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About Mark Bowden
Mark Bowden is the author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Hue 1968, Guests of the Ayatollah, Killing Pablo and other books. He is a longtime contributing writer to The Atlantic and reported at The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
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Titles By Mark Bowden
Drawing on interviews from both sides, army records, audiotapes, and videos (some of the material is still classified), Bowden’s minute-by-minute narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern combat ever writtena riveting story that captures the heroism, courage, and brutality of battle.
A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in History
Winner of the 2018 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Greene Award for a distinguished work of nonfiction
"An extraordinary feat of journalism . . . full of emotion and color."—Karl Marlantes, Wall Street Journal
The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam.
In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam?s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front?s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.
With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.
On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by the revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They took fifty-two Americans captive, and kept nearly all of them hostage for 444 days. In Guests of the Ayatollah, Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, the soldiers in a new special forces unit sent to free them, their radical, naïve captors, and the diplomats working to end the crisis.
Bowden takes us inside the hostages’ cells and inside the Oval Office for meetings with President Carter and his exhausted team. We travel to international capitals where shadowy figures held clandestine negotiations, and to the deserts of Iran, where a courageous, desperate attempt to rescue the hostages exploded into tragic failure. Bowden dedicated five years to this research, including numerous trips to Iran and countless interviews with those involved on both sides. Guests of the Ayatollah is a detailed, brilliantly recreated, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.
“The passions of the moment still reverberate . . . you can feel them on every page.” —Time
“A complex story full of cruelty, heroism, foolishness and tragic misunderstandings.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Essential reading . . . A.” —Entertainment Weekly
From the author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968, this is a gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With access to key sources, Mark Bowden takes us inside the rooms where decisions were made and on the ground where the action unfolded.
After masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden managed to vanish. Over the next ten years, as Bowden shows, America found that its war with al Qaeda—a scattered group of individuals who were almost impossible to track—demanded an innovative approach. Step by step, Bowden describes the development of a new tactical strategy to fight this war—the fusion of intel from various agencies and on-the-ground special ops.
After thousands of special forces missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the right weapon to go after bin Laden had finally evolved. By spring 2011, intelligence pointed to a compound in Abbottabad; it was estimated that there was a 50/50 chance that Osama was there. Bowden shows how three strategies were mooted: a drone strike, a precision bombing, or an assault by Navy SEALs. In the end, the president had to make the final decision. It was time for the finish.
“In-depth interviews with Obama and other insiders reveal a White House on edge, facing top-secret options, white-knuckle decisions, and unforeseen obstacles . . . Bowden weaves together accounts from Obama and top decision-makers for the full story behind the daring operation.” —Vanity Fair
“The most accessible and satisfying book yet written on the climactic event in the United States’ long war against al Qaeda.” —San Francisco Chronicle
What would you do if you found a million dollars? When Joey Coyle did, he was a twenty-eight-year-old drug-dependent, unemployed longshoreman living with his ailing mother in a tight-knit Philadelphia neighborhood. While cruising the streets just blocks from his home, fate took a turn worthy of a Hollywood caper when he found $1.2 million in unmarked bills—casino money that had fallen off an armored truck. It was virtually untraceable. Coyle? Not so much.
Over the next seven days, fueled by euphoria, methamphetamine, and paranoia, Coyle shared his windfall with everyone from his eight-year-old niece to total strangers to a local mob boss who offered to “clean” it. All the while, Det. Pat Laurenzi and members of the FBI were working around the clock to find it. No one was prepared for how Coyle’s dream-come-true would come tumbling down, or what would happen when it did.
From “a master of narrative journalism” comes the incredible true-life thriller of an ordinary man with an extraordinary dilemma, and the complicity, concern, and betrayal of friends, family, and neighbors that would prove his undoing (The New York Times Book Review).
“A miniature serio-comedy about life in the city.” —The Washington Post
“Masterfully reported and artfully paced.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A taut, fast-paced tale.” —The Baltimore Sun
Mark Bowden has established himself as one of America’s leading journalists and nonfiction writers. The Three Battles of Wanat collects the best of his long-form articles, including pieces from the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The titular article delves into one of the bloodiest days of the War in Afghanistan and the years-long fallout it generated within the United States military. In “The Killing Machines,” Bowden examines the strategic, legal, and moral issues surrounding armed drones. And in a brilliant piece on Kim Jong-un called “The Bright Sun of Juche,” he recalibrates our understanding of the world’s youngest and most baffling dictator.
Also included are profiles of newspaper scion Arthur Sulzberger; renowned defense attorney and anti-death-penalty activist Judy Clarke; professional gambler Don Johnson, who won six million dollars in a single night playing blackjack; and David Simon, the creator of the legendary HBO series The Wire.
“Mark Bowden marshals his finest for The Three Battles of Wanat.” —Vanity Fair