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If Only I Had Known: A True Story Hardcover – October 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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About the Author

William H. Dodson, Ph.D., is the former superintendent of Pearl Public Schools in Pearl, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson. Pearl High School, the scene of the attack, received the Blue Ribbon award for academic achievement. Dodson is the former president of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators, and is currently the trustee of a local community college where he is also an adjunct professor.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 197 pages
  • Publisher: International Focus Press; First edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096391037X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963910370
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a student at Pearl High School when the events of October 1, 1997, unfolded. I was late to school that day. This book had a lot of interesting information about how to identify potentially troubled students (without stigmatizing them) and to help prevent these types of tragedies again.

I grew up in Pearl, going to school there from kindergarten through high school graduation. This book was hard to read at times. I knew Luke, as well as one of the students that he killed, Lydia. We had a class together. She was such a sweet and shy girl. Some days I still can't believe it happened. I also knew Luke's mother. The interviews with Luke in prison were interesting, as well as the chapter written by the "unlikely juror." The first-hand accounts from teachers (many of them had taught me) as well as administrators, was heart-breaking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a graduate of Pearl High School, so this book is extra special to me. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I had no idea that Dr. Dodson had written a book until they interviewed him on our local news after the Sandy Hook tragedy. I couldn't wait to get it. The details of that tragic day make you feel like you were there. Highly recommend!
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Format: Hardcover
IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN is an excellent book, factual and well written by an educator/author that actually experienced a school tragedy. Every educator and parent would gain greatly by reading this book. Answers and strategies are stated as schools across our nation strive to stop attacks and threats---keeping school campuses safe. A valuable book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
MY name is Missy Summerlin. I graduated from Pearl High School in 1992. Although I had already graduated when the shooting happened, I still feel a part of this story because it sent such shock waves through our community. Now, as a parent of a Freshman at Pearl High School, I feel like I have a responsibility to read this book. It really has opened my eyes...Not only to the events on and around that horrible day, but also to things that can be done to prevent this from happening again.

I thought I knew the story of Luke Woodham's rampage. Everyone had talked about the story of what happened, but while reading this book I felt like I was there. There were times that I had to stop reading because I was crying so hard. I also feel like having the writings and interviews with Luke made it even more interesting because we are able to see his reasoning for why he did this.

This book is a MUST READ!!!!!!!! The writing is very personal, because Dr. Dodson was there in Pearl, living through this and trying to help his students, faculty, and the whole community understand how this could happen in our "normal" town.

We have a saying in Pearl..."It's a great day to be a Pirate!!"... I think that this book reminded me of why it really is a great day to be a pirate. It tells the true story of brave faculty, students, and administration that, when faced with unimaginable tragedy, were able to lift each other up and heal a community.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In one sense, this is a very disturbing read. It depicts the horrific account of a teenage mass murderer, one of the first mainstream media school shooting stories. This book does something different than other similar literature does; it outlines a plan of prevention. Dr. Dodson was there, he saw this horror unfold and questioned himself, as others certainly did, could I have done more to prevent this? This book can help administrators as well as businesses recognize potential danger before it occurs. It is an important read for anyone.

Please bear in mind, when I say disturbing, I do not use that term lightly. The boy in question was deeply disturbed and this book goes into graphic detail about many of the horrific things that he did before and up to the murders.
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