|Born||Mark Robert Bowden
July 17, 1951
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
|Pen name||Mark Bowden|
|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. 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).
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.
- 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 (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.
- Worm: The First Digital World War, about the Conficker computer worm (2011; ISBN 0-8021-1983-2); preliminarily covered by Bowden in Atlantic article "The Enemy Within" (June 2010).
- The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, (2012 ISBN 0-8021-2034-2)
- 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 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  (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."
From June 2012 through March 2013 the legal blog "Trials & Tribulations", which reports on Californian trials and legal affairs, has run a seven part series titled "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus". The blog series disputes facts in Bowden's July 2012 Vanity Fair article, "A Case So Cold It Was Blue", suggests that quotes and states of mind of key persons in the narrative had been made up by Bowden to fit his story, and questions whether Bowden had done any relevant interviews or had attended a single day of the murder trial of former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus, whose case was the centerpiece of his story. In Part VI, published on T&T in October 2012, Bowden's editor at Vanity Fair, Cullen Murphy, declined to comment on the record about the errors in Bowden's article. Part VII, from March 2013, suggests that Bowden will not respond to questions regarding the disputed Vanity Fair story when asked either through Email or in person.
- 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)
- "My First Literary Crush", Salon.com, November 15, 2005. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- C-SPAN Book TV interview with Tom Wolfe on November 17, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- Taylor, Ihsan, "The Best Game Ever: Interview With Mark Bowden", The New York Times, December 25, 2008, 12:55 am. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down The Internet", author interview (audio and transcript), Fresh Air on NPR, September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- 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.
- "The Dark Art of Interrogation", The Atlantic, October 2003. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- "Special Guest: Mark Bowden (Part 2)", Bellum, A Project of The Stanford Review, March 17th, 2009.
- "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus",
- "A Case So Cold It Was Blue, July 2012"
- "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus"
- "Fact Checking Mark Bowden's Curious Vanity Fair Article on Stephanie Lazarus"
- Mark Bowden (II) at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by Mark Bowden at The Atlantic
- Works by Mark Bowden at Vanity Fair
- Philly.com Biography: Mark Bowden
- Atlantic Monthly Biography
- Interview on Guests of the Ayatollah at the Pritzker Military Library on June 7, 2006
- The Dark Art of Interrogation, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2003 retrieved September 12, 2010
- Transcriptions of Declassified Project ARTICHOKE Documents
- In Depth interview with Bowden, June 4, 2006
- Interview on The Finish at the Pritzker Military Library on December 12, 2012