Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mark Bowden  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Mark grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mark Bowden is a bestselling author, journalist, educator, and film producer. He is the author of The Best Game Ever, Bringing the Heat, Killing Pablo, and Guests of the Ayatollah. His book Black Hawk Down; A Story of Modern War, is an international bestseller, which spent more than a year on The New York Times bestseller list and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It is a story of the bloody 1993 battle American soldiers fought in Mogadishu, Somalia. In 2001, it was made into a feature film directed by Ridley Scott.For 22 years, he wrote a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has written for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. He also teaches creative writing and journalism as an adjunct professor at Loyola College of Maryland. Bowden currently resides in Oxford, Pennsylvania.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire
ISBN: 0802137571

Grove Press. 2000

Doctor Dealer is the story of Larry Lavin, a bright, charismatic young man who rose from his working-class upbringing to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, earn Ivy League college and dental degrees, and buy his family a house in one of Philadelphia's most exclusive suburbs. But behind the facade of his success was a dark secret -- at every step of the way he was building the foundation for a cocaine empire that would grow to generate over $60 million in annual sales. Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden tells the saga of Lavin's rise and fall with the gripping, novelistic narrative style that won him international acclaim as the author of the New York Times best-seller Black Hawk Down. "Immensely readable . . . eye-popping . . . a smoothly crafted, exciting, can't-put-it-down book." -- Louisville New Voice

Bringing the Heat
ISBN: 0871137720

Atlantic Monthly Press. 2000

Bringing the Heat is the story of one team's season-long campaign for the NFL championship, told through the personal stories of the men on the field and the coaches, managers, and owner on the sidelines. The team is the 1992 Philadelphia Eagles, a group of players assembled in the iconoclastic image of their former head coach Buddy Ryan. They are known throughout the league for their ferocious defense and for the otherworldly talents of their quarterback Randall Cunningham.
Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden gets deep inside the world of professional football in a way no writer has ever done before, with an insightful and hilarious portrait of one of the most exciting teams ever to play the game. He spares none of the game's ugliness - the greed, the racism, and the often sadistic violence - while capturing the beauty of athleticism at its highest level, the courage of men who face each play knowing that one bad hit can end a career, and above all the exultant glory of victory that inspires their struggle to be the best.

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
ISBN: 0871137380

Atlantic Monthly Press. 1999

A searing portrayal of modern warfare recounts a 1993 firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia, that resulted in the deaths of eighteen Americans and more than five hundred Somalis, examining the rationales behind the disastrous raid. 75,000 first printing. Tour.

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw
ISBN: 0142000957

Penguin Books. 2002

A tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented access to important players—including Colombian president Cisar Gaviria and the incorruptible head of the special police unit that pursued Escobar, Colonel Hugo Martinez-as well as top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden has produced a gripping narrative that is a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.

Finders Keepers: The Story Of Joey
ISBN: 1843541106

Atlantic Books. 2002

Times were hard for Joey Coyle. A dockworker from a struggling neighbourhood of south Philadelphia, Joey lived with his ailing mother and a drug habit he could barely support. One February afternoon in 1981, he was on his way to score when he found two curious yellow containers lying in the street. They had just fallen off the back of an armoured van and contained $1.2 million, in cash, in unmarked notes from a casino. "Finders Keepers" tells how Coyle secretly shared the money with everyone around him, including his girlfriend, random strangers and the area's most notorious mob boss. Against the background of growing media interest in the fate of the missing money, Coyle lived for seven days in a drug-fuelled whirlwind, planning his future as a rich man, but terrified that he was about to be captured and killed. "Finders Keepers" is the remarkable story of an everyday man faced with an extraordinary dilemma and a dramatic account of greed, generosity and betrayal.

Our Finest Day: D-Day, June 6, 1944
ISBN: 0811830500

Chronicle Books. 2002

D-Day is one of the significant turning points in wartime history and was the largest single military operation ever launched. In Our Finest Day, best-selling author Mark Bowden reveals the human faces behind this brutal battle, using reproductions of original documents. Included in these pages are personal letters and poignant journal entries from soldiers, secret dispatches and pages from code books, and strategic battle plans and maps. These removable artifacts-from the collection of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans-allow readers to hold a piece of history in their hands. Imagine holding a replica of the last letter written home by a soldier as he waited nervously for the attack to begin, or the message sent to Allied headquarters in England informing them that the beaches had been taken. From the commanders of Operation Overlord to the airborne troopers and resistance fighters, Our Finest Day introduces readers to the brave men who risked their lives and triumphed over Hitlers Germany.

Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million
ISBN: 087113859X

Atlantic Monthly Pr. 2002

Chronicles the true story of a longshoreman from South Philadelphia who found $1 million lost from a casino and promptly shared it with everyone he knew.

Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
ISBN: 0871139251

Atlantic Monthly Press. 2006

From the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down comes a riveting, definitive chronicle of the Iran hostage crisis, America's first battle with militant Islam. 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 hostage, 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, naďve 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 re-created, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.

Road Work: Among Tyrants, Heroes, Rogues, and Beasts
ISBN: 0143036734

Penguin Books. 2006

Anyone who has read Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down or Killing Pablo knows that he is capable of putting us in the heat of a story in a way few writers can. Road Work gathers the best of his award-winning writing, from his breakout stories for the Philadelphia Inquirer to his influential pieces in the Atlantic on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether traveling to Zambia, where a team of antipoachers fights to save the black rhino, to Guantánamo Bay to expose the controversial ways America is fighting its war on terror, or to a small town in Rhode Island to penetrate the largest cocaine ring in history, Bowden takes us down rough roads previously off limits—and gives us another gripping read.

Worm: The First Digital World War
ISBN: 0802119832

Atlantic Monthly Press. 2011

From the author of Black Hawk Down comes the story of the battle between those determined to exploit the internet and those committed to protect it—the ongoing war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.

The Conficker worm infected its first computer in November 2008 and within a month had infiltrated 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. Banks, telecommunications companies, and critical government networks (including the British Parliament and the French and German military) were infected. No one had ever seen anything like it. By January 2009 the worm lay hidden in at least eight million computers and the botnet of linked computers that it had created was big enough that an attack might crash the world. This is the gripping tale of the group of hackers, researches, millionaire Internet entrepreneurs, and computer security experts who united to defend the Internet from the Conficker worm: the story of the first digital world war.

The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
ISBN: 0802120342

Atlantic Monthly Press. 2012

From Mark Bowden, the preeminent chronicler of our military and special forces, comes The Finish, a gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With access to key sources, 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.


Awards

-- Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award as the best book of 2001 for Killing PabloFinalist, National Book Award in 1999 for Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern WarFeature writing award from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association in 1987 for Finder's Keeper'sScience Writing Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1980Finalist, best newspaper writing, American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1979 for Life in the ProjectsWinner, Maryland Library Association's Maryland Author Award for nonfiction writing in 2011 for his body of work