Author: Dave Cullen
Publisher: Twelve 2009
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Library Love; Nonfiction - 5 Star Read for a Friend
"The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . ."
So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Parkland, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.
What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror of Columbine left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book -- widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, Cullen draws on mountains of evidence, insights from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings -- several reproduced in a new appendix for the paperback.
In this New York Times bestselling work, Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers, who stand in stark contrast against the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors of the Columbine massacre.
This is one of those books that I feel like many should read, but you aren’t really going to enjoy it. There’s nothing particularly feel good in this account of the Columbine shooting, the origin of the idea, and the aftermath of the event. We meet the various people involved diving into some of their lives pretty deeply. A good portion of this book is given over to attempting to understand the shooters. We follow them as they plan one of the deadliest school shootings in America’s history. This book is not for the faint of heart. There are passages that are particularly hard to read. But yet, I felt like I needed to read this one to understand the state of school shootings today. I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened. This volume brings back all the memories of seeing this play out on the television and my own school’s reaction. Based on an interview with Dave Cullen that I recently read, I would like to pick up his newest book, Parkland. He describes them as bookends on the topic of school shootings.
Next up on the TBR pile: