Columbine by Dave Cullen


 Goodreads Summary: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.

My Thoughts:

Going into this book I knew next to nothing about Columbine. I knew it was a shooting that occurred in the 90s and that was about it. I never heard anyone talk about it, and the only reason I knew about it was because of a few books I’ve read.I went into this book not knowing a single thing about what happened on April 20th 1999 and came out with a comprehensive understanding of the before and afters of this event.If you’re even slightly curious about Columbine,this a really great book that explains everything. Not only does it talk about the killers: Eric Harris and Dylan Kleobold but it also talks about the people who survived and those who didn’t. With  events like these, you’re always left wondering what happened after, and this book really gives insight onto this. Though the names of the killers may be widely recognized, those that were killed are less widely known.

This book is very thorough. It talks about everything from how they got the guns to how the investigators dealt with the Columbine shooting. Every single bit of information that was relevant was included. Dave Cullen  wrote articles about the Columbine shooting and like  a lot of the press his information was incorrect. Dave states in the beginning that he hopes this book will remedy that, and I really think it did.

I don’t ever read non-fiction books, it’s something I really want to read but I think that there’s a lot of dry books out there. Columbine captivated my attention and wasn’t dry and boring. It was concise, well written and I was able to understand what Cullen was trying to say. I don’t  think I truly understood what I was reading, until halfway through the book I Googled the Columbine shooting.Seeing pictures of the victims, and the killers made it so much more real.This actually happened, and while when you read fiction you can dismiss what happens as improbable and unlikely,this was 100% real. And it was a hard realization,it’s one thing to hear about a shooting,it’s another  thing to have a 370 page book detailing everything that happened. It makes all the more real, and terrifying.

It’s important to read books like this, so that as a society we can understand the people behind the murders and try to prevent mass shootings. This book really shows just how many people were effected by this.To them it wasn’t another news story, it was real life, and I think that’s important to realize. We’ve gotten so used to seeing school shootings on the news, that when one or two people die,no one pays attention. In June 50 people were killed in Orlando, and it’s been only four months, and it’s gone to the back of everyone mind. If we see these school shootings as just another news story,it’s never going to stop.

This is a tough read, but if you think you can handle it, I would highly recommend that you read it.

If you’ve read this book what did you think?Do you have any non-fiction book recommendations?