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Extended Audio Sample Black Hawk Down Audiobook, by Mark Bowden Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (19,303 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Bowden Narrator: Joe Morton Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 1999 ISBN: 9780743542036
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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 US 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 was send 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, eighteen 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.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “I can't remember having read such good reporting of a combat engagement…Journalistic writing at its best.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Terrifyingly real…Mark Bowden shoves you into the middle of this fierce battle and has you fighting for your life.”

    US Army Major David Stockwell, spokesman for Task Force Ranger

  • “A riveting, up-close account of the most intensive, hand-to-hand combat by US soldiers since Vietnam. In their own words, Mark Bowden has captured the heroism, honor, and horror of the battle of Mogadishu for both Americans and Somalis.”

    United States Ambassador Robert Oakley (Ret.), author of Somalia and Operation Restore Hope 

  • “A fascinating, blow-by-blow account of the Mogadishu raid that went wrong and cost the lives of so many brave American warriors …Meticulous reporting.”

    Joseph L. Galloway, coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young

  • “The only thing more phenomenal than the depth of reporting in Black Hawk Down is the quality of the writing. Mark Bowden is a brilliant storyteller.”

    Jim Naughton, president of the Poynter Institute for Journalism

  • “Bowden [has] produced one of the finest pieces of investigative journalism of our time…[You] can feel, hear, smell, and even taste it.” 

    Lt. Col. L. H. “Bucky” Burruss, US Army (Ret.), author of Mike Force, A Mission for Delta, and Clash of Steel

  • “I did not ‘read’ Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down … I devoured it. It is a compelling tale of noble endeavor gone awry, written with such clarity and insight that the reader quivers as if trapped in the desperate, close-quarters firefight Bowden's gifted narrative brings to life.”

    Benjamin F. Schemmer, editor-in-chief, Strategic Review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Nonfiction
  • A 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 T.M. Mullin | 2/5/2014

    " I had watched the movie and had a hard time figuring out exactly what happened to whom. The fog of war was definitely incorporated into the script. The book was, of course, much clearer and provided the political background, including why the Somali's were so distrustful of the U.N. troops. Bowden is a good writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 1/24/2014

    " Excellent book about modern warfare. It may be about an incident almost 20 years ago, but a lot of it still rings true today. A very personal look at different soldiers. I read the book over 10 years ago, and this time I listened to the audio version. I think I enjoyed it and understood it much more this time around. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Holt | 8/16/2013

    " Amazing insights into the horrors of modern war and the mental and physical challenges men face in the toughest of times. Brilliantly written and researched. A modern classic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clayton Rohman | 7/21/2013

    " Unfortunately I read this after watching the movie so I knew almost every story line, but as a fan of stories about war, this is a horrific look at modern war and an eye opening view at how different each side of the world is.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barry Urry | 7/17/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The only parts that Bowden could have done away with, were the descriptions of the soldiers' masturbation contests. He recounts an incident where two soldiers are under fire, and one of them proposes that they do a "combat jack." In other words, masturbating while they're fighting. I didn't think this kind of stuff was necessary to describe. I'm sure these two men weren't the first or the last to do this, but I really don't want to know about it, nor do I care. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drake Anaya | 7/8/2013

    " This book really humanizes the Battle of the Black Sea - both sides of the conflict - much more than the film was able to accomplish. The total sense of chaos is conveyed expertly, while organized enough to be easy for the reader to follow. Because it was written by someone with zero military experience (as the author himself puts it), it's not too dense or technical for a layperson to understand. It's gritty and violent in a respectful but realistic way. One of the most tasteful "war stories" books I've read, just telling the story instead of delving into political commentary. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chrissy | 5/14/2013

    " This is one of the best military books about a specific battle I've ever read because of it's comprehensive coverage. What I mean by that is that it gives you viewpoints from everyone from a young private to a general to a company clerk to the most elite soldiers the U.S. has to members of the opposing force. This is a must read for all U.S. military personnel "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi | 5/7/2013

    " This was a great read. Obviously a little gory and has some F words (not as many as I thought their's be) and also sad, because its a true story. But I really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ozzy | 1/22/2013

    " Excellent narrative about the battle of Mogadishu. The author does a great job in bringing out the feelings and thoughts of the soldiers involved in this battle and gives you a real picture about what when through the eyes and minds of the soldiers involved in this battle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 8/22/2012

    " A riveting account of the battle of Mogadishu as told by an investigative reporter who went to great lengths to get perspectives from both sides of the battle. Don't let the movie influence you, this book is a fantastic account of modern warfare. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gordon | 5/3/2012

    " Better than the movie; good look at what the Army terms "Asymmetric Warfare." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sylvia | 3/13/2012

    " Very affecting, the wide range of personal perspectives (rangers, D-boys, commanders, pilots, medics, politicians, family, Somali gang members, and Somali innocents) made the story fuller, more round. It was so descriptive; I definitely got a sense of the "fog of war." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Douglas Laird | 1/16/2012

    " A very difficult book to read from a tactical view. God bless them all and all the loved ones left behind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lyn | 9/11/2011

    " Another example of where the film is not even close to how good the book is, this narrative is gripping and very powerful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 RunRachelRun | 8/4/2011

    " Another modern classic - you need to read it to understand America in all its purity and conniving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carlos | 5/19/2011

    " it was a realy good book

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 4/30/2011

    " One of the best books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abhishek | 4/12/2011

    " Well, This is not a fiction book. It is a true story!!

    Warning: Don't read if you are expecting no causalities war. Lots of bloodshed, Lots of truth in how a true mission is and how life of soldier in war would be like.

    with warm regards "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 4/4/2011

    " A truly gritty account of the terrible conditions on the ground in that lawless country and what happened to those men on the ground "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michaella | 4/3/2011

    " A little confusing because there were so many characters, but very well written and interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian | 3/14/2011

    " so epic

    it deserves more than 5 stars "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 3/9/2011

    " A super fast fantastic read. I could not put this book down! The entire time I wa reading this I role played out the characters in my mind and kept thinking that this is a book of actual events! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Btgosney | 3/3/2011

    " Fun, violent, true, American. That's it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 2/23/2011

    " Best war writing ever: The part where the medic has to reach up into the soldier's leg to feel around for his femoral artery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Billy | 2/17/2011

    " finished it in 3 days and 3 nights. only stopped reading to sleep. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mrsbee35 | 2/12/2011

    " Unbelievably incredible book. So sad these heroes lost their lives serving our country. "

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About the Author
Author Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is the author of Road Work, Finders Keepers, Killing Pablo, Bringing the Heat, Doctor Dealer, and Black Hawk Down, which was nominated for a National Book Award. A number of his books have been made into movies, including Money for Nothing, Killing Pablo, and the blockbuster hit Black Hawk Down. He worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and is currently a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in the Philadelphia area.

About the Narrator

Joe Morton is a winner of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards for audiobook narration. A graduate of Hofstra University’s drama program, he has an extensive list of film and television credits, including Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Speed, Smallville, and Eureka. He made his Broadway debut in Hair and was nominated for a Tony Award for the musical Raisin. In 2014 he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Scandal.