Already winning acclaim as one of the best accounts of combat ever written, Black Hawk Down is a minute-by-minute, heart-stopping account of the 1993 raid on Mogadishu, Somalia. Late in the afternoon of Sunday, October 3 1993, 140 elite US Soldiers abseiled from helicopters into a teeming market neighbourhood in the heart of the city. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali 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 in a hostile city, fighting for their lives against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. Two of their high-tech helicopters were shot out of the sky. When the unit was rescued the following morning, eighteen American soldiers were dead and more than seventy badly injured. The Somali toll was far worse - more than five hundred killed and over a thousand injured. Authoritative, gripping, and insightful, Black Hawk Down is destined to become a classic of war reporting. It is already the most accurate, detailed account of modern combat ever written.
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 Defense 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 defense 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 nonfiction novel, a lively page-turner that will make readers feel like they're standing beside the embattled troops. This will quickly be realized as a modern military classic. --John J. Miller