cover image The Three Battles of Wanat: And Other True Stories

The Three Battles of Wanat: And Other True Stories

Mark Bowden. Grove/Atlantic, $27 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2411-1

The author of the bestselling Black Hawk Down will please fans and win new ones with this bracing collection of essays. Bowden is in his element charting the familiar and complex territory of American engagement in foreign conflicts, as in the titular essay, a tragic and nuanced account of "the worst single day in the seven-year Afghan conflict," in 2008, and its repercussions for the U.S. military and the families of the American soldiers whose lives were lost. But those only familiar with Bowden's war reportage will be pleasantly surprised to discover the variety of topics he has tackled in this collection, which includes a profile of Kim Jong Un that is by turns enlightening, level-headed, and hilarious, and an essay about journalism in the age of the Internet. In his introduction, Bowden justly thanks the Atlantic and Vanity Fair, which published the majority of pieces collected here, for their continued commitment to funding quality, in-depth reporting. With his rigorous and respectful approach to his subjects, multifaceted viewpoint, and wry sense of humor, Bowden proves that American journalism hasn't kicked the bucket yet. (Jan.)