Mark Bowden

Mark Robert Bowden is an American writer and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he is a 1973 graduate of Loyola University Maryland. While at Loyola, he was inspired to embark on a journalistic career by reading Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. In 2010, in his acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award at the National Book Awards, Wolfe called Bowden one of the two "writers to watch".
From 1979-2003, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years, he has written for The New Yorker, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone. Some of his awards are listed below.
As a result of his book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Bowden has received international recognition. The book was made into a 2001 movie directed by Ridley Scott.
He currently lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Bowden's son, Aaron, is also a writer. Bowden's own father, now deceased, was a first cousin of former Florida State Seminoles football coach Bobby Bowden.
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New York Times Bestseller

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.

“Painstakingly reported stories about losers, oddballs and con men” from the #1 New York Times–bestselling journalist and author of Black Hawk Down (The New York Times Book Review).
 
This riveting anthology collects the most diverse and far-reaching of Mark Bowden’s award-winning nonfiction—“with fascinating features on Norman Mailer, the war against terror, and even a Philadelphia Zoo gorilla, Bowden’s range is broad” (Entertainment Weekly).
 
Whether traveling to Rhode Island where one of the largest cocaine rings in history is uncovered, or to the Luangwa Valley in Zambia where anti-poachers fight to save the black rhino, Bowden takes us down rough roads previously off-limits: the top-secret world of Guantanamo Bay; Saddam Hussein’s post 9/11 days on the run; a pimp’s inside track on police corruption in Philadelphia; and Al Sharpton’s campaign trail.
 
Bowden also invites readers along to meet a small-town high school football team, farmers who make bras for cows, the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia, and to see Disney World with a wide-eyed group of terminally ill children.
 
In Road Work, Mark Bowden “fashion[s] prose that reads like good fiction, with the bonus that his stories are true” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“Astute character reading and solid research combine with ingenious and stylish prose: a superior portfolio from a journalist who stays at the top of his game.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Bowden is unlike any other journalist . . . Superb reporting, a fine mind conceiving the story line, and a compelling writing style lead to something approaching immortality.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Killing Pablo is the story of the fifteen-month manhunt for Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whose escape from his lavish, mansionlike jail drove a nation to the brink of chaos. In a gripping, up-close account, acclaimed journalist Mark Bowden exposes the never-before-revealed details of how U.S. military and intelligence operatives covertly led the mission to find and kill the world's most dangerous outlaw. Drawing on unprecedented access to the soldiers, field agents, and officials involved in the chase, as well as hundreds of pages of top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden creates a narrative that reads as if it were torn from the pages of a Tom Clancy technothriller. Killing Pablo also tells the story of Escobar's rise, how he built a criminal organization that would hold an entire nation hostage -- and the stories of the intrepid men who would ultimately bring him down. There is Steve Jacoby, the leader of Centra Spike, the ultrasecret U.S. special forces team that would use cutting-edge surveillance technology to find one man among a nation of 37 million. There is Morris Busby, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, who would convince the Bush administration to approve the deployment of the shadowy Delta Force operators who would be the key to the drug lord's demise. And there is Escobar's archenemy, Col. Hugo Martinez, the leader of Colombia's federal police, who would turn down a $6 million bribe, survive countless attempts on his life, and endure a humiliating exile while waging his battle against the drug lord's criminal empire. It was Martinez's son, raised in the shadow of constant threat from Escobar's followers, who would ultimately track the fugitive to a Bogota rooftop on the fateful day in 1993 when the outlaw would finally meet his end. Action-packed and unputdownable, Killing Pablo is a tour de force of narrative journalism and a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.
New York Times bestseller: The true behind-the-scenes story of the manhunt for the 9/11 mastermind is “a page-turner” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
 
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
The New York Times–bestselling author of Black Hawk Down delivers a “suspenseful and inspiring” account of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 (The Wall Street Journal).
 
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
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