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Black Hawk Down [Paperback]

Mark Bowden
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 July 2000

Already winning acclaim as one of the best accounts of combat ever written, Black Hawk Down is a minute-by-minute, heart-stopping account of the 1993 raid on Mogadishu, Somalia. Late in the afternoon of Sunday, October 3 1993, 140 elite US Soldiers abseiled from helicopters into a teeming market neighbourhood in the heart of the city. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take them about an hour.

Instead, they were pinned down through a long and terrible night in a hostile city, fighting for their lives against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. Two of their high-tech helicopters were shot out of the sky. When the unit was rescued the following morning, eighteen American soldiers were dead and more than seventy badly injured. The Somali toll was far worse - more than five hundred killed and over a thousand injured.

Authoritative, gripping, and insightful, Black Hawk Down is destined to become a classic of war reporting. It is already the most accurate, detailed account of modern combat ever written.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552999652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552999656
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

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 Defence 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 defence 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 non-fiction novel, a lively page-turner that will make readers feel like they're standing beside the embattled troops. This will quickly be realised as a modern military classic. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Rip-roaring stuff, with one of the most gruesome battlefield wound treatments ever committed to paper" (Maxim)

"One of the most electrifying, immediate and detailed accounts of a single battle every told... the whole 24-hour nightmare seems like it's happening to you" (Later)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I'm not a big fan of war novels or films but escaping from this book is impossible once you read the first page. Mark Bowden focuses on a mission that was supposed to take just an hour but instead took 24 hours and cost many lives. This book drags you into the heart of the US battle against Somali warlords in Mogadishu and and pages fly past as quickly as the bullets within them.
Mark Bowden has clearly done his research for this book - highlighting both the grievances of the Somali people who felt persecuted by US involvement in their country and the terrors faced by the highly trained elite US Rangers and Delta Forces on the ground and in the air, for whom this battle went terribly wrong.
This battle of US technological might against Somali warlords and ordinary onlookers is especially potent given recent events, and I would strong encourage everyone to read it to gain a glimpse into the US psyche. I defy anyone to not thoroughly enjoy this book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty damn good! 18 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was initially dubious about his book. I'm not a big reader of military accounts, and was afraid that the book would just wind up being a chest beating epic for military fetishists. I must admit that I was pleasently surprised. The narrative spins off into many different stories of the different individuals involved in the fighting, and you find yourself quite absorbed by all of them. It also, to my surprise, isn't just about how the US Rangers and Delta's kicked everyones ass (hoo ha!) it talks of their disilusionment with the American foreign policy, talks of the tribal complexities of the situation they had been thrust into, and creates a solid base of characters as likable as those from any similar novel. But with the added bonus (?) of being true. Superbly researched, excitingly written, this a book you will find hard to put down.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic 20 Aug 2002
By Mr. Warren M. Fisher VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Capturing the ambiguous horror and kinetic poetry of war, Bowden's book is probably the definitive account of combat and the experience of the modern infantry soldier. The film version was good, but the book is even better. At once cautionary and celebatory, this reads better than any novel and sears itself into the soul. Shocking and deeply moving, this is a life-changing read of unsurpassed brilliance.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 5 Mar 2002
Format:Paperback
I did not know of this book until the film was out. I saw the film first(which was amazing) and I decided to read the book. I found it more in depth than the film, and at first it was quite a difficult read. But once I had got into it I found it amazing, and really moving. It also educated me, as a true, honest book that was not written to send up the u.s rangers. I thought the fact that Bowden interviewed so many people to gather information to write this was really good, as it gives you more of an insight into what actually happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down 20 Oct 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Having seen the movie, I thought it was great, left nothing to the imagination of the horror of the firefight that the Rangers and D-boys endured.The book on the other hand is way better. From the first page you get an insight into the feelings of the young soldiers and what a primative place the Mog was.
Mark Bowden is a very prolific writer, he is not a war correspondant or a military historian but his descriptive narration of what happened in Somalia on October 3 1993 leaves nothing to the imagination. He dosen't glorify war, he told it from the memories of the young men that were there.
For anyone who has seen the movie, it is well worth reading the book. And for anyone that wants to know more about the history of Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu then this is the book you want to read.
Black Hawk Down is a modern classic. A book that you will not be able to put down
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
An accurate and emotionally involving account of the political failure in Somalia, leading to the American troops getting sucked into the maelstrom of warlord politics, leading to an attempt to snatch one of them. When that mission went wrong, helicopter extraction led to two groups on the ground needing rescuing, leading in the end to several deaths. Mission creep, command, control and what happens when the plan goes wrong all well-recorded in a pretty well-written page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Tristan Martin VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Well known via the excellent Ridley Scott film of the same name, journalist Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down gets the reader inside the story of a team of American Rangers and Delta Force, who are sent on a mission to kidnap local warlord/clan leader Mohammed Farrah Aidid. This October 1993 mission in Mogadishu, Somalia, resulted in the most intense firefight U.S. troops had experienced since the Vietnam war. Bowden recounts this story primarily from the U.S. point of view.

This book is visceral and graphically bloody, as books about war should be but it is neither sensational nor indulgent in "gun-porn" i.e. lavish descriptions of weapons, bullets and sadistic descriptions of injuries.

Where Ridley Scott's otherwise superb film falters is that when Africans are killed, the scene is filmed with all the adrenalised panache of a top dollar Hollywood action film, the faceless hordes having no more personality than the Orcs of Lord of the Rings; when a U.S. soldier is shot, we get cliched slow motion, sweeping strings musical accompaniment, close ups of pain and anguish. Bowden's book is not so simplistic. Though Mark Bowden does interview a few Somalis, their perspective on events is drastically marginalised. More clearly, this savage act of aggression (on both sides) occurred in the midst of a city of more than one million people and no doubt there were a vast number of civilian deaths. In fairness, Bowden does briefly mention that women and children are indiscriminately killed by panicking U.S. soldiers but this is a minor concern when compared against the space given to the terrible pain of the American soldier's wives and girlfriends back home, not knowing if their loved ones were okay.

What comes across most emphatically is the incredible disorganisation of this U.S.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb account of this tragic episode
Having found this in a charity shop it looked worth the read. I can highly recommend this book for the following reasons. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Birolli
4.0 out of 5 stars BLACK HAWK SOMALIA
Good book. Factual account of the events in Somalia as described. Watched the film recently and decided the story was that interesting there must be a book the film was based on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by MR P BUCZKO
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down
This book is well worth reading. Mark Bowden does not leave too much to the imagination and has certainly captivated my attention throughout.
Published 5 months ago by David Nice
4.0 out of 5 stars Back Hawk Down
An account of a Modern Warfare and how plans can go from being easy to execute to horrific in a few moments. I would recommend.
Published 6 months ago by peteswiftuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the film loved the book
This book is definitely a page turner, graphic for the most part but a book i think people should read to realize the horrors of war and the bravery of some or all of the solders... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peter Godfrey
5.0 out of 5 stars A very gripping read
I didn't know much about the war in Somalia before I read this book and was pleased to find accounts inside from both sides describing their version of events as they happened. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bubba
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than The Film - Recommended Reading
The film Black Hawk Down is probably, in my opinion, one of the great modern war films and is based on this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dickens
5.0 out of 5 stars Blackhawk down
Pure amazing :) great read took me two days but gives a great insight on a 1 hour mission gone wrong leaving 150 American troops stranded in a hostile African city
Published 10 months ago by Jacob Bramley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
A well written concise account of the battle and the events leading to the decision for action.

I really enjoyed the read from start to finish.
Published 13 months ago by Matt Kennedy
4.0 out of 5 stars You've seen the film, read the book
The film Black Hawk Down is a must watch.

But I wanted to read the book upon which it was based.

I would recommend the same to anyone. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. M. Stickley
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