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  • Mark Bowden
    Instructor
    Distinguished Writer in Residence
    University of Delaware
    Department of English
    Newark, DE 19716

    Biography

    ​Mark Bowden is a best-selling author and journalist. His book Black Hawk Down, a finalist for the National Book Award, was the basis of the film of the same name. His book Killing Pablo won the Overseas Press Club's 2001 Cornelius Ryan Award as the book of the year. His book Guests of the Ayatollah, an account of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, was listed by Newsweek as one of "The 50 Books for Our Times." His most recent books are the bestsellers The Best Game Ever, the story of the 1958 NFL championship game, and Worm, which tells the story of the Conficker computer virus, and The Finish, an account of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Mark is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has received The Abraham Lincoln Literary Award and the International Thriller Writers' "True Thriller Award" for lifetime achievement, and served as a judge for the National Book Awards in 2005.

    Mr. Bowden is a 1973 graduate of Loyola University Maryland, where he also taught from 2001-2010. A reporter and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 30 years, Bowden lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania with his wife Gail. They have five grown children and two granddaughters.

Degrees 

Research Projects 

Publications 

  • The Three Battles of Wanat and Other True Stories
    Bowden, Mark
    New York: Grove Atlantic, 2016.

    New York Times bestselling author Mark Bowden has had a prolific career as one of America’s leading journalists and nonfiction writers. His new collection, The Three Battles of Wanat and Other True Stories, features the best of his long-form pieces on war, as well as notable profiles, sports reporting, and essays on culture.

    Including pieces from the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, this collection is Bowden at his best. The titular article, “The Three Battles of Wanat,” tells the story of one of the bloodiest days in the War in Afghanistan and the extraordinary years-long fallout it generated within the United States military. In “The Killing Machines,” Bowden examines the strategic, legal, and moral issues surrounding armed drones. And in a brilliant piece on Kim Jong-un, “The Bright Sun of Juche,” he recalibrates our understanding of the world’s youngest and most baffling dictator. Also included are profiles of newspaper scion Arthur Sulzberger; renowned defense attorney and anti-death-penalty activist Judy Clarke; and David Simon, the creator of “The Wire.”

    Absorbing and provocative, The Three Battles of Wanat is an essential collection for fans of Mark Bowden’s writing, and for anyone who enjoys first-rate narrative nonfiction.

     
  • The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden
    Bowden, Mark
    Boston: 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.

     
  • Worm: The First Digital World War
    Bowden, Mark
    Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011.

    ​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.

    Surprisingly, the U.S. government was only vaguely aware of the threat that Conficker posed, and the task of mounting resistance fell to disparate but gifted group of geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, and computer programmers. They formed what came to be called the Conficker Cabal, and began a tireless fight against the worm. But when Conficker’s controllers became aware that their creation was beginning to encounter resistance, they began refining the worm’s code to make it more difficult to trace and more powerful testing the Cabal’s unity and resolve. Will the Cabal lock down the worm before it is too late? Game on.

    Worm reports on the fascinating battle between those determined to exploit the internet and those committed to protect it.

     
  • The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL
    Bowden, Mark
    Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008.

    On December 28, 1958, the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts met under the lights of Yankee Stadium for the NFL Championship game. Played in front of sixty-four thousand fans and millions of television viewers around the country, the game would be remembered as the greatest in football history. On the field and roaming the sidelines were seventeen future Hall of Famers, including Colts stars Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, and Gino Marchetti, and Giants greats Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, and assistant coaches Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. An estimated forty-five million viewers—at that time the largest crowd to have ever watched a football game—tuned in to see what would become the first sudden-death contest in NFL history. It was a battle of the league's best offense—the Colts—versus its best defense—the Giants. And it was a contest between the blue-collar Baltimore team versus the glamour boys of the Giants squad. The Best Game Ever is a brilliant portrait of how a single game changed the history of American sport. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the championship, it is destined to be a sports classic.

     
  • Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam
    Bowden, Mark
    Boston: 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, 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 re-created, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.

     
  • Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw
    Bowden, Mark
    New York: Penguin, 2001.

    ​A tour de force of investigative journalismKilling Pablo 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 Martinezas 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.

     
  • Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
    Bowden, Mark
    Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999.

    ​Already a classic of war reporting, Black Hawk Down is Mark Bowden’s brilliant account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take an hour. Instead, they found themselves pinned down through a long and terrible night fighting against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. The following morning, eighteen Americans were dead and more than seventy had been badly wounded.

    Drawing on interviews from both sides, army records, audiotapes, and videos (some of the material is still classified), Bowden’s minute-by-minute narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern combat ever written—a riveting story that captures the heroism, courage, and brutality of battle.

     
 
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