Friday, September 12, 2008

Review: Black Hawk Down

Interesting facts I learned from the book:

1.) The Saudis had a UN presence in Somali and even the day after the fire-fight they weren't shot at as they drove through Mogadishu

2.)The UN Italian forces would sometimes used their car headlights to send signals to the Somalis in the city about what the Americans were doing.

3.)Most educated Somalis speak Italian.


Black Hawk Down was written by Mark Bowden and published in 1999. It's a non-fiction account of that time that Somalis shot down two of our helicopters in one day.

It's an amazing book. You should read it if you have the stomach for it, but becuase it isn't worth eating but becuase not everyone can digest writing like this.

The book's prose sometimes feels stale. It essentially is a large newspaper article dashed with more color than the average paper would allow.

At times the writing talks about what certain soldiers were thinking, which must have come from hours and hours of interviews and the prose sometimes breaks into out of place flavor:

Steele and his Rangers needed to pick up their wounded and move fifty fucking yards down the slpe to consoldidate the perimiter and join the fucking fight!

The book sometimes tells things from the Somali side. Getting those interview must have been hard and I would have been very interested to know more about what the Somalis were doing during the whole firefight.

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