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Paperback Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War Book

ISBN: 0140288503

ISBN13: 9780140288506

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

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Book Overview

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... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


I was particularly pleased that this book provided multiple perspectives, such as the views of American service personnel and also perspectives from Somali fighters. A message I got from this book is how ferocious combat can be, and that it should only be exercised as a last resort. Nicholas R.W. Henning - Australian Author

Ooh-Ahh!! For the Hoo-ah. Gung-ho best takes on the Somalis.

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden is an intense book about a U.S. military mission that started out as a seemingly easy assignment, but went terribly wrong. This story concerns events that actually happened during two days in October 1993 in the sandy desert city of Mogadishu, Somalia. The main mission for the members of the Rangers and Delta Squad was to capture two important Habr Gidr clan members, and possibly the warlord, Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Instead, the troops found themselves involved in a bloody battle with Somalis determined to eliminate the soldiers. Black Hawk Down is a very engrossing book. Mark Bowden does a great job making the reader feel as if they were right in the action. The book is occasionally gory, especially with the descriptions of gunshot wounds, but shouldn't be too bad for most readers at and above high school age. There wasn't a moment in the book when I wasn't rooting for the soldiers to survive against the odds. The book follows many individuals. The differences in each character's point of view on the action gives the reader a better look into modern warfare. I recommend this book, since it is one that will keep anyone on the edge of his or her seat. It opens a portal into the horrors of war and doesn't go soft for a single sentence.

Exhausting, informative, thorough, demanding.

I read a fair amount of historical non-fiction and was taught throughout high school to think critically when reading. Check sources, check author's tone, point of the writing, points of view being used, context, and so forth. Apparently Mark Bowden, the author, comes from the same school of thought. He writes a thorough and genuine account of a sadly-ignored incident in US history.I can recall the newspaper accounts of the time, wondering what we were doing there and why, after taking such incredible beatings, we were leaving. Rather than do the research to find out why, Mr. Bowden has compiled this book, which rightfully deserves its place on any historian's bookshelf.Bowden's accounting of the events and context are flawless. His research is uncommonly thorough, and given the opportunity to write the first really comprehensive accounting of the events, he makes the most of it. His attention to detail, his recreation of the timeline, and his notes are worthy of emulation by future students of history.All that is nothing without good writing, and Bowden keeps a reader locked into the story. As hard as some of it is to read because of the imagery and concomitant emotional responses, Bowden leads you through the battles at ground level, at eye level from helicopter platforms, at screen level from command centers. At the end of the book one wonders how you survive the reading; how much worse to have been there in it? I was exhausted mentally, and therein lies the demanding aspect of the book.So much goes on, so many players become involved, that a cheet sheet and glossary of some terms would've helped immensely. Even a cast of characters would've been of some utility, but eventually, I just bore down and focused. Some questions were answered in the notes, others reveal their answers upon later reflection.In all, I daresay adding my review to the nearly 400 others won't make someone any more inclined to buy a 5-star book if they've ignored the other 399 reviewers, but this is my review and I'm sticking to it.

You can't put "Black Hawk Down."

I served 12 years in the Air Force as a Combat Controller (AF Special Forces) and was last assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadrons at Hurlburt Field in Florida. Are motto, "First There, Last Out", pretty much sums up what we did. I have never read a book that more accurately captures the sentiment that a soldier never leaves a man (generic for person) behind...NEVER. It cost the Army 15 additional men, good men, attempting to save the soldiers in the bird that fell that day, but it was worth it. After all, try getting soldiers to fight for their country if they don't believe that their country will risk this much to save them if indeed they fall in combat. Although it has been said many times that we fight for God and country, those of us who have been in combat know that it is God and country that motivate us into battle but it is the man next to us that keeps us there, and keeps us going back in...until no one is left behind. It is for them that these brave soldiers fought and died, not for ideology or a blind sense of duty. What had been portrayed as a series of screw-ups in the media was in actuality nothing of the sort. This book eloquently demonstrates that these soldiers accomplished every bit of their intended mission that day. The only screw-up occurred long before that day, when President Clinton, not unlike President Reagan before him, put our soldiers in harm's way without adequate support and with an untenable mission. This story shows that we can no longer afford to put our people in the middle of a target-rich environment and then shackle them to a rule of engagement that says only shoot when shot at. If a battle is waging and there are people on the rooftops, for instance, you can bet they are not there for shelter...those people are by definition combatants. One need not wait for them to take careful aim and pip off a surface-to-air rocket as they did here. An A-130 gunship would have saved 19 lives that day. It was in the futile attempt to spare innocent lives that these soldiers were sacrificed. Some day the politicians will learn that the military is designed to kill people and break things, not to surgically extract dictators or to carefully glean the subtle nuances between combatant and "casually-dressed woman pulling an AR-15 from a basket." By the time you recognize her as a combatant, you've lost three men.Based on a recommendation, I recently read a book called Operation Pseudo Miranda and was mortified to see another example of politicians placing soldiers (in the war on drugs) in harms way without sufficient support or proper training. Not unlike Black Hawk Down, most of them got dead for their troubles. And not unlike Black Hawk Down, you feel as though you are there and are glad you are not. Read both.

Bowden Captures the Horror of Modern Urban Warfare

So you've never been in combat. Come to Mogadishu. Maybe you're the rear detachment company clerk who was called forward due to an injury. Join the D-Boys and Rangers on a quick raid gone wrong. Fast-rope into a crowded African city on a Sunday afternoon and smell, taste, hear, and touch the reality of true combat. Test your soul; what would you do if you were surrounded by thousands of deadly Somalis only miles from safety in the heart of their territory and there is a BLACK HAWK DOWN? Mark Bowden has taken his award winning series of newspaper articles written for the Philadelphia Inquirer and turned them into a must-read classic for all military professionals. He definitely took a modest assignment and overachieved; we are the beneficiaries. His detailed account of the Battle of the Black Sea (Mogadishu: 3-4 October 1993) is destined to occupy the bookshelves of every military professional or would-be warrior. Devour and enjoy Black Hawk Down. This book is not about your Grandfather or Father's war. This is about modern war involving many soldiers still on active duty. It's not about destroying tanks from 3,000 meters away. It's about close combat when the rules of engagement cease to have relevance and survival requires immediate instinctive response. This book is a crystal ball on future urban warfare and a cautionary note for contentious peacekeeping operations. The devil is in the details and you will not want for details. The gore, frustrations, disagreements, mistrusts, illusions, misconceptions, ramifications, difficulties, cowardice, and heroics are displayed for all to see. Sure there is some hype and inaccuracy, but no interesting microscopic analysis can exist without such blemishes. Seldom has such a discreet tactical operation had such far-reaching strategic consequences. U.S forces in Bosnia can attribute restrictive force protection measures to this battle's legacy. Future strategic, operational, and tactical leaders who do not assimilate the lessons of Mogadishu are in danger of repeating this tragic history. I strongly recommend this book. Learn what Delta Sergeants Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon did to earn the only Medals of Honor awarded for actions during the past quarter-century. Set aside a Sunday afternoon or a long night for continuous consumption. You will not want to put this book down once you start reading it.

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War Mentions in Our Blog

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War in A Veterans Day Reading List
A Veterans Day Reading List
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 10, 2022

Veterans Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have fought to defend our country. One of the best ways for civilians to understand the experiences of military service is to read stories about it. Here are 17 books for a range of ages depicting the experiences of veterans and their families.

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