Mark Bowden
Not to be confused with Mark Bowden, U.N. Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Somalia.
Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) is an American writer and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

. Born in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, 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
Tom Wolfe
Thomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe, Jr. is a best-selling American author and journalist. He is one of the founders of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.-Early life and education:...

's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a work of literary journalism by Tom Wolfe, published in 1968. Using techniques from the genre of hysterical realism and pioneering new journalism, the "nonfiction novel" tells the story of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters...

. 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" (along with Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis (author)
Michael Lewis is an American non-fiction author and financial journalist. His bestselling books include The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Panic and Home Game: An...


From 1979-2003, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer is a morning daily newspaper that serves the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area of the United States. The newspaper was founded by John R. Walker and John Norvell in June 1829 as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the...

. Over the years, he has written for "The New Yorker," Men's Journal
Men's Journal
Men's Journal is an American men's lifestyle magazine focused on outdoor recreation and comprising editorials on the outdoors, environmental issues, health and fitness, style and fashion, and "gear". It is owned by Jann Wenner of Wenner Media....

, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

, and Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

. Some of his awards are listed below.

As a result of his book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War is a 1999 book by Mark Bowden that chronicles the United States Army Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Delta Force, Navy SEALs, and UN forces attempt to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu and the...

, Bowden has received international recognition. The book was made into a 2001 movie directed by Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. His most famous films include The Duellists , Alien , Blade Runner , Legend , Thelma & Louise , G. I...


He currently lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania
Oxford, Pennsylvania
Oxford is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. Oxford is the closest town to Lincoln University. The population was 4,315 at the 2000 census.-History:The borough was once called Oxford Crossing and Oxford Village....

. Bowden's son, Aaron, is also a writer. Bowden's own father, now deceased, was a first cousin of former Florida State Seminoles
Florida State Seminoles
The Florida State Seminoles are the men's and women's sports teams of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State participates in the NCAA's Division I . FSU joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1991, and competes in the Atlantic Division in any sports split into a...

 football coach Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden
Robert Cleckler "Bobby" Bowden is a retired college football coach. He coached the Florida State Seminoles football team from the 1976 to 2009 seasons...



  • Bringing the Heat (1994; ISBN 0-679-42841-0), NFL season, account of 1992 Philadelphia Eagles, 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, Columbian 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
    Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
    Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam is a non-fiction work written by Mark Bowden.Guests of the Ayatollah relates the events surrounding the Iran hostage crisis of November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981 at the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran...

     (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'
    Philadelphia Eagles
    The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

     coach Andy Reid
    Andy Reid
    Andrew Walter "Andy" Reid is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, a post he has held since 1999. Since 2001, he has also been the team's executive vice president of football operations...

  • Worm: The First Digital World War, about the Conficker
    Conficker, also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido, is a computer worm targeting the Microsoft Windows operating system that was first detected in November 2008...

     computer worm
    Computer worm
    A computer worm is a self-replicating malware computer program, which uses a computer network to send copies of itself to other nodes and it may do so without any user intervention. This is due to security shortcomings on the target computer. Unlike a computer virus, it does not need to attach...

     (2011; ISBN 0-80211-983-2); preliminarily covered by Bowden in Atlantic article "The Enemy Within" (June 2010).


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

On Coercive Interrogation and Torture

In the October 2003 issue of The Atlantic, Bowden's article "The Dark Art of Interrogation" appeared, advocated a ban on all forms of coercive interrogation, but acknowledged 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 revealed at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers, It said, 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.

On pages 231-234 of the book The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Men Who Stare at Goats is a book by Jon Ronson about the U.S. Army's exploration of New Age concepts and the potential military applications of the paranormal. The title refers to attempts to kill goats by staring at them...

 by Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson is a Welsh journalist, documentary filmmaker, radio presenter and nonfiction author, whose works include The Men Who Stare At Goats. His journalism and columns have appeared in British publications including The Guardian newspaper, City Life and Time Out magazine...

, Bowden's article is mentioned as a reference to the CIA's Project ARTICHOKE
Project ARTICHOKE was a CIA project that researched interrogation methods and arose from Project BLUEBIRD on August 20, 1951, run by the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence...

, a program to create ways of interrogating people that could be brutal or even fatal.


  • Money for Nothing
    Money for Nothing (film)
    Money for Nothing is a 1993 comedy/crime film directed by Ramón Menéndez. It is based on the life of Joey Coyle, an unemployed longshoreman in Philadelphia who, in February 1981, found $1.2 million in the middle of the street after it had fallen out of the back of an armored car. The screenplay,...

     (1993) (based on his article "The Joey Coyle Story")
  • Black Hawk Down (2001)
  • The True Story of Killing Pablo (2002) (TV)
  • Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down, The (2003) (video)
  • The True Story of Black Hawk Down (2003) (TV)
  • Guests of the Ayatollah (2006) (TV)
  • Stalking Jihad (2007) (TV)
  • Killing Pablo (2011)

Future of the media

Bowden holds unconventional views on the future of the media in the 21st-century. He does not believe attention span
Attention span
Attention span is the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus one's attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one's goals....

s are shortening and believes young people are just as drawn to "deep" journalism as other generations. He stated 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."


  • Overseas Press Club
    Overseas Press Club
    The Overseas Press Club of America was founded in 1939 in New York City by a group of foreign correspondents. The wire service reporter Carol Weld was a founding member...

    's Cornelius Ryan Award
    Cornelius Ryan Award
    The Cornelius Ryan Award is given for "best nonfiction book on international affairs" by the Overseas Press Club of America . To be eligible for this literary award a book must be published "in the US or by a US based company or distributed for an American audience" during the year prior to that...

     as the best book of 2001 (for Killing Pablo)
  • Finalist, National Book Award
    National Book Award
    The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

    , 1999 (for Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War)
  • Feature writing award from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association
    Sunday Magazine Editors Association
    Sunday Magazine Editors Association, also referred to as SUNMAG, or Sunmag, is an organization of editors of Sunday newspaper magazines. It represents a majority of the major newspaper magazines in the United States....

    , 1987 (for "Finder's Keeper's")
  • Science Writing Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

    , 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)

External links

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