Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of Black Hawk Down, Huế 1968, and The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden. More +
  • Ron Edmonds / AP

    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.

  • Alex Ostroy

    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

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

  • Stephen Webster/Wonderful Machine

    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 The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition.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

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

  • Steven Meckler

    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.

  • Mark Peterson/Redux

    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.”

  • Sean McCabe

    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

  • Reviving the Beatles

    Beatles fan Mark Bowden chats with Pat Dinizio about his band's new Beatles tribute album, "Meet the Smithereens"

  • The Ploy

    The inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle—without resorting to torture—and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq

  • Jihadists in Paradise

    A kidnapping at a Philippine resort triggered a yearlong hunt for pirate terrorists and their American hostages. A behind-the-scenes tale of intrigue, spycraft, and betrayal

  • The Desert One Debacle

    In April 1980, President Jimmy Carter sent the Army’s Delta Force to bring back fifty-three American citizens held hostage in Iran. Everything went wrong. The fireball in the Iranian desert took the Carter presidency with it.

  • Cry Wolfe

    In defense of the last writer in the world who needs defending

  • Captivity Pageant

    December 1979: Christmas comes for the Great Satan

  • Mahmoud the Bashful

    For Iran's new president, running from the 1979 hostage-taking is like John Hancock's running from the Declaration. What's his problem?

  • Wolfowitz: The Exit Interviews

    As he prepared to leave office, the deputy secretary of defense engaged in a series of conversations with the author on Iraq, democracy, intelligence, 9/11, and how he believes America must make its way in the world

  • News Judgment and Jihad

    Terrorists depend on the cooperation of the media. It's time to stop providing it

  • AP

    Among the Hostage-Takers

    Twenty-five years ago in Tehran a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took hostage the entire American diplomatic mission—igniting a fifteen-month international crisis whose impact is reverberating still. Now, for the first time, many of the leading hostage-takers speak candidly about their actions—which a surprising number deeply regret