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Black Hawk Down | [Mark Bowden]

Black Hawk Down

Ninety-nine elite American soldiers are trapped in the middle of a hostile city. As night falls, they are surrounded by thousands of enemy gunmen. Their wounded are bleeding to death. Their ammunition and supplies are dwindling. This is the story of how they got there - and how they fought their way out. Black Hawk Down drops you into a crowded marketplace in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia with the U.S. Special Forces and puts you in the middle of the most intense firelight American soldiers have fought since the Vietnam war.
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Publisher's Summary

Ninety-nine elite American soldiers are trapped in the middle of a hostile city. As night falls, they are surrounded by thousands of enemy gunmen. Their wounded are bleeding to death. Their ammunition and supplies are dwindling. This is the story of how they got there - and how they fought their way out. This is the story of war.

Black Hawk Down drops you into a crowded marketplace in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia with the U.S. Special Forces and puts you in the middle of the most intense firelight American soldiers have fought since the Vietnam war.

Late in the afternoon of Sunday, October 3, 1993, the soldiers of Task Form Ranger were sent on a mission to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade 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, locked in a desperate struggle to kill or be killed.

When the unit was finally rescued the following morning, 18 American soldiers were dead and dozens more badly injured. The Somali toll was far worse; more than five hundred felled and over a thousand wounded. Award-winning literary journalist Mark Bowden's dramatic narrative captures this harrowing ordeal through the eyes of the young men who fought that day. He draws on his extensive interviews of participants from both sides - as well as classified combat video and radio transcripts - to bring their stories to life.

Authoritative, gripping, and insightful, Black Hawk Down is a riveting look at the terror and exhilaration of combat destined to become a classic of war reporting.

©1999 Mark Bowden (P)2012 Simon and Schuster

What the Critics Say

"Black Hawk Down ranks as one of the best books ever written about infantry combat." (The New York Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (147 )
5 star
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4.6 (133 )
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4.4 (131 )
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Iain Clinton, CT, United States 03-29-12
    Iain Clinton, CT, United States 03-29-12 Member Since 2008

    Bookworm, historian, and writer.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Modern Classic"

    Black Hawk Down is one of the great combat narratives of modern times and a tribute to the courage of the men who fought and died in Somalia. Alan Sklar does the book justice with his precise narration. One of my all time favorite books.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 04-16-13
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 04-16-13 Member Since 2007

    Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent "page turner""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, You can't put it down.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There aren't really characters, they are real people who were interviewed.

    The Delta people are the most interesting.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the cooks, secretaries, mechanics, etc loaded up and headed into Mogadishu. Good reminder of how everyone in the military is ultimately a soldier.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 12-18-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 12-18-13 Member Since 2010

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Short Operation Turns Long and Costly"

    The mission, Task Force Ranger, occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia. The mission was to take an hour. The afternoon sun was shining. Therefore, equipment such as night time goggles, canteens filled with water, extra ammunition, etc., were not taken. The quick capture of two high ranking lieutenants from a renegade warlord went from one hour, to the most intense battle since the Vietnam war. The year was 1993. There were 99 men who survived, 18 were dead and dozens injured. The survivors were pinned down over night in a ferocious fight for their lives.

    Their mission was successful until a black hawk was downed and the soldiers from the Army, Marine Corps and the US Special Forces had to go back to find the Black Hawk and the men who were on the helicopter.

    Three soldier's, while fighting in Vietnam, were taken by the North Vietnamese as prisoner's of war. Two of the men were killed and dragged through the streets of North Vietnam, showing the American's just how hated they were. The incident was televised over and over. The third American was rescued by the Special Forces and brought home to the US. He had been severely beaten by his captors. This is when the American military assured themselves and their fellow American's, they would never again leave one of their comrades behind.

    The author, Mark Bowden, was a literary journalist. He has written, in my opinion, one of the best books about any real-time action that the US has been involved in. I have read many true accounts concerning the US and war. He extensively interviewed the participants from both sides. The combat had been videoed and Bowden was supplied with this classified information as well as the radio transcripts.

    The mission, a supposed snatch and grab operation, turned into a war. The US had gone into Somalia many times and completed their missions quickly. However, this time the Somalian people of Mogadishu took up arms and fought back in a way such as never before.

    The character's were indeed well developed. The cadence of the narrator read like a song. The book was definitely an edge of the seat listen. The book was a two day listen for me. The book, Black Hawk Down, was exceptionally good from start to finish. Don't hesitate buying the book. I know that you will not be disappointed. I hope that you experience the quality of the book as much as I did. I've never seen the movie but I think I'm satisfied having listened to the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Las cruces, NM, United States 12-24-12
    Frank Las cruces, NM, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Awesome book"
    What made the experience of listening to Black Hawk Down the most enjoyable?

    The way the author was able to tell both sides of the story


    What did you like best about this story?

    The honesty of the story. All the heroic things plus the mistakes of war


    What about Alan Sklar’s performance did you like?

    Some of the accents were ridiculous


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Braunstein Levittown, NY United States 11-22-12
    Jim Braunstein Levittown, NY United States 11-22-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book about modern combat"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Hawk Down to be better than the print version?

    I was only "satisfied" with the performance by the reader.


    Did Alan Sklar do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Mr Sklar did a reasonably good job but it was difficult differentiating some of the characters


    If you could give Black Hawk Down a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Leave no man behind


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 09-25-12
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 09-25-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Gritty, exhaustive."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Hawk Down to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version but don't see how it could be better.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Feeling "with" the soldiers as they were under attack.


    What does Alan Sklar bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A masculine, military-like voice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, anger at politics in war. Disconnect between those on the ground and those in D.C.


    Any additional comments?

    One can mention prostitution without naming each particular sex act and position, and one can write a book on war without using a MULTITUDE of F----k's and blasphemies.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet HOUSTON, TX, United States 05-21-12
    Janet HOUSTON, TX, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2011

    book hog

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    "Excellent,"
    What made the experience of listening to Black Hawk Down the most enjoyable?

    Very informative regarding this war. I felt sorry for both U.S. and Somalia.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Errors made by U.S.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Milwaukee, WI, United States 08-05-13
    Mark Milwaukee, WI, United States 08-05-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A good listen"

    It's worth a listen. It covers a lot of material that the movie either missed, or wasn't practical to include in the movie format. It's also very complicated. There are a lot of characters that the author discusses. The timeline and chronology of events is pretty confusing in some parts. It's also difficult to understand some of it without looking at a map diagram of the battle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Swihart Waynesburg, Ohio United States 07-21-12
    Justin Swihart Waynesburg, Ohio United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Hawk Down to be better than the print version?

    That's hard to tell because that depends on the individual. But the narrator was very good and the book was so well written that you can actually visualize everything happening during the special forces soldiers operation in Mogadishu.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Government Camp, OR, United States 01-03-13
    Dan Government Camp, OR, United States 01-03-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Almost as good as mike Durants book"
    Would you listen to Black Hawk Down again? Why?

    To remind myself the bad decisions of congress


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mike Durant


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Nothing


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really


    Any additional comments?

    Great listen. This should submit my opinion but u got no easy way to submit it where's the button?

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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