Mark Bowden

Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) is an American journalist and writer. He is a National Correspondent for The Atlantic. He is best known for his book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999) about the 1993 U.S. military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. It was adapted as a motion picture of the same name and received two Academy Awards.

He is also known for Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw (2001) about the efforts to take Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord.

Mark Bowden
Bowden at the 2018 U.S. National Book Festival
Bowden at the 2018 U.S. National Book Festival
BornMark Robert Bowden
July 17, 1951 (age 67)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Notable worksBlack Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War; Hue 1968

Early life

Born in 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri; Bowden is a 1973 graduate of Loyola University Maryland. At college he was inspired to embark on a career in journalism by reading Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.[1]


From 1979 to 2003, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. In that role he researched and wrote "Black Hawk Down" and "Killing Pablo," both of which appeared as lengthy serials in the newspaper before being published as books. He published two books prior to these, "Doctor Dealer" and "Bringing the Heat," both of which were based on reporting he originally did for the newspaper. He has since published nine other books.

Bowden is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, and has contributed to Vanity Fair, Esquire, The New Yorker, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone. Some of his awards are listed below.

He has taught journalism and creative writing at Loyola University Maryland, and was Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Delaware from 2013–2017.

He lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Former Florida State Seminoles football coach Bobby Bowden is first cousin to Mark's father.


From June 2012 through March 2013, the legal blog Trials & Tribulations (T&T), which reports on California trials and legal affairs, ran a seven-part series titled "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus".[2] This series disputes elements of Bowden's July 2012 Vanity Fair article, "A Case So Cold It Was Blue".[3] The author suggests that Bowden may have created quotes and states of mind of principals to fit his story, and questions whether the journalist had conducted relevant interviews or attended a single day of the murder trial of former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus, although this case was the centerpiece of his story.

Part VI of the series, published on T&T in October 2012, noted that Cullen Murphy, Bowden's editor at Vanity Fair, declined to comment on the record about the allegations related to Bowden's article. Part VII,[4] published in March 2013, said that Bowden, who was not approached about the blog's allegations prior to their posting, had since declined to respond to questions posed by the website's blogger regarding his article.

On coercive interrogation and torture

In the October 2003 issue of The Atlantic, Bowden's article "The Dark Art of Interrogation" [5] advocated a ban on all forms of coercive interrogation. He said that in certain rare instances, interrogators would be morally justified in breaking the law and ought to face the consequences. Written more than a year before the violations of prisoners revealed at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers, he wrote, in part:

The Bush Administration has adopted exactly the right posture on the matter. Candor and consistency are not always public virtues. Torture is a crime against humanity, but coercion is an issue that is rightly handled with a wink, or even a touch of hypocrisy; it should be banned but also quietly practiced. Those who protest coercive methods will exaggerate their horrors, which is good: it generates a useful climate of fear. It is wise of the President to reiterate U.S. support for international agreements banning torture, and it is wise for American interrogators to employ whatever coercive methods work. It is also smart not to discuss the matter with anyone.

In The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, he noted Bowden's article as a reference to the CIA's Project ARTICHOKE.[6] This program developed physical methods to use during interrogations that Ronson noted could be brutal or fatal.

Future of the media

Bowden believes young people are just as drawn to "deep" journalism as other generations have been. He said in March 2009: "Nothing will ever replace language as the medium of thought, so nothing will replace the well-written, originally-reported story, or the well-reasoned essay."[7]


  • Winner Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award for the best book of 2001 (for Killing Pablo)
  • 1997 Winner, Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for "best reporting from abroad" (for articles published in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Battle of Mogadishu
  • 1999, finalist, National Book Award for Black Hawk Down
  • Winner, Feature writing award from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, 1987 (for Finder's Keeper's)
  • Winner, Science Writing Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1980
  • Finalist, best newspaper writing, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1979 (for Life in the Projects)
  • Winner, Maryland Library Association's Maryland Author Award for nonfiction writing, 2011 (for body of work)
  • Winner, Gen. Wallace Greene Award for nonfiction writing, USMC Heritage Foundation 2018 (for Hue 1968)
  • Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Award, History, 2018 (for Hue 1968)
  • Finalist, The Andrew Carnegie Medal, Nonfiction, 2018 (for Hue 1968)
  • Inductee, The Cybersecurity Canon 2018 (for Worm)



  • Bringing the Heat (1994; ISBN 0-679-42841-0), NFL, account of 1992 Philadelphia Eagles season, professional football
  • Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999; ISBN 0-87113-738-0), 1993 U.S. military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia
  • Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire (2000; ISBN 0-8021-3757-1), Larry Lavin, Philadelphia suburban drug lord
  • Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw (2001; ISBN 0-87113-783-6); Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug lord
  • Our Finest Day: D-Day, June 6, 1944 (2002; ISBN 0-8118-3050-0)
  • Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million (2002; ISBN 0-87113-859-X), Joey Coyle finds $1.2 million in cash
  • Road Work : Among Tyrants, Heroes, Rogues, and Beasts (2006; ISBN 0-87113-876-X), collection of 20 non-fiction pieces
  • Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam (2006; ISBN 0-87113-925-1), 1979 Iran hostage crisis
  • The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL (2008; ISBN 0-87113-988-X), about the 1958 NFL championship game; Bowden had assistance analyzing game film from Eagles' coach Andy Reid.[8]
  • Worm: The First Digital World War, about the Conficker computer worm[9] (2011; ISBN 0-8021-1983-2); first covered by Bowden in "The Enemy Within", The Atlantic (June 2010).
  • The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, (2012 ISBN 0-8021-2034-2)
  • The Three Battles of Wanat and Other True Stories (2016 ISBN 978-0-8021-2411-1)
  • Hue 1968 (2017 ISBN 978-0802127006)
  • The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation (2019 ISBN 978-0802147301


  • Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency (2004) by William J. Daughty, professor, former CIA operations officer and former Iran hostage[10](Foreword by Bowden) ISBN 0-8131-2334-8
  • Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad (2005) by David Zucchino (foreword by Bowden); ISBN 0-87113-911-1

Essays and reporting

Adapted for film


  1. ^ "My First Literary Crush",, November 15, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  2. ^ "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus", Sprocket-Trials
  3. ^ Mark Bowden, "A Case So Cold It Was Blue, July 2012", Vanity Fair, July 2012
  4. ^ "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus"
  5. ^ "The Dark Art of Interrogation", The Atlantic, October 2003. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  6. ^ Jon Ronson, The Men Who Stare at Goats, pp. 231–234
  7. ^ "Special Guest: Mark Bowden (Part 2)", Bellum, A Project of The Stanford Review, March 17, 2009.
  8. ^ Taylor, Ihsan, "The Best Game Ever: Interview With Mark Bowden", The New York Times, December 25, 2008, 12:55 am. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  9. ^ "The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down The Internet", author interview (audio and transcript), Fresh Air on NPR, September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  10. ^ Daugherty bio Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "History TV Shows". Retrieved 2014-04-28.
  12. ^ Leane, Rob (July 7, 2017). "Michael Mann to direct a Vietnam War TV series". denofgeek. Retrieved July 21, 2018.

External links

Black Hawk Down (book)

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War is a 1999 book by journalist Mark Bowden. 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.

Black Hawk Down (film)

Black Hawk Down is a 2001 war film produced and directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Ken Nolan. It is based on the 1999 non-fiction book of the same name by journalist Mark Bowden. As an embedded journalist, he covered the 1993 raid in Mogadishu by the U.S. military, aimed at capturing faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The ensuing firefight became known as the Battle of Mogadishu. The film features a large ensemble cast, including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, and Sam Shepard.

Black Hawk Down won two Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing at the 74th Academy Awards. In 2009, an extended cut of the film was released on DVD. The cut contained an additional eight minutes of footage increasing the running time to 152 minutes. This extended cut was released on Blu-ray and in 4K on May 7, 2019.

Killing Pablo

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw (2001) is a book by Mark Bowden that details the efforts by the governments of the United States and Colombia, their respective military and intelligence forces, and Los Pepes to stop illegal activities committed by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and his subordinates. It relates how Escobar was killed and his cartel dismantled. Bowden originally reported this story in a 31-part series published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and in a companion documentary of the same title.

Mark Bowden (UN official)

Mark Rainer Bowden CMG was the United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan from September 2012 until February 2017.

Mark Bowden (author)

Mark Bowden is an author on body language and human behavior. He is a keynote speaker, a trainer and coach in presentation skills and public speaking.Bowden’s nonverbal techniques for influence and persuasion have been described as a “secret weapon” for G7 leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. His techniques derive from evolutionary psychology, behavioral psychology, and embodied cognition. Most notable is Bowden's GesturePlane System, and the specific use of open palm hand gestures in what he coins as the "TruthPlane" (the horizontal plane at navel height on the human body) to create feelings of trust, credibility, and confidence when communicating. This model was first put forward in his 2010 book, Winning Body Language.Bowden was voted the #1 Body Language Professional in the Global Gurus Top 30 for two years running (2014/2015) He is the President of the The National Communication Coach Association of Canada.Bowden is a commentator for national news networks globally on the body language of senior politicians. During US Presidential and Canadian Federal elections and debates, along with subsequent diplomatic meetings, he has commented in the international and national press and on network news worldwide on the body language of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Justin Trudeau.Bowden's most recent book, co-authored with Tracey Thomson, Truth and Lies: What People Are Really Thinking (2018), is a Globe and Mail Non-Fiction Best Seller (2018).

Mark Bowden (composer)

Mark Bowden (born 1979, South Wales) is a British composer of classical music.Bowden studied composition with Richard Steinitz at the University of Huddersfield before completing a master's degree at the Royal College of Music where he studied with Julian Anderson. He has received commissions from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Ulster Orchestra, amongst others and his music has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3. With Anna Meredith and Emily Hall he created the Camberwell Composers' Collective.Bowden has received several awards and prizes including the 2006 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. Bowden was the first composer in residence at Handel House Museum and, with fellow composers in the Camberwell Composers' Collective, was New Music Associate at Kettles Yard in Cambridge from 2008-2010. He was the 2011–2012 Music Fellow at Rambert Dance Company.

He is currently Resident Composer at BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Director of Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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