A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.
Nineteen years ago, Dave Cullen was among the first to arrive at Columbine High, even before most of the SWAT teams went in. While writing his acclaimed account of the tragedy, he suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD. He covered all the later tragedies from a distance, working with a cadre of experts cultivated from academia and the FBI, but swore he would never return to the scene of a ghastly crime.
But in March 2018, Cullen went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because something radically different was happening. In nearly twenty years witnessing the mass shootings epidemic escalate, he was stunned and awed by the courage, anger, and conviction of the high school’s students. Refusing to allow adults and the media to shape their story, these remarkable adolescents took control, using their grief as a catalyst for change, transforming tragedy into a movement of astonishing hope that has galvanized a nation.
Cullen unfolds the story of Parkland through the voices of key participants whose diverse personalities and outlooks comprise every facet of the movement. Instead of taking us into the mind of the killer, he takes us into the hearts of the Douglas students as they cope with the common concerns of high school students everywhere—awaiting college acceptance letters, studying for mid-term exams, competing against their athletic rivals, putting together the yearbook, staging the musical Spring Awakening, enjoying prom and graduation—while moving forward from a horrific event that has altered them forever.
Deeply researched and beautifully told, Parkland is an in-depth examination of this pivotal moment in American culture—and an up-close portrait that reveals what these extraordinary young people are like. As it celebrates the passion of these astonishing students who are making history, this spellbinding book is an inspiring call to action for lasting change.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Columbine author Dave Cullen returns with his decisive and moving portrait of a group of teenagers pushing to turn tragedy into positive change. In February 2018, seventeen people died in a shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the wake of the bloodbath, surviving students channeled social media and their visceral sense of urgency to launch March for Our Lives, calling for common-sense gun control. Cullen’s brisk and absorbing chronicle paints incisive portraits of seemingly ordinary kids trying to accomplish something remarkable. Parkland is a compelling chronicle of a social movement launched by people who refuse to believe they can’t make a difference.
School shootings are horrors, but, as journalist Cullen (Columbine) depicts in this page-turner, something hopeful has risen phoenixlike from the Valentine's Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.: an eloquent, organized group of survivors who have become nonpartisan activists for reasonable gun control. "There are strains of sadness woven into this story," he writes, "but this is not an account of grief." Cullen, who got to know the students over 11 months, recounts how the movement began the day of the shooting, with David Hogg's first plea for calls to congresspeople on national television; grew as the Parkland activists forged connections with less-heralded teens advocating against gun violence in Chicago; and led to the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Along the way, he draws nuanced portraits of several students, among them Jackie Corin, a preternaturally organized junior who handles logistics and event planning, and Cameron Kasky, a theater kid who was the first to tweet #NeverAgain. Cullen makes sure they come across as "kids, because that's who they are"; despite their unusual maturity, they get tired, act out, break down. Both realistic and optimistic, this insightful and compassionate chronicle is a fitting testament to a new chapter in American responses to mass shootings.)\n