review of Black Hawk Down: A Story of M... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jan 20 2016

...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.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Glenn M. Frazier on Sep 10 2002

All in all, this is a book well worth reading, and have added it to my Warblogger’s Bookshelf. It is an insight into the terrible human experience of modern warfare, set within a significant series of events whose importance were not fully understood in their own time.

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Dunn on Aug 07 2001

In a frank and evenhanded epilogue, the author discusses the pros and cons of the mission and its objectives, and shifts the book's emphasis from the battle to a discussion of US foreign policy.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Joshua Klein on Mar 29 2002

Written like a gripping war novel, Black Hawk Down is hard to put aside, in part because the terrible events described aren't fictional. The book ultimately illustrates the folly of ill-defined foreign policy...

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Joshua Klein on Mar 29 2002

Written like a gripping war novel, Black Hawk Down is hard to put aside, in part because the terrible events described aren't fictional. The book ultimately illustrates the folly of ill-defined foreign policy, but it also serves as a strong admonition that no amount of training can prepare a soldier for that tragic moment when things fall apart.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Gilbert Taylor on Jan 31 2016

...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.

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BookPage

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Dunn on Apr 01 1999

Black Hawk Down is a savage reminder that real lives hang in the balance of such changeovers in administrative policy, particularly when heads of state have decided that might makes right.

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Foreign Affairs

Above average
Reviewed by ELIOT A. COHEN on Feb 12 2013

...Bowden uncritically endorses the blame placed on the late Les Aspin, then secretary of defense, for the administration's ill-omened Somalia policy. Still, a compelling and disturbing read.

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CNN.com

Good
Reviewed by Mark Schone on Mar 24 1999

"Black Hawk Down" re-creates, with exacting detail, the gory confusion of that day, when questions of heroism were far from cinematic. Mark Bowden's work ethic inspired him to track down 50 veterans of the conflict and bring back Mogadishu whole.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Anthony F. on Feb 05 2016

If you are someone who can't tolerate war or violence, this book is not for you. Bowden describes some of the wounded with the most horrific images and detail.

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Brothers Judd

Excellent
on Oct 01 2001

In Black Hawk Down, Mark Bowden manages to tell a genuinely thrilling story and at the same time illustrate fundamental points about what America's unparalleled fighting forces can and can not do.

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http://www.sheilaomalley.com

Good
Reviewed by Sheila on Apr 11 2006

Hands down, one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read. From the first page to the last, I couldn’t put it down.

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https://www.foreignaffairs.com

Above average
Reviewed by ELIOT A. COHEN on Jul 01 1999

...unnecessarily obscures the internal workings of the Pentagon and in particular the roles of senior civilian and military leaders...Still, a compelling and disturbing read.

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https://inkslingerblog.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by THE INK SLINGER on Feb 03 2012

For those thinking about picking this book up, be warned: it’s not a light or casual read. It’s gritty. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s exhausting...But it’s worth it.

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Reader Rating for Black Hawk Down
91%

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