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In the Company of Heroes Hardcover – May 12, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 1993 battle in Mogadishu between American soldiers and Somali militiamen gets a human-scale retelling in this jaunty but harrowing memoir. Durant went down with the Black Hawk he piloted; after a terrifying crash in which his back and leg were broken and a violent fire-fight, he was held captive for ten days by Somali militiamen as a pawn in their stand-off with American peacekeeping forces. Frightened and in agony from his wounds, he called on his survival training to help him endure, but he also relied on the empathy of some of his Somali captors, especially the gruff but sympathetic guard who feeds, bathes and bonds with him. Durant is a gung-ho army honcho, not much given to introspection, and the book often takes leave of the captivity narrative to recount his exploits in conflicts from Panama to Iraq, and to celebrate the bravado and leave-no-man-behind esprit-de-corps of his élite "Night Stalkers" helicopter unit. The writing is full of terse jargon, weapons specs, helicopter-assault procedural and special-ops swagger ("They were the kind of professionals who could pick off a rabbit from a roller-coaster with a BB gun"). But overall the story remains taut, and the prose evokes both the chaos of combat and the anxiety of confinement. Durant's perspective on the Somalia conflict is somewhat limited and jingoistic ("Mogadishu was Tombstone, and we were Wyatt Earp"), but his is a revealing portrait of the human face of war. 16 pages of b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A decade ago, Durant and his crew were shot down while flying a U.S. Army Special Operations Black Hawk helicopter in the heart of Mogadishu. The only survivor after a firefight with hostile forces of warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid, the author recounts the conditions of his 11 days in captivity, with experiences that ranged from heroic to gruesome, harrowing, bizarre, and compassionate. Suffering severe injuries to his back, leg, and face, moved under guard through a sequence of rudimentary facilities in a volatile combat environment, and facing the deadly risk of discovery by rival clans, Durant became a political pawn receiving global media attention. Readers of Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down (Atlantic Monthly, 1999) who wished for a more technically detailed analysis of the mission's operational aspects will savor this account. The book also incorporates chapters on the arduous training required to earn a spot in an elite squadron and lays groundwork for appreciating the Mogadishu engagement by describing prior high-risk special operations in Korea, Panama, and Iraq in which Durant participated. Each episode resonates with the sense of bonding among combat brethren, and the professional esprit and conviction behind mottoes such as "NSDQ" (Night Stalkers Don't Quit), as exemplified by Durant's squadron mates who flew above the embattled city in the days after his shoot-down, broadcasting: "Mike Durant-. We will not leave without you." A dramatic narrative by a talented storyteller.
Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (May 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399150609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399150609
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
IN THE COMPANY OF HEROES, by Mike Durant is an exceptional read ... heartbreaking and heroic and stunning in its honesty and humility. For those who don't remember (how could you not?), Durant was the Blackhawk pilot shot down over Mogadishu in 93 and held by Adid for 10 days. Although he contributed to Mark Bowden's BLACK HAWK DOWN (an exceptional piece of journalism, to be sure), this is the first time Durant has gone public with more than a perfunctory detailing of the events of his capture and his time as a POW in Mogadishu. It is an exceptional story of courage and the Human capacity to survive, as well as an extraordinary testament to the worth of intelligence, integrity, training and psychological/emotional strength under the most intense of circumstances.
Mike Durant, as he has proven time and time again, is a 100% class act with absolutely no delusions of grandeur. Though never shy about acknowledging his own skills and talents, Durant doesn't indulge in a single self-serving statement throughout the narrative, which includes extensive material on other special ops missions, as well as the Somalia fiasco. Neither does he lavish praise unduly on folks who were doing what they are trained and paid to do. What he does do is call it exactly as it happened to him, avoiding undue political rhetoric and unfailingly giving credit to those who kept him alive and brought him home.
Through his eyes, we see the men Donavan Briley and Cliff Wolcott and others lost in Somalia were -- not only as soldiers, but also as friends. By showing us the loss these men are to Durant personally, we begin to feel the loss such men always are to the country they serve at cost of life and limb.
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Format: Hardcover
There are certain phrases that the families of soldiers never want to hear: "wounded in action", "missing in action", "killed in action", and "prisoner of war." But every time the United States enters a conflict, it is almost inevitable that some wife or husband, some mother or father, or some child will hear those words. They are words that many of us will never really understand. Even with the advent of imbedded reporters and glamorized battle coverage on television, there are some aspects of war that the average American simply cannot comprehend. But in 1993, the family of CW4 Michael J. Durant would learn about the true horrors of war.
For those who have read Mark Bowden's BLACK HAWK DOWN or seen the movie, Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Durant is a familiar character. He was one of the Black Hawk pilots shot down in the United Nations' peacekeeping effort in Somalia. Fortunately for Durant, he was not killed in the crash or the frenetic firefight that ensued. Rather, he was dragged through the streets with a fractured leg and broken back, loaded into a pickup truck, and held hostage by a Somalian militia. During his ten days of captivity, Durant was held in filthy "prisons", shot by angry militiamen, and given only aspirin for the pain caused by his wounds. But during his entire ordeal, Durant and his positive attitude survived. In fact, even his captors were eventually mesmerized by him in a somewhat reversed kind of "Stockholm Syndrome." They gave him a radio through which he kept up with the peacekeeping efforts and received dedications from other soldiers in his unit. They fed him more food than he could eat, bathed him, and allowed him to read his Bible.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was hard to put down. Durant's writing style and sense of humor make it compelling, as if you're hearing a story from a good friend.
The slices of his life besides his captivity in Somalia also give insight into this man and show how they forged his will and gave him the ability to survive his 10 days in captivity and keep his mind intact.
I'd reccomend this book to anyone who has read Black Hawk Down; especially if you think Bowden came off as a Clinton apologist. Durant expresses the feelings of every red-blooded American Serviceman who has served durring the past 10 years!
I found one small error in the book and even it was probably just an oversimplification and not crucial to the plot, itself. Other than that, it's earned a place of honor on my bookshelf. One that is increasingly becoming more "Army" than "Marines". I left the Corps 10 years ago and I'm going into the Army in the next 10 days!
All we need now is for this story to be turned into a movie and done well. The small piece of it shown in Black Hawk Down does not do this man any justice.
Thank you, Michael Durant. God Bless you and your family! Semper Fi! Hoo-Ah! NSDQ!
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Format: Hardcover
An incredible story indeed. And so personal, especially at the end. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for Mike to write this book and risk opening wounds. Especially the letter from Stephanie Shughart. There is a lot of wisdom in his words and a lot of it I took to heart. This is a book I couldn't put down and couldn't wait to pick back up when I had the chance. It made a hugh impression on me. I'm so thankful for men (and women) like Mike Durant. Honor and pride in their work, their duty to their country and to each other. It's not all play for them. Protecting the country doesn't just happen when they get the call. Twenty-four hour preparedness is what it takes. Read this book and you'll understand and next time you meet someone in the US Military, you'll want to thank them.
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