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Columbine Paperback – Bargain Price, March 3, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this remarkable account of the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting, journalist Cullen not only dispels several of the prevailing myths about the event but tackles the hardest question of all: why did it happen? Drawing on extensive interviews, police reports and his own reporting, Cullen meticulously pieces together what happened when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves. The media spin was that specific students, namely jocks, were targeted and that Dylan and Eric were members of the Trench Coat Mafia. According to Cullen, they lived apparently normal lives, but under the surface lay an angry, erratic depressive (Klebold) and a sadistic psychopath (Harris), together forming a combustible pair. They planned the massacre for a year, outlining their intentions for massive carnage in extensive journals and video diaries. Cullen expertly balances the psychological analysis—enhanced by several of the nation's leading experts on psychopathology—with an examination of the shooting's effects on survivors, victims' families and the Columbine community. Readers will come away from Cullen's unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren't easy to stomach. (Apr. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Many reviewers were more concerned with coming to grips with the attack rather than assessing the book, but their concern may be a testament to Cullen’s work. His reporting fundamentally reframes the event: Columbine, he writes, should be thought of as a failed bombing rather than a school shooting. Furthermore, much of the conventional wisdom about how to prevent such attacks—essentially, watch out for pimply outcasts with a grudge—is confounded by an investigation into Harris’s and Klebold’s actual lives. Most critics, with Janet Maslin a notable exception, thought that Cullen’s account helps us to better wring meaning from the tragedy. In sum, Columbine “is an excellent work of media criticism, showing how legends become truths through continual citation” (New York Times Book Review).
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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a very interesting way, moving you through the town, into the killer's minds, into the high school itself, etc.
Of course here we do not know if this is a fascinating book or a fascinating (in the morbid sense of the word) event in history that keeps us glued to page after page. It is not a book for everyone but for those who want to understand today's youth,
to understand what they suffer, how they think and to what horrible ends they could reach for to end their suffering. It raises the questions, among many, of who are our children, how we don't know them, not really, and how vulnerable we all are to these
This was not evil visiting Columbine - just good old fashioned human nature in all it's varied and terrifying manifestations. The interaction of a psychopath and a weak willing participant. It may be impossible to fully comprehend the why of Columbine but it was certainly more complex than just "bad guys with guns": it was all of that to some extent but a great deal more.
Thoroughly recommend this book.
Oh, and the book was delivered very promptly and brand new as advertised.
Cullen begins by explaining the killers Eric and Dylan. In the beginning, he uses the boys' journals, tapes, and family interviews to negate the media's portrayal of the boys. He shows the boys are not entirely outcasts at their school and participate in normal teenage dilemmas such as finding prom dates. He uses interviews from family members and acquaintances to explain Eric's inescapable charm and Dylan's defeating shyness. He later uses F.B.I. agent Dwayne Fuselier's examinations of the boys to explain Eric's cool disposition to be caused by the inability to feel human emotion, or psychopathy. Cullen also uses Fuselier to explain Dylan's depression, which lead to his acceptance of Eric's idea to commit suicide.
Next, Cullen gives the reader details about each victim's pain both during the tragedy and afterwards. Specifically, he gives graphic information concerning victims such as Patrick Ireland's experience of being shot in the head, and his determination to escape the school during the shooting. Cullen goes on towards the end of the book to narrate the victims' lives after the shooting such as Patrick's graduation, and later marriage.
Finally, one of the most devastating parts of this book is the media's role in the tragedy. Cullen explains how the media misinformed the public because of its insistence to report as fast as possible. News reporters took information from unreliable students, who were oblivious as to even the existence of the shooters, while also broadcasting false facts from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Cullen explains how the media, himself included, created false identities of the boys, while also placing the blame in numerous undeserving places.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for those who are interesting in learning the actual occurrences before, during, and after the Columbine shooting. Although the format, which switches points of view rapidly, is not ideal, the facts in this book are overpoweringly enthralling. For prospective readers I also recommend having a box of tissues nearby, because the experience of the victims can become overwhelming.
Most recent customer reviews
We will not ever understand these tragic events. They will last our lifetime, they have left a footprint that will survive as along as the earth...Read more