Friday, April 10, 2009

Columbine by Dave Cullen

When I first saw early reviews of this book, my first reaction was, "Why would anyone want to read about this?" The more I thought about it, though, the more intrigued I became. It has been almost 10 years since that infamous day in April, 1999 - what have we learned? School shootings continue to pepper the news periodically, some more infamous than others. The NIU shootings of 2008 hit especially close to home. Is there anything to be learned from these acts of violence?

We're all familiar with the myths surrounding Columbine: the killers were targeting jocks; they were members of the "Trench Coat Mafia;" they were acting out after being bullied. Dave Cullen, a journalist who began covering the story the day it happened, reviews the thousands of pages of documents relating to the crime, as well as journals and videos of the killers in order to answer the questions: Why? What really happened? The answers are both enlightening and chilling.

This book is true crime writing at its finest. Despite the difficult nature of the book, it was almost impossible to put down. Cullen's exhaustive research is evident in the details, not only of the crime itself, but of the planning, investigation, and impact on the families directly affected as well as the community as a whole. This was a fascinating, but frightening, book to read. For further information, see the book trailer:

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