Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: Mogadishu Diaries, Bloodlines by Eddie Clay Thomkins III

"Mogadishu Diaries, Bloodlines" follows the exploits of a group of US Marines, between 1992-1993, taking part in the conflict in Somalia in which time local warlords were targeted by the US and UN in an attempt to restore stability to this East African country. In this book Eddie Clay Thomkins III provides a narrative account of the events in Somalia that preceded those which were made famous in the book and resultant movie, "Blackhawk Down".

In Bloodlines the author has created a book which is both interesting and easy-to-read, not getting bogged down in long, superfluous, background story but just getting straight into the action. Indeed, so easy it is to read that it actually feels a bit light for the subject matter and it is testament to the way that the events are described, in a reader-friendly way, that the end is reached so quickly that readers may feel a little short-changed in terms of the amount of content here.

The strength of this book is the straight-talking narrative that really makes the reader feel the authenticity of the material but it must be said that it becomes rather confusing at times whether this is a biographical work or a piece of fiction due to an unusual writing style; although I found this odd at times it does add to the book in terms of originality.

The dialogue here is delivered as it would be said (was said?) which does occasionally lead to one of the failings that many such books fall into; large amounts of jargon. While it lends to the authenticity of the dialogue, the usage of military jargon means that readers may want to have access to the internet while enjoying this book so they can find the meaning of a number of terms. However, I did not find that this really imposed on the readability of the tale, most phrases can be more-or-less understood through context, and several situations were quite amusing.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the US military involvement in Somalia or those who enjoy reading military anecdotes, although for those looking for a book which is plot-driven, maybe they should look elsewhere.

Score: 6/10

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