Ten years in the works, a masterpiece of reportage, this is the definitive account of the Columbine massacre, its aftermath, and its significance, from the acclaimed journalist who followed the story from the outset.
"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 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 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, 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.
Expanded with a New Epilogue
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Growing up in Littleton, Colorado, I felt like I had a good grasp of the events that took place during and after the shootings. This book opened my eyes.
In the ten years since the shootings, the dozens of parallel investigations, coverups and the families' recovery has become the real story.
Columbine presents a thoroughly researched, detailed account of the events in a captivating way, as well as a very detailed examination of how two boys from a suburban community could have gone virtually unnoticed while planning and executing such a horrible act.
A highly recommended read.
Fiction at it's finest
Shame on Cullen for selling out for 15 mins of fame. THIS IS NOT THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ON COLUMBINE. Cullen sold out to mainstream media to hush up the bullying rumors, period. He claims the killers were not bullied because they didn't write it in their journal, of course they didn't they knew their journals would be read and they wanted to portray a certain image and I resent that he makes light of this fact. They were not popular and were picked on, also the assessment that Eric was some Casanova and got laid is a joke he and Dylan died virgins, for the truth about Columbine read Brooks Brown's book. Simply put in a court of law do you believe people who had first hand knowledge ( Brooks Brown & many others that actually knew both boys ) or some fiction author who makes things up and wasn't even there? There are soo many lies told in this book it is unfortunate that Cullen is a coward and decided for a little fame he would lie about these boys in death, so disgusting. Anyone interested in reading the truth don't buy this book, educate yourself before you buy and research. I also strongly disagree with the portrayal of Eric as a psychopath he was angry yes, very angry but he felt emotion and psychopaths have no emotion. Dylan was the one that fooled everyone because he hid his emotions and it also angers me that he places most of the blame on Eric portraying Dylan as some hapless follower unable to think for himself give me a break! Both are equally responsible. April 20, 1999 was a tragic day in history and there were 15 victims. I blame the school and the people that bullied these two, there is never a time it is ok to look the other way when someone is being bullied and CHS can make believe it didn't happen and so can Cullen with his fictional tale but the friends of Eric & Dylan told the truth.
There will never be an answer to “why?”...
and the author acknowledges that early and often. Instead, we get a well researched “how?” that draws on a variety of perspectives to piece together the timeline of events leading up to and following the tragedy. The blame is placed squarely on the killers, where it belongs, without glossing over the warning signs that were missed and/or misunderstood.