A New York Times Notable Book of 1999.
Synopses & Reviews
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 3, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopters 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 badly injured.
Bowden's minute-by-minute narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern war ever written-a riveting story that captures the heroism, courage, and brutality of battle.
"This is military writing at its breathless best....[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." Publishers Weekly
"[A] horribly fascinating bullet-by-bullet story, in which the purpose of Americans in Somalia fades to irrelevance amidst the immediate desperation of fighting....An account impossible to stop reading, especially for those with army associations." Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
"[A]s 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 Reviews
"This story of a U.S. military mission gone awry belongs in an elite category: nonfiction that you can't put down....[A] page-turner." Matthew Heimer, Brill's Content
"A vivid, immediate and unsparing narrative that is filled with blood and noise....It bears comparison to S.L.A. Marshall's classic account of a battle in Korea, Pork Chop Hill." Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"What this demotic, you-are-there prose lacks in literary finesse...it makes up in pure narrative drive....Bowden has performed an important service by picking out and meticulously dramatizing such a turning point in recent history. Until [the book] came along, this strange and terrible battle was in danger of being forgotten." William Finnegan, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Mark Bowden is the award-winning author of Bringing the Heat and Doctor Dealer. He has been a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer for nineteen years. He also writes for Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Parade, and other magazines.