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Black Hawk Down Paperback – 6 Jul 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; Film Tie-In edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552999652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552999656
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By A Customer on 18 April 2001
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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As is mainly the case these days, people will mainly think of the film rather than the originating book when Black Hawk Down is mentioned. And as involving and exciting as Ridley Scott's film is, the book actually manages to eclipse it. Well researched, and written with authority, it was impossible to put down once the operation has commenced, and things start to go wrong. Bowden's style puts the reader right next to the heart of the action, maintaining momentum by inter-cutting between the individual situations of the various characters as they try to get through the mayhem. In managing to elicit genuine interest in those characters - they are far more than military serial numbers - Bowden avoids going gung ho, and the soldiers are never portrayed as some type of supermen. Gripping, pacy and thought provoking, you certainly don't have to be a committed devotee of military history to enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book very well researched, and I liked the fact that the author had referenced each chapter to its source - impressing on the reader that what he was writing was coming from those involved, not from the author's imagination. The depth of research Bowden has gone into is impressive, leading to a tour de force in popular military history.
Having said that, Bowden's strength is also his weakness. The journalistic style of the book makes it easy to read and fast paced - essential in a book of this nature. However, his need to include all stories from all participants makes the book confusing, and it is difficult to keep track of all the personnel involved. As a result, the book jumps about from place to place and from point in time to point in time, with a lot of "flashback" style documents of past personal histories. Also, there were points where despite his valiant attempts at impartiality, I could not help but feel that Bowden was writing a little to his audience.
All in all, though, a good read that kept me gripped.
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Format: Paperback
If you've seen the film and thought "What the...?", get the book and work out what happened.
The film does any excellent job of making you feel you are in the middle of the action, but nothing in terms of identifying the characters, who was who, who was making decisions and why and what motivated the actions (on both sides).
The book does an excellent job of filling in those holes and makes the film well worth revisiting after a read, too.
Obviously, it is slightly let down (hence 4 not 5 stars) by the fact that everything is dependant upon people's memory and it's hard to believe that memory could be perfect in such a situation.
The author does, however, recognise this and explains his attempts to piece situations together from multiple sources. He also deserves praise for preventing the book from being either an anti-American diatribe OR a gung-ho Good (The Rangers) Vs Evil (The Somalis), by presenting both sides with remarkable even-handedness.
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