Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

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.
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About the Book

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From Amazon’s description:
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.

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War was originally released in 1999.   In 1993, Somali faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid was supposed to be captured by the Unified Task Force.  What happened instead was a battle in Mogadishu between United States forces and Aidid’s militia.  The title of the book was derived on the downing of two United States UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.  Aside from the battle, there were also attempts to rescue the crews of the downed Black Hawks.

The United States forces were composed of Army Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Delta Force and Navy SEALs.  United Nations peacekeeping forces were also involved. The raid is the most intense close combat in U.S. military history.  The Battle of Ia Drang in the Vietnam War pales in comparison to this. The mission to capture Aidid was officially codenamed Gothic Serpent, but the media called it the Battle of Mogadishu and/or the Battle of the Black Sea.  Some also call it The Day of the Rangers.  The allied forces had 21 deaths while the Somalis ranged from 200 to greater than 500 deaths.

Although Black Hawk Down is nonfiction, it reads like a fiction book as the action is fast paced and it is hard to put it down.  You want to continue reading and finish the book at once.

Wikipedia has a good article on the battle and it could be read HERE.

Black Hawk Down was made into a movie with the same title.  It starred Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore and Eric Bana. In case you are interested, you can check it out HERE.  It is a good idea to watch the movie after reading the book in order for you to get an idea on how the battle transpired.  Although artistic liberties were taken, the downing of the Black Hawks and the deaths of Shugart and Gordon were pretty realistic here.

black hawk down


Genres: History, Military
Tags: east africa, Recommended Books
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Year: 2010
List Price: $16.00
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About the Author
Mark Bowden

Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) is an American writer who is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and a 1973 graduate of Loyola College in Maryland, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1979-2003, and has won numerous awards. He has written for Men's Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone over the years, and as a result of his book, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Bowden's received international recognition. The book has been made into a 2001 movie, and was directed by Ridley Scott. He currently lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

From Goodreads.

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