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Extended Audio Sample Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, 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 (19,251 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Bowden Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I can’t remember having read such good reporting of a combat engagementJournalistic writing at its best.”

    Boston Globe

  • “In effective New Journalism style, Bowden projects the individual soldier’s thinking: his pride in his elite training, his surprise at the strangeness of combat, his determination to hold out until rescue, and, in two instances, his pure self-sacrificial heroism. An account impossible to stop reading, especially for those with army associations.”


  • Alan Sklar draws us into the tragic 18-hour nightmare. His husky voice can boom or whisper, expressing confidence, doubt, horror, and outrage. He never hams, never overplays his hand. The tragedy is read as written, with exquisite care and boundless passion.  


  • “This account offers a look at modern war in the tradition of the great war correspondents. Gripping, passionate, and impossible to put down.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Nonfiction
  • A 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rob | 1/24/2014

    " Great book. Tells the true story of the American involvement in the Somalia civil war when two blackhawk helicopters were shot down while on a mission in the captial city of Mogadishu. While I'm a huge Ridley Scott fan and I did love the movie, the book is, of course, even better, largely because it tells the story of the young men from a more personal angle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dave Gray | 1/23/2014

    " On top of reading list.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dylan Antila | 1/21/2014

    " The book Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden tells the heroic story of American courage at it's finest. Within the book it tells the mission to capture two high ranking officials in a high ranking Somalian clan. The mission was supposed to take an hour, but as soon as the first team repelled from the black hawks, everything went to hell. As the author puts it, "Now nothing was going to be easy." (Bowden, 90). The entire book is explained through that single quote,the mission went on a downward spiral of disaster from the beginning as well, from one man dying before the mission even went underway to two black hawk helicopters being shot down. Mr. Bowden explains the bravery that all of the rangers and other military soldiers had adjust to, to keep each other alive. This novel is the pinnacle personal statement for American military bravery because of the immense struggle these soldiers dealt with. I gave this novel 4 stars because of the compelling true story, and how the author describes how it unfolded from many different perspectives. Finally I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys war related novels, and especially modern era war stories, because if you enjoy a gripping war story this is it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ko | 1/10/2014

    " This story is gripping, and I enjoyed reading it, although the actual writing wasn't great. The movie and book are surprisingly similar to each other. "

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