Thursday, December 10, 2009

Second Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. Mark Bowden, 1999
Genre: Nonfiction

Black Hawk Down is a stimulating account of the events that occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. Bowden depicts that fateful day in full including all of the unfortunate events in an extremely graphic manner. When a simple snatch and grab goes awry no one knows what is going to happen in Bakara Market.

“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.”

Bowden truly spoke to me in this book. I have watched many war movies and books overflowing with violence of bloody battles, but by far Black Hawk Down is the best. One of the main reasons this holds true is because it really happened. Because of this he can not twist or bend the truth in any way. Not only this, but he chooses not to omit any part of the battle. Instead of omitting all the bloody scenes and creating a fairy tale out of it he gives you the raw, uncut footage of what really happened.
Another reason this book is a paragon for me is that instead of sticking to one persons account of that day which could have warped the actual events, he uses an array of sources (123interviews, nine books, nine articles and an extensive collection of notes can be found at the end of the book), to paint a picture of each and every scene in your head leaving you with the feeling of actual having fought the bloody battle.

“Word spread wildly over the radio, voices overlapping with the bad news. There was no pretense now of the deadpan military cool, that mandatory monotone that everything is under control. Voices rose with surprise and fear…” (78).

After reading this book I am extremely anxious to read as many of Bowden’s other ten as I can. Because of this book I am an avid fan of any war novel, nonfiction or not. Bowden has truly touched the depths of my soul with the reality this book imposed on me. Juxtaposed to Wolcott’s crash site, I feel as though war is too much a reality in our lives today. That is why I enjoyed this book so much. Black Hawk Down takes war and makes it a reality, not just some fictitious virtual reality only seen on TV, in video games and on the computer. If everyone read this book I believe the world would be a better place because of the reality this book imposes.