I just read an amazing book: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.
I knew of the book and in fact my wife was reading it. Seeing the movie twice in the theater finally convinced me to sit down and read the book to catch all the details. Surprisingly, the movie was a very accurate portrayal of the events and matched the book quite well. (I believe that a couple of characters were composites, but the rest were based on the actual men involved.)
Some critics of the movie complained that it didn’t show the human side of the Somalis. Especially after reading the book, I don’t see how that can be a criticism at all. The story is written from the perspective of the American soldier who did not get a chance to understand anyone at a “human” level.
My only criticisms were a couple of things I had hoped to learn but didn’t:
- The book and movie made a big point about never leaving a man behind. It must be a historical value within the military, possibly a motivating factor for the soldiers. There are several points in the story where the rescue or injured or dead soldiers results in more casualties. Near the end, the entire rescue convoy is waiting for the bodies of two deal pilots to be extricated. Given that this was such an important point, I’d like to know more about it.
- I had heard that the events in Somalia led the US Military to “rewrite” its book on urban fights like this one. But, the book didn’t mention anything about it other than some blame-laying that went on in the government. Again, another good topic to research.