Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is an Atlantic national correspondent. His most recent book is The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden. More

Mark BowdenMark Bowden is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, and a best-selling author. 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. Among his other books are Guests of the Ayatollah, an account of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, which was listed by Newsweek as one of "The 50 Books for Our Times." His most recent books are The Best Game Ever, the story of the 1958 NFL championship game, and Worm, which tells the story of the Conficker computer worm, based on the article "The Enemy Within," published in this magazine.

Mark 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. He 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 is now an adjunct professor at The University of Delaware and lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania. He is married with five children and two granddaughters.

  • The Arrogance of Mitt
    Reuters

    The Arrogance of Mitt

    The recent Romney documentary succeeds in making its subject more human, but it also makes it clear that the country is better off without him as president.

  • In Praise of Fancy Words

    In Praise of Fancy Words

    The pleasures of reading with a dictionary by one’s side

  • What Snowden and Manning Don't Understand About Secrecy

    Government often finds bad reasons to keep information hidden, but the recent indiscriminate leaks are foolish.

  • The Killing Machines

    The Killing Machines

    How to think about drones

  • 'Idiot,' 'Yahoo,' 'Original Gorilla': How Lincoln Was Dissed in His Day

    'Idiot,' 'Yahoo,' 'Original Gorilla': How Lincoln Was Dissed in His Day

    The difficulty of recognizing excellence in its own time

  • 'Zero Dark Thirty' Is Not Pro-Torture

    Saying Kathryn Bigelow's film advocates for "enhanced interrogation" ignores the nuances of the story.

  • The Measured Man

    The Measured Man

    Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist turned computer scientist, has a new project: charting his every bodily function in minute detail. What he’s discovering may be the future of health care.

  • Dumb Kids’ Class

    The benefits of being underestimated by the nuns at St. Petronille’s

  • The Man Who Broke Atlantic City

    The Man Who Broke Atlantic City

    Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it.

  • Rebirth of the Guinea Hens

    Rebirth of the Guinea Hens

    The author’s fowl defy the blogosphere and stage a comeback.

  • The Salesman

    The Salesman

    Experienced, emotional, marked by personal tragedy and political setback, Joe Biden is in many ways the antithesis of the president he serves. But his stock has risen steadily in the West Wing, and with the Democrats poised to lose much of their leverage in the midterm elections, the vice president’s unique skills and attributes may prove ever more crucial to his administration’s success.

  • The Enemy Within

    The Enemy Within

    When the Conficker computer “worm” was unleashed on the world in November 2008, cyber-security experts didn’t know what to make of it. It infiltrated millions of computers around the globe. It constantly checks in with its unknown creators. It uses an encryption code so sophisticated that only a very few people could have deployed it. For the first time ever, the cyber-security elites of the world have joined forces in a high-tech game of cops and robbers, trying to find Conficker’s creators and defeat them. The cops are failing. And now the worm lies there, waiting …

  • The Great Guinea Hen Massacre

    The Great Guinea Hen Massacre

    Good intentions collide with dumb birds on a small farm in Pennsylvania.

  • The Story Behind the Story

    The Story Behind the Story

    With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the “reporting” that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. A case-study of our post-journalistic age.

  • Flight Risk

    Flight Risk

    When a U.S. company ignored pilot warnings in Colombia, four Americans died, and three were taken captive

  • The Last Ace

    The Last Ace

    American air superiority has been so complete for so long that we take it for granted. For more than half a century, we’ve made only rare use of the aerial-combat skills of a man like Cesar Rodriguez, who retired two years ago with more air-to-air kills than any other active-duty fighter pilot. But our technological edge is eroding—Russia, China, India, North Korea, and Pakistan all now fly fighter jets with capabilities equal or superior to those of the F-15, the backbone of American air power since the Carter era. Now we have a choice. We can stock the Air Force with the expensive, cutting-edge F‑22—maintaining our technological superiority at great expense to our Treasury. Or we can go back to a time when the cost of air supremacy was paid in the blood of men like Rodriguez.

  • The Hardest Job in Football

    The Hardest Job in Football

    For millions of football fans watching at home every Sunday, it seems as though NFL games make a seamless transition from the gridiron to the television screen. But spend a weekend with a network production crew, and you’ll discover what it really takes to turn the on-field action into televised entertainment—intense preparation, frantic effort, brilliant improvisation, and an artistic genius named “Fish.”

  • Distant Replay

    How the greatest game in football history looks 50 years later, through the eyes of a modern NFL head coach

  • Mr. Murdoch Goes to War

    Rupert Murdoch wants his Wall Street Journal to displace The New York Times as the world’s paper of record. His ambitions could be good news for the newspaper industry— or another nail in the coffin of serious journalism.

  • The Angriest Man In Television

    How David Simon’s disappointment with the industry that let him down made The Wire the greatest show on television—and why his searing vision shouldn’t be confused with reality

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

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