Customer Reviews for

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 280 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2006

    Awesome Book!

    This book made me fully realize why soldiers actually suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. As a teen, I lived through the Vietnam era and lost a few friends there, but never really understood the fears they went through. I've never read a more comprehensive book explaining details of war. Including these soldiers' lives and family stories made it heart-wrenching and so real. Absolutely the best-written book I've ever read!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    A Great Book on Modern War

    As a frequent gamer of historical military-based video games, I was initially drawn to Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden. Moreover, because of the book's association with modern warfare and weaponry on which some of my games are based, I felt an immediate connection with the subject matter.
    What I especially found intriguing was the thorough description of the mission. I appreciated the inclusion of maps of the area and locations of buildings and units. Even though the story frequently switched its focus from one situation to the next (which I did not enjoy) the maps did make the account of the mission a lot less confusing. I also enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the combat, making the intensity and perspective more believable. Overall, the accounts from a first-person perspective were equally matched with intricate detail that only a soldier in the field could even attempt to recount.
    As mentioned earlier, the downside in recounting each of the battle conflicts was the obvious skipping around between the different fight scenes which definitely made the mission harder to follow. Also, the account could be difficult to understand especially if the reader did not have a background in military lingo, terminology, weapons, and vehicles prior to their reading. On the other hand, being a story about modern war, one should have some knowledge before attempting to read a military genre in the first place.
    I would recommend this book to any high school student interested in history or modern warfare. The book, while explicit about the soldiers' insecurities and bloody casualties, could be enlightening about the United States involvement in foreign countries in which we don't always fully understand their internal conflicts. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that most high school students are awed by the United States military's training and readiness, but this account presents the other side of the coin whereby even a rag-tag team of rebels can find weakness and cause havoc and casualties in a military setting.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Elite American soldiers in harrowing modern street combat

    Having seen the movie, I decided to read the book. And it is much more detailed and provides a lot more background info than the movie had time for. With close to 100 American Rangers and Delta Force soldiers involved in the early hours of combat, the book does a surprisingly good job of covering each fighting group's experiences. Unlike the movie, it also provides background info on and perspective of some of the Somalian fighters engaged. Essentially, the American contigent of Delta and Rangers was given the White House-initiated mission of capturing the de facto ruler of Mogadishu (Mog) and former Somali general, Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Over the preceding two months in Mog, this team (led by Gen. Garrison) had completed five other snatch and grab missions. They managed to capture some of Aidid's key lieutenants, but always missed collaring Aidid himself. On this, their sixth, mission things went badly wrong. I have a very strong suspicion that Garrison's team fell into a monstrous ambush orchestrated by Aidid. I'll leave it to the other reviewers to describe the frantic and relentless combat that the Delta/Ranger team had to face. This team had a nearly impossible mission recklessly dictated by policians ignorant of the extremely adverse odds in Mog. The team's ability to extract itself from a potential overwhelming disaster confirms the strength of their moral and mental discipline. Also vindicated is the use of their body armor and ceramic plates. Less reassuring was the political leadership, unit discipline, and inter-Allied coordination. With over 12 years of hindsight, it is hard to imagine why the US ever placed troops in Mog in the first place. (Read the Weinberger Doctrine that should have been followed.) I highly recommend the book. Mark Bowden, the author, did an outstanding job in capturing the personalities, the frenetic combat, and the unremitting danger this brave, elite team faced. (After reading the book, I am truly in awe of the Delta Force operators.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    No man left behind

    This is a story of the heroic acts of valor that take place in Mogadishu Somalia in the year 1993. The mission was to be short and only take hours get in get out. The men of the special operations forces Army Rangers and Delta force snipers did not see the fight that was about to unfold. Their mission was to go into Bekara Market and Capture war lords that were murdering millions of Somalia’s. The war lords were captured and brought back to base. Then things took a drastic turn when a Black hawk helicopter took fire and plummeted to the ground right in the middle of Bekara Market on of the most hostile environments in the world at the time. This is the start to the 18 hour battle of courage and the special operations motto no man left behind.
    Black Hawk Down starts off a little dry because it spends a good 5 chapters giving you an introduction to why we are in Somalia to begin with. But after that Mark Bowden jumps right into action. The story is a fantastic well rounded book with moments that will make you laugh, cry, and want to fight alongside the brave men. The story shows actions that men made in order to save the lives of their fellow brothers in arms that will inspire you. It is a book that will not be easy to put down. Mark Bowden did a great job pulling me into the book you really develop emaciations for the soldiers. This caused me to want to keep reading in order to know there fate. I found myself reading the lengthy book in a much less time then I estimated.
    The book has fantastic photos it has a whole chapter of real pictures from the battle and also of all the soldiers. They really help bring the book to life in your mind. Black Hawk Down will keep you hooked right until the end. It is a long book that seems short what I mean by this is that you will find yourself reading it rather quick very hard to put down. If you like war story’s Black Hawk Down is a must read. I would also recommend it to anyone that enjoys stories of bravery and honor.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2007

    Black Hawk Down

    When a group of U.S. Army Rangers realizes that getting out of Mogadishu, Somalia, will be very hard, a short mission turns into a very long escape. After the task force Rangers capture two enemy militiamen in Mogadishu, they are on their way out when two of their helicopters get shot out of the sky. The Rangers and Delta Team work all day and night to save the crews in the copters. After a full day, they finally make it out of Mogadishu. This story, told in Black Hawk Down, is an exciting thriller that takes you into the heat of war. Black Hawk Down has some very sad parts. At one point, a Ranger named Blackburn is not used to the weight of his new gun, so he lands wrong when descending from the helicopter. He has many broken bones and almost dies. Another time, a man named Smith gets shot in the thigh. The medics can¿t stop the bleeding, and after about four hours, he dies. The saddest part of all is when you learn of the hundreds of Somalians and Americans dead or wounded in the hospital. The book is nonstop action. A lost convoy of three humvees makes its way through Mogadishu while getting shot at from all directions. Two Delta team members try to rescue a crashed helicopter without any backup. A group of rangers is attacked by a small group of Samalians with Rocket Propelled Grenades. There are many surprising twists in the plot. One time, the Rangers are supposed to be rescued by a helicopter, but it gets shot down before it can reach them. Another time, some of the Rangers get out of Mogadishu, only to find they have to go right back in to help other Rangers escape. At one point the Rangers drop like dominoes when they are getting shot at by many Somalians. Black Hawk Down is a really cool book. You learn about a real battle that took place about fifteen years ago. You also get to learn about different people that fought in the battle. Black Hawk Down is a great book that I recommend to all people who love action and adventure.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Black Hawk Down

    I read a little of everything, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. This is one of my favorite books. I've read my paperback copy literally to shreds and plan on adding it to my Nook library so I can experience it again. Impeccably researched and skillfully written, this reads more like a thriller than a true story; it's a page-turner. I would recommend this title to anyone who has an interest in history, the military, modern warfare or just a deep appreciation for excellent storytelling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Just got no easy day by mark owen

    This book was acually mentioned in NED and i wanted to check it out. Saw some of the movie and it was sad

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Book

    How many pages is in the book? I'm as we speak watching the movie but I know they leave a lot of stuff out and the book is more detailed. I want to know before spending $10.00.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    So cool its unbelivable

    AWOSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Loved it

    This book was fantastic. It depicted modern war in a way different of any. Any lover of war books should definitely read this. The movie is also great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Awsomw!!!

    Great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Absolutely amazing

    Better than the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Black hawk down

    This avery good book to read. Gives a good account of what happen during this time in modern war

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    gripping account, excellent read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    Good Read

    I normally don't read war books, but this was a real page turner. Now, I'd like to see the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    The story behind the movie

    Like many, or perhaps most, my first in-depth exposure to the events that happened during our troops' time in Mogadishu, Somalia, was the movie by the same title. I had heard the news, but shrugged and went on with life, never knowing the amazing events that had occurred.

    The book is excellent, and it's clear that Bowden did a ton of research, spoke to as many people as he could who were involved, and those gritty, gruesome details are what make this read so much more than a dry recitation of facts.

    I was struck by not only how the movie changed many facts around, itself not much of a surprise, but how it did so for reasons quite beyond me. I won't go into the details, not wanting to spoil any of the book for those who haven't read it yet, but I found myself asking many time, "Why did they not show that accurately in the movie." For this reason alone it would be worth reading the book, and while the movie was dramatic the book is even more so for being true.

    The only thing I think I would have liked to have seen would have been a glossary of terms, a list of the soldiers and their units/organizations, and perhaps having the diagrams located centrally in an appendix. The book also contained a limited number of photos, and thought I don't know what quality they were when they were printed I do know in the Nook they were very poor (no way to zoom either, and the pics were very small).

    In general, this is an excellent read, and an amazing tribute to the men in the Special Forces.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Mad Firefight in Detail

    If you've seen the movie, you need to read the book now to flesh out the ill-advised, ill-conceived and ill-fated military arrest raid into Mogadishu. If you haven't seen the movie either, watch it, then read this book. Mark Bowden did tons of research in order to piece together the events as they happened on that day. The Rangers and Special Forces (Delta Force) operators involved in that arrest raid and subsequent SHTF firefight experienced combat at a level of intensity and ferocity probably unseen by American foot soldiers since the Tet Offensive or, more likely, the Korean War. Bowden's investigative reporting, collected into one cohesive narrative, brings to mind Cornelius Ryan's work on famous operations of WWII. The overlapping point-of-view of multiple participants in modern battle is similar to Henry Brown's Hell and Gone (though this is non-fiction). Why our armed forces were in Somalia is just as valid a question as why our troops are in Iraq now. But this is not a book about policies and politics...it's about men in combat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    Black Hawk Down

    This book was great. Mark did a great job of getting research. He went around to many people who were involved with the war. It didn't matter what side they were on. He got statements for Somali fighters and American fighters. The writing however was not my favorite. He jumped time periods and had many little battles going on at once so it was hard to figure out what was going on. He also used very specific names and it was hard to figure out who was who. It was a nice touch to put into the book, but I would have liked it to be a little vague so I wouldn't have had to keep flipping pages in order to remember who was who. This book was very original in the sense that it was the first book written about this battle. Mark is a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and was captivated by this battle. When he found out that nobody else had written a book on it he immediately started brainstorming. Another original touch were the little stories of the people involved. Like I said before, it was a nice touch, but he could have cleaned it up a bit and made it easier to know what was going on and keep in in chronological order. The balance was nice because the movie was based off of this novel. This made reading the book very easy to comprehend in terms of the general idea and some of the main characters. Due to this the interior images, or imagery, I encountered while reading the book was fierce because I was imagining the movie in my mind as I read it. The book was very touching and since he used actual names it really got to me and hit me on a personal level. The book was obviously inspirational as it is a war-based book and that always brings inspiration due to the bravery and valor of the soldiers. This was a great book and it worked great for my book report for my government class because of the role of Congress (called off further action against Aidid) and President Clinton (gave Aidid the ultimatum of either giving up the pilot or facing a decimation on the city).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Heroic, Stoic, and Epic

    America was in the midst of a world war; against Terrorism. We were the epicenter of help and goodwill. Whether it was a responsibilty or a bad move, we spread our forces throughout the world trying to stem the tide of evil that was washing over it. "There's not to make reply/There's not to reason why/There's but to do and die." (Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade)
    This is the sentiment that is found within this riveting and sensational novel. The boys are out doing their job, fighting and dying for causes far greater and admirable than the ones plastered all over the news. How about the story of two Delta snipers who blatantly give their lives for to prolong the life of when of their pilots.
    You will fight and die with these men as they face a whole country full of people who hate Americans. You will be with them as a 45 minute long operation turns into a day long dilemma, eventually fighting to just survive. You won't forget these men as they become immortalized in your mind for their actions and memorialized in your heart for their bravery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    Good Book

    Black Hawk Down was a very good book in my opinion. It tells the complete story of October 3rd, 1993. Mark Bowden found a topic that not many Americans want to look back on and therefore had not written a detailed account of it. I have always had an interest in warfare so the detail in which he describes what happened pulled me in until the very word. I did think the way the chapters flipped from person to person could have been made a little bit more understandable but it wasn't beyond being figured out. The most interesting part of the story to me was when the mixed unit of Rangers and Delta operators were pinned down over night and the valiant rescue mission forged to save them. Another reason this book is so powerful is because it happened so recently. It was just over ten years ago while most great war books are about the wars of our grandfathers which are drilled into us so well that we become bored of them. This recent conflict is a conflict of a generation much closer to our own. The technologies that we still use today were used when this happened which adds another interest factor. I guess the main point is that all that is being talked about in this book is still relevant and understood today. In 30 or 40 years everything in this book will be old news. All the things that we found so interesting will be considered old. The technologies will be overshadowed by more sophisticated and efficient killing machines. We should consider this fact when we push this book on future generations. The children on tomorrow will know nothing of the Clinton Presidency or anything of this time period. To me it was an inspiring book which i thoroughly enjoyed reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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