1st Quarter Outside Reading Book Review
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. Atlantic Monthly Press,1999.
123 U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force and SEAL members commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This lead to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Us forces and hundreds of Somali gunmen, leading to the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. The book focuses on the heroic efforts of various members of the US Forces to get to the downed black hawks. It focuses on Sgt. Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site and Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many of the others who were involved “Terrifyingly Real... Mark Bowden shoves you into the middle of the battle and has you fighting for your life.” said U.S. Army Major David Stockwell.
Mark Bowden does an amazing job of describing the action packed events of October the 3rd 1993. He uses 1st person testimonials from both US and Somali forces to piece together the battle. His writing style reminds me of those in books like We were soldiers, Full metal jacket and Saving Private Ryan although the reality of this book adds to the story that much more. Bowden also uses as many descriptive words that each page could possibly hold. After seeing the movie I didn't think the book could be nearly as good but in my opinion the book is much better because of the historical accuracy and descriptive language Bowden uses.
“Yurek shot one man in a doorway just 10 feet away. The man had stepped out and taken aim. He was a bushy-haired, dusty man with baggy brown pants. He didn't shoot instantly, and that's what killed him. Yurek's eyes met his for an instant as he pulled the trigger. The Somali pitched forward without getting off a shot.
It struck Yurek how similar killing a man was to shooting targets in training. In practice, targets would pop out unexpectedly. The rules were to shoot at blue triangles, but to hold fire if a green square appeared. Now, in actual battle, he had seen a target, identified it, and taken it out. He was grateful for all the tedious hours of training. “
This was the first book by Mark Bowden that I have read but it definitely will not be the last. His descriptive language and historical accuracy gives his books a quality that not many others can replicate. That is why I will seek out another Bowden book for my second quarter ORB.