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Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999)

by Mark Bowden

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,544662,582 (4.2)53
History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML: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.
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» See also 53 mentions

English (62)  Spanish (3)  Danish (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
A gripping recounting of a real-life modern military operation that went sideways, where a small, elite force of US soldiers fought a large number of Somali militia and civilians on urban terrain. There is bravery and brutality, professionalism and incompetence. The book was better than the movie, filling in details of the background and feelings of individual soldiers making their stories more powerful. The difference in culture between the Rangers and Delta Force and how it affected their ability to work together was really interesting, and having several Somali points-of-view made for a good contrast. The last-ditch defense of a downed helicopter, and the terrible gauntlet run by vehicles trying to drive through the city stick in my mind. ( )
  yaj70 | Jan 22, 2024 |
Excellent account of war in Somalia against guerrilla rebels soldiers and how a convoy attempted to rescue some Black Hawk helicopter pilots who had been shot down. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Black Hawk Down, the call signal which ushered in a nightmarish fiasco for US Military forces in Somalia almost a century after Custer's deplorable mismanagement at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Similarities in both catastrophes are astounding and telling-an arrogant command staff is more lethal than sprayed fire from a frontline enemy.

What went wrong and why? Bowden answers these very uncomfortable questions in this book. It reads like a postmortem exculpation of the men on the ground while cross examining and damning the command staff on the basis of substantial evidence. 'Black Hawk Down'-a must read for all leaders wishing to avoid cataclysmic errors which can spell the end of multiple careers and lives. ( )
  Amarj33t_5ingh | Jul 8, 2022 |
This is an amazingly detailed account. the author posits that it may be the most accurate account of a real battle ever written, and he probably correct. Using the transcripts of the audio chatter, and hundreds of interviews of rangers, deltas, seals, and even Somalis Bowden paints one of the most realistic account of this savage operation. ( )
  thelxdesigner | Mar 31, 2022 |
I listened to the abridgement of the book. It was well done and went along pretty much as the movie did. It made me wish a full copy of the book had been available . . . . and that's a good thing. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bowden, Markprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lefort, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, JoeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sklar, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother, Rita Lois Bowden, and in memory of my father, Richard H. Bowden
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At liftoff, Matt Eversmann said a Hail Mary.
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History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML: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.

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