**THE GROUNDBREAKING BESTSELLER AND CLASSIC**
'Excellent . . . amazing how much still comes as a surprise' New York Times Book Review
'Like Capote's In Cold Blood, this tour de force gets below the who and the what of a horrifying incident to lay bare the devastating why' People
'A staggering work of journalism' Washington Post
'The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror...' So begins the epilogue, illustrating how Columbine has become the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It makes the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this flame more urgent than ever.
What really happened on April 20th, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we thought we knew was wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths or the Trench Coast Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on the scene, and he spent ten years on this book, the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists , and the killers' own words and drawings - several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.
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.