[read online pdf] Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern WarAuthor Mark Bowden – Gsagency.co

On October , , About A Hundred US Soldiers Were Dropped By Helicopter Into A Teeming Market In The Heart Of Mogadishu, Somalia, To Abduct Two Top Lieutenants Of A Somali Warlord The Action Was Supposed To Take An Hour Instead, They Spent A Long And Terrible Night Fighting Thousands Of Armed Somalis By Morning, Eighteen Americans Were Dead, And Than Seventy Badly Injured Mark Bowden S Gripping Narrative Is One Of The Most Exciting Accounts Of Modern War Ever Written A Riveting Story That Captures The Heroism, Courage And Brutality Of Battle


10 thoughts on “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

  1. says:

    The book describes, from the ground up, a US attack on the part of Mogadishu controlled by Somali military commander Mohamed Aidid, after Aidid had attacked a UN peacekeeping force They had intended to grab some of his lieutenants it is unclear to me if they intended to grab Aidid himself, an attempt to de fang a local warlord who had been a thorn in the side re the attempt to establish a government in Somalia.Image from BBCThere was a lack of appreciation for the theater conditions and many men were injured or killed The descriptions match in print what the film Private Ryan showed on screen re the bloodiness and horror of actual combat Scattered throughout the book are tidbits that add up to form a vivid image Bowden describes not only the perspective of the American combatants, but of some of the Somali participants as well He informs us that the Italians were providing information to the locals re the American movements He also lets us know something of the complexity of the problem in Somalia, not a simple situation in which a freedom loving people is being subjugated by an evil warlord, but one in which there are many warring factions, each as nasty as the others Most people do not want the kind of peace America envisaged This has obvious lessons for the Balkans, where ethnic hatred has been a participation sport for centuries,and many other areas in which ancient tensions bubble beneath the surface The book details how the Americans were unprepared for some of the enemy tactics, like using Rocket propelled grenades RPG s to attack helicopters, a trick the Afghanistan fighters taught them The battle descriptions show how the locals try to take advantage of American sensibilities by hiding behind women and children hoping the Yanks would not shoot them And it also shows how some devout Moslems were offended by the barbarism of their countrymen.It would have helped to have a map of Somalia, of Mogadishu, particularly a street map to provide some bearings Versions later than the one I read have maps, so that is not a live concern It would also have helped to have section headings to help one keep track of the various groups Bowden follows, as his descriptions darted from group to group There are lessons here re the politics of small engagements, that seem to speak volumes to contemporary warfare, and to the physical tactics as well Things are not so simpleThis book made the Times top ten list.The Ridley Scott directed film that was made of this book is magnificent.Published February 10, 1999Review posted April 7, 2017


  2. says:

    Impressive.Another example of where the film is not even close to how good the book is, this narrative is gripping and very powerful.I had an Army friend who was there in Mogadishu at the time and said that the book was good journalism whereas the film was ridiculous From my perspective, the Captain Steele from the book was Colonel Steele, commander of the 101st Airborne Rakkasans between 2004 and 2006, while I was in Iraq Professional tough guy, former University of Georgia bulldog under Vince Dooley.This is, of course, a journalistic novel by Mark Bowden about the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 Gritty, intense and yet, I think, objective, Bowden s prose is vibrant and descriptive Bowden avoids sensationalism while still capturing the ugliness of an operation gone very wrong and the human costs associated on both sides.


  3. says:

    Black Hawk Down A Story of Modern War gives readers an impressively comprehensive look at the deplorably mismanaged U.S military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia on 3 October 1993 99 American troops, a force comprised predominately of Army Rangers and Delta Force operators, descended on the Bakara Market in order to capture two of Mohamed Farrah Aidid s valued lieutenants Aidid, a former Somali general, was head of the formidable Habr Gidr clan, then in control of the city To the U.S., as well as various other nations, Aidid was nothing than a brutal warlord, a man effectively responsible for starving much of the population to death in his merciless bid for power This snatch and grab mission, expected to take less than an hour, resulted in the ferocious 15 hour Battle of Mogadishu, the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War The soldiers fought off thousands of armed Somalis, confronted by one unanticipated snafu after another, including but certainly not limited to the well coordinated RPG attacks that successfully took down multiple U.S military helicopters Over the course of the fighting, 18 American troops and an indeterminate number of Somali citizens were killed Estimates for Somali fatalities vary widely depending on the source, and range from hundreds to possibly even thousands of people.Bowden presented this engrossing story to readers in what initially felt like a dizzyingly chaotic manner, rapidly shifting back and forth between numerous different eyewitness perspectives Although you do hear from a fair few Somali teenagers, civilians, and even Habr Gidr clansmen, you primarily witness the event through the eyes of the Rangers, Delta soldiers and helicopter pilots From ranking officers to lowly privates, dozens of their personal stories were included.Heightening this sense of disorienting fragmentation, the author frequently interrupted the main narrative to discuss what was, by and large, rather essential background information During these recurrent asides, readers are apprised of the sociopolitical climate in Somalia, America s involvement in the region, the backstories of many of the soldiers, what Ranger training entails, the task force s procedures, tactics, and weapons specifications, and much, much As the story proceeded, these often indispensable details were inserted piecemeal, in a fractured, at times seemingly haphazard fashion So basically, in addition to the aforementioned ever shifting POV of the narrative, readers must also contend with a slew of overwhelming, though immensely illuminating, tangents At first, I found all this jarring and distracting whenever the action was put on hold, I felt irritated and impatient, eager to get back to the story and find out what happened next However, I got used to this approach and even grew to appreciate it relatively quickly While it appeared blurry and bewildering at first, what emerged over time was an assiduously detailed, essentially kaleidoscopic study, replete with a wealth of fascinating, significant facts To give one example of the kind of details I m talking about, here s a helpful tidbit concerning the rifle and ammunition that were used by many of the men His weapon was the most sophisticated infantry rifle in the world, a customized CAR 15, and he was shooting the army s new 5.56 mm green tip round The green tip had a tungsten carbide penetrator at the tip, and would punch holes in metal, but that very penetrating power meant his rounds were passing right through his targets The bullet made a small, clean hole, and unless it happened to hit the heart or spine, it wasn t enough to stop a man in his tracks Howe felt like he had to hit a guy five or six times just to get his attention They used to kid Randy Shughart because he shunned the modern rifle and ammunition and carried a Vietnam era M 14, which shot a 7.62 round without the penetrating qualities of the new green tip It occurred to Howe as he saw those Sammies keep on running that Randy was the smartest soldier in the unit His rifle may have been heavier and comparatively awkward and delivered a mean recoil, but it damn sure knocked a man down with one bullet, and in combat, one shot was often all you got You shoot a guy, you want to see him go down you don t want to be guessing for the next five hours whether you hit him, or whether he s still waiting for you in the weeds Overall, even though the author had no military experience or expertise, he really did his homework for this book, and it showed And, as he pointed out in the epilogue, the battle is an important case study, both in terms of Special Forces missions specifically, and also with respect to American foreign policy in general Bowden s in depth, meticulous depiction was on the whole both absorbing and informative and, as such, was well worth reading.


  4. says:

    I am giving the book a rating of 4.5 I have played the computer game, watched the movie at least a couple of times, and finally got the chance to read the book Trust me, the book is so much better This is not just a booklover speaking the movie was really good, but the book does a much better job of bringing out the human elements, insights into the Somali perspective and the aftermath of the mission.The African nation of Somalia had been ravaged by civil war and a famine had broken out The United Nations had intervened and peacekeeping troops had been deployed to ensure a secure environment to carry out humanitarian operations There were quite a few Somali factions and very powerful among them was the war lord, Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the head of the Habr Gidr clan.The book tells the story of the American mission to capture some Habr Gidr clan members in city of Mogadishu US Army Rangers and the elite Delta Force operatives were sent for this grab and snatch operation which was thought to be pretty simple and expected to be finished within one hour But, the unthinkable happened Two Black Hawk Helicopters were shot down by RPGs and the situation escalated into the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War The American soldiers found themselves fighting with thousands of armed Somalis, trapped in a city where everyone is potential threat Reinforcements and rescue were late, and the Americans had to survive on their own America lost eighteen of her soldiers while the Somali death toll was in hundreds.The book is a non fiction account of a military operation, yet it reads like a war fiction The writing is so engrossing that I felt I was transported to Somalia and witnessing the events The author wrote a gripping account and did not try to sensationalize it In between describing the fighting, the author would provide the back stories of the US soldiers, the political climate of Somalia, and the experiences of a few Somalis The narration keeps shifting back and forth between the experiences of many characters What I liked best was the inclusion of the Somali perspective, some insights into why the Americans were the enemy to so many Somalis, what was the aftermath of this mission.I appreciate the honesty and sincerity of the author he has unequivocally acknowledged that he is no expert on military matters Yet, this book is in the curriculum of army schools, and the author had been invited to talk in military seminars It shows what good a job he has done in writing this book.I understand that this book is not meant for everybody It shows war and violence in its naked ruthlessness The blood that had been split was real, and the people who died were real If you like reading military non fiction books, then I would strongly urge you to give this one a try.


  5. says:

    Okay, first of all, I am not usually the person that likes war type books But, I have wanted to read this book for awhile I remember when this actually happened, but being a freshman in high school, I had bigger things going on Throughout this book, I kept asking myself who are these guys It amazes me what wonderful guys are serving my country I had to giggle when a group of men were holed up in a shack with many of the Somalians closing in on them, blood was seeping everywhere from everyone Stebbins who s foot has a golf ball size piece of metal in it is given a pain killer and a gun to protect out the window Medic says Here s a gun, you can guard this window okay says Stebbins But as your health care professional, I feel I should warn you that narcotics and fire arms don t mix I did cry get choked up throughout this book, either because of what was going on at the time and or hearing first hand accounts Then at the end, when the author is talking about how people quickly forgot what had happend there and brushed it under the carpet with a new and exciting news cycle, This book is written for them I actual cried Their bravery and selflessness of our military is outstanding, and I can t tell you how proud I am of each and everyone of them.


  6. says:

    If Black Hawk Down was a war novel, it would definitely have a place among the very best of that genre Written with such intensity, this military history volume by journalist Mark Bowden, brilliantly captures every minute moments from one of the longest modern day infantry engagements When American soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the Bakara market right in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3 1993 for a supposedly easy in and out abduction mission they had no idea that they were going to be part of one of the most terrible, long and sustained close combat firefights since Vietnam war The mission was straightforward abduct two top brass lieutenants of the self proclaimed president to be Mohamed Farrah Aidid from a building in Bakara Market After careful planning and recon the mission was given to a joint group of soldiers consisting of the U.S Army Rangers from Bravo Company, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta and Air Force men and helicopters from 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment But the dynamics of engagement changed right from the start of the mission as the fluidity and unpredictability of battlefield took over and blew away best laid operational plans resulting in a mission which was thought of as a cake walk turn horribly wrong with two UH 60 Black Hawk helicopters shot down and the troops pinned down with heavy armed resistance from Somali militiamen loyal to Aidid A mission, that was believed to be over in a couple hours turned into a long and bloody night battle right in the middle of an urban market teeming with thousands of armed Somalis and civilians The trapped raiding party finally had to be rescued by a relief convoy made up of elements from Task Force 2 14 Infantry and 10th Mountain Division, accompanied by Malaysian and Pakistani U.N forces When the battle was over the causalities among the Somalis where over 2000 with a lot of civilians among them and of the initial raiding force 18 American soldiers were dead, with than 70 badly injured and one of the Black Hawk pilots captured by Aidid s men Of the rescue forces one Pakistani soldier and one Malaysian soldier got killed in the action The fallout from this engagement was far reaching as this incident forced the Clinton administration to totally withdraw American troops from Somalia The book by Bowden is a result of inspecting and studying mountains of official reports, investigation snapshots and even transcripts of communications between combat troops and conducting hundreds of exhaustive interviews with the participants from both side this adds to the level of detailing that is placed into the narrative and it s authenticity Black Hawk Down tells the realistic tale of this modern day infantry combat with such vigor and brutally shocking honesty It also will give the reader insights into the local international politics surrounding the events, which led to the engagement at Bakara Market and how a supposed peacekeeping mission by UN in Somalia escalated into an armed conflict If you have already seen the Black Hawk Down movie, even then give this book a try and you will be amazed with the power of written words as Bowden captures each and every moment of the engagement happening in both air and ground with such vividness For me the book made a lot powerful impact than the movie.


  7. says:

    First an apology I ve accidentally reviewed this book with two stars two years ago Not sure why I got confused Anyway, I ve done unjustice to a really excellent work of history and military biography, and now it is time to correct this.So please disregard any comments and thoughts on my behalf before Oct 2, 2017.Now, the actual review A fantastic book.Spectacular narrative, lots of personal touches, and we learn about the soldiers who fought, their fears and frustrations, their ideas and ideology, their creed, their friends, how they felt through the battle Situations go from ridiculous jacking escapades including parachute harnesses and walking the dawg to introspective how Delta Force soldiers felt about the situation, and how Howe hated everything, from Capt Steer to his armor piercing ammunition to the casual attitude of the Rangers toward the general situations to dreadful the deaths of Smith and Pella and Joyce The combat feels dirty and exhausting, as it should be The situation is hectic and chaotic The officers are obstinate and confused The soldiers are happy, mad or frightened.It is also a thousand times better than the movie After all, the movie is a Hollywood production, so it must cater to the masses Drama but not too much drama as to deject and depress the audience The cinematic spin actually takes away from some of the heroism and deep personal dilemmas that the Rangers and Delta Force operatives fighting in Mogadishu faced that day.The book also shows us the other side of this coin not just the raw battle The Somali perspective, the thoughts and the anguish of the families and the widows back in the US, the political fiasco behind the involvement, Mike Durrant s ordeal in captivity It s not just gung ho shooting and blasting heavy guns.All in all, this is one of the pleasing combat narratives I ve read It s sad, poignant, impressive, silly, and most importantly, extremely well written You enjoy the story, and you care for the protagonists, politics and all that nonsense notwithstanding A soldiers tale.Highly recommended.Igor


  8. says:

    This is one of those great books that you can t put down it reads like a novel, a fast paced narrative that can sometimes make you forget that it s a true life drama where real people die I enjoyed reading this book and it s nice to see an honest appraisal of a stuffed up mission, which was no fault of the men on the ground This is a well presented account of the men of the US Army Rangers and Delta Force troops involved in a mission to capture a pair of high ranking deputies to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid In the end a number of their MH 60 Black Hawk helicopters had been shot down and they were surrounded in a hostile city on the verge of being overrun This is the sort of book that all soldiers and politicians should read for different reasons Well done to the author and the men involved


  9. says:

    Expertly done in so many ways.The chief drawback so many of the characters were interchangeable, it became very hard to keep them straight each time we returned to one.


  10. says:

    The movie is a gore fest, but the book chronicles all the background intricacies that you can t find in a movie of course One highlight for me When I finished reading the book, my son, who was in Iraq at the time, told me he had met one of the men who survived this incident However, he also told me he met this man as he was being flown out for a cancer checkup This man who had escaped this brutal attack had cancer two years later After surviving that, he went on to go back into the Army and was a leader in the early days of the Iraq Occupation One sad note He was killed when the Medivac helicopter taking him to his cancer checkup in Baghdad was shot down in November 2003 My son was the last person to see him alive on the groundhe helped to load him into the helicopter This book will always be a memorial to him.