Mark Bowden

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 (1951-07-17) (age 60)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Pen name Mark Bowden
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Notable work(s) Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) 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.[1] 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).[2]

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.






On Coercive Interrogation and Torture

In the October 2003 issue of The Atlantic, Bowden's article "The Dark Art of Interrogation" appeared,[6] 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 by Jon Ronson, Bowden's article is mentioned as a reference to the CIA's Project ARTICHOKE, a program to create ways of interrogating people that could be brutal or even fatal.


  • Money for Nothing (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 [1] (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 spans 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."[7]


  • Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award as the best book of 2001 (for Killing Pablo)
  • Finalist, National Book Award, 1999 (for Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War)
  • Feature writing award from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, 1987 (for "Finder's Keeper's")
  • 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)


  1. ^ "My First Literary Crush",, November 15, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  2. ^ C-SPAN Book TV interview with Tom Wolfe on November 17, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Taylor, Ihsan, "The Best Game Ever: Interview With Mark Bowden", The New York Times, December 25, 2008, 12:55 am. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  4. ^ "The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down The Internet", author interview (audio and transcript), Fresh Air on NPR, September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  5. ^ Daugherty bio, Armstrong Atlantic State University; and "William J. Daugherty: Bringing terrorists to justice", opinion, Savannah Morning News, January 8, 2010 6:52am. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  6. ^ "The Dark Art of Interrogation", The Atlantic, October 2003. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "Special Guest: Mark Bowden (Part 2)", Bellum, A Project of The Stanford Review, March 17th, 2009.

External links

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