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Friday, August 04, 2017

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

My latest kindle book from the public library is Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by journalist Mark Bowden. The Wikipedia page for the book begins ...

It documents efforts by the Unified Task Force to capture Somali faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid in 1993, and the resulting battle in Mogadishu between United States forces and Aidid's militia. One of the key events is the downing of two United States UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, from which the book derives its title, and the attempt to rescue their crews. United States forces included Army Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Delta Force and Navy SEALs, with United Nations peacekeeping forces also involved.

The raid became the most intense close combat in U.S. military history since the Vietnam War. Although the particular mission to apprehend Aidid was officially codenamed Gothic Serpent, the media colloquially termed it the Battle of Mogadishu as well as the Battle of the Black Sea ...

I had seen the movie of the same name a few years ago and wrote a blog post about it: Somalia at the movies . That post goes into the historical details of the actual incident, if anyone is curious.

It's fairly interesting if only as a look at how modern warfare operates. I haven't yet read to the part where everything goes teribly wrong - the movie depiction of that part was pretty harrowing. This is kind of an atypical book choice for me because I have mixed feelings about the military itself and military engagements ... I suppose in some senses they are necessary but I cringe at what they must do to the heads and hearts of the people involved.

For those interested, here's a trailer of the movie version, to which Ebert gave 4 stars ...


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