Columbine

 
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On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma-City style, and to leave "a lasting impression on the world." Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting "another Columbine."


When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window -- the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal.


The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who came to stockpile a basement cache of weapons, to record their raging hatred, and to manipulate every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boy's tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy.


In the tradition of HELTER SKELTER and IN COLD BLOOD, COLUMBINE is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of hatred, a community rendered helpless, and the police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers-an unforgettable cautionary tale for our times.

Customer Reviews:

  • One of the best and most important books of 2009
    A must read for anyone interested in how Americans live their lives.

    One of the very best books of the year, I can't recommend this one highly enough. Though you may not "enjoy" reading about the two mass murderers, the book is incredibly well written and insightful: and provides a thorough and balanced look at the town, school, parents, kids, and killers....more info
  • The "Psycopath" Bandwagon
    Columbine makes for an interesing read for anyone who has teenaged children or who is involved with his local schools.

    The books flaw is that the author seems blinded to the impact of the US mass electronic entertainment media and what they teach our young persons. Instead Mr. Cullen seems bent on proving his point that Harris was a murdering psycopath.

    Graphic, over-the-top violence is perpetrated on TV and at the movies at epidemic levels. Profligate and inappropriate gunplay is the norm and kids learn this at a very young age. Film ratings don't deter any kid -- "cool" parents of friends allow the kids to watch nearly anything at sleepovers. Older siblings do, too. Metroplexes allow kids to wander among the various films, age-appropriate or not.

    Our mass entertainment culture is high on ubiquitous death and destrution while being low on ethics and consequences.

    How does all this affect our kids? It certainly affected murderers Harris and Kliebold: Their code-name for their rampage was based on a violent Hollywood film.

    Mr. Cullen ignores all of this. But the influences that the two teenage murders shared were continous access to TV, computers and violent movies.
    He doesn't say it, but I'm willing to bet big that both kids had TV's in their rooms. He admits to their obseesion with violent video games and taste for "action" movies, but doesn't conclude anything from this.

    Missing the point, Mr. Cullen hints that gun laws need to be more restrictive, but the murderers broke existing federal and state gunlaws --straw purchases, illegal purchases, NFA short-barreled weapons prohibitions, etc. --- in order to commit their crimes. On the other hand, Mr. Cullen doesn't mention a thing about restricting propane, but reports that Harris's primary intention was to blow up the school by using mobile cannisters of the highly flammable gas/liquid.

    Finally, the author concludes that the two murderers give up shooting helpless students, because they grew bored with their grisly tasks. Perhaps the students sickened from the gore -- and the 30 or so students who writhing in pain in puddles of their own blood. The point blank shooting of your peers isn't as easy as it is portrayed to be on TV. The murderers probably didn't have the stomach for it. Ask yourself, who would?

    Columbine would have been a better book had the author not configured it to prove a point -- that this awful event was caused by psycopath Harris. Rather than adopting this view, Mr. Cullen should have considered it as one of the possibilities. He should have presented other possibilities as well, such as brainwashing by a pervasive and irresponsible Hollywood.

    And Mr. Cullen never, ever answers the question: Where in the heck were the parents?
    ...more info
  • Compelling and Compassionate
    In his book about the Columbine High School massacre, Dave Cullen takes a very objective and compassionate look back at the events leading up to and those that have occurred since the tragedy. From the first line of the first chapter, Mr. Cullen drives the reader to the end, never lessening the pace, never taking a side and never leaving a thread hanging. This book is horrifying... not for the faint at heart. But for those working with kids, this book is a must....more info
  • A clear-headed account, much needed
    In prose that is both brisk and colloquial, Dave Cullen illuminates the Columbine tragedy in a manner no other journalist has since April 20, 1999. Though Columbine is traditionally thought of as the archetypal "school shooting," Cullen forcefully argues--with a wealth of documentary evidence to back him up--that it was truly neither. It was intended as a bombing--domestic terrorism on a grand scale--and the killers merely chose the target with which they were most familiar: their own high school.

    Cullen tells the story twice. The first part of the book is a fairly chronological unfolding of events, beginning with the Columbine principal's exhortation to seniors to be careful during Prom weekend (Columbine's prom took place the weekend preceding the shooting). This is the way most Americans saw the story played out: terrified teenagers running out of the school with their hands in the air and vague stories of angry and troubled Trenchcoat Mafia members taking aim at those who bullied them.

    Then, masterfully balancing three storylines, Cullen retells the story, deftly juggling the horrifying events of the actual shooting, the lives of Klebold and Harris in the year leading up to the murders, and the stories of the survivors themselves. This three-pronged approach could be confusing in the hands of a lesser writer, but Cullen's approach works: with each chapter, a clear, focused, and horrifying picture emerges, and you feel you finally understand what happened and--as much as is humanly possible--why.

    Cullen paints fascinating portraits of the killers themselves: the remorseless and reptilian Harris and the volatile, malleable, and ultimately pathetic Klebold. He also tells the stories of the survivors, particularly Patrick Ireland and Linda Sanders (widow of teacher Dave Sanders) in a straightforward way, understanding that the mere facts of their experience are enough to generate our sympathy. The chapter on the very private--in fact, almost secretive--funeral service for Dylan Klebold is particularly heartrending.

    There are many Columbine stories: police ineptitude and corruption, the media's haste to ascribe motives to two boys they knew nothing about, the story of Cassie Bernall's supposed martyrdom in the Columbine library, the students heroic efforts to save teacher Dave Sanders, the lawsuits that emerged in the months after the tragedy--it's all here. In a mere 400 pages, Cullen helps us understand how each part relates to the other. An impressive achievement....more info
  • A must read for young people, parents, educators . . . Oh! Make that everyone.
    Best book I've read in the last 15 years. Yes, it's a gruesome story of two students at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 who assault the school with bombs and assorted guns killing 12 students, 1 teacher, and later themselves for a total of 15 dead, scores wounded--the largest number of dead in a school shooting until Virginia Tech in 2007. Cullen spent ten years researching and writing this book with the goal of telling the "real" story of this unfortunate incident and its aftermath. So, this is a story of the two murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Columbine High School and its administration and students, how the tragedy was handled by the mass media and law enforcement, the aftermath of the shootings, and, finally a setting straight of the record of what actually happened that terrible day. The public's perception of what was reported at the time is extremely different from the truth Cullen reports. What a read! Each component of the book provides food for thought for the reader. For me, the most gut-wrenching part of the book deals with the killers' farewell video to their parents just before they begin their dastardly killing spree. Both sets of parents are told by the boys that they love them and that their parents are not to blame for what they are about to do. Harris quotes Shakespeare[from "The Tempest":]: "Good wombs have borne bad sons." ...more info
  • Objective Truth
    I found Dave Cullen's perspective to be an objective and knowledgeable one. He meticulously pieced together a narrative out of thousands of articles, videos, interviews, and pieces of direct evidence, to tell the story in a linear fashion. I am pleased that I now know the truth, and have put an end to my earlier notions of this tragedy that were largely based on media-driven myths. Reading this book has changed everything I believed about the shooting at Columbine....more info
  • Columbine
    An outstanding book, well written and the author made you feel as though you could see and feel what happened....more info
  • Excellent, heart breaking and eye opening!
    Columbine is one of those words that when you hear it, an instant image comes to mind. It is in our lexicon alongside 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. For far too long it was a story that had too many inaccuracies and one where the media help to pursue myth over fact. Dave Cullen does an amazing job of destroying a series of myths that needed to be destroyed.

    I think one of the great things he does in this book is to make both perpetrators the villains they should so rightly be, without demonizing their families. He does a very credible job of showing how they were basically psychopaths on a suicide spree who are rightly remembered as pathetic losers who killed people much better than them. I think Cullen is right to spend a great deal of time analyzing them but at the same time showing them for the evil human beings they really are.

    Cullen also does a great job of portraying the victims without making them out to be saints and in one case he takes the very careful step of debating if one person really was the martyr she was later claimed to be, without bashing those who believe she was or wasn't. He also does a wonderful job at showing how hard it was for some people to adjust to the after effects without making it seem like they were cold or overly emotional. Lastly, he shows how the police spent more time covering up for their own blunders then they did trying to examine the case and learn from it.

    All in all, this is a very good read and I would strong recommend it for someone who wants not only great analysis of a still controversial story, but for those who want to see what really happened at Columbine. ...more info
  • Written from Index Cards
    I agree with Mr. Houser. This book reads like a set of index cards have been put in order, reordered, and strung together consecutively to form a narrative that does not flow well. The disappointing result is that it's not a compelling book. It feels like reading a term paper.

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  • If we do not understand our past, we will repeat it
    This book on Columbine is most definitive answer I have read. Difficult to read but important to understanding how terror and destruction can happen. Although at the end, still question of why....more info
  • An Exhaustive Review
    Dave Cullen looks at every aspect of this tragedy.
    You feel like you know the killers, and many of those touched by this.
    Bullying got nothing to do with it. This is about two boys who were profoundly mentally ill. ...more info
  • A Place to Begin
    I ordered Columbine with some trepidation. I was sitting in an office in Boulder on April 20, 1999, and I learned the next day that one of my employees was a graduate of the Trench Coat Mafia. Having been treated to the bullying and entitlement of successful football jocks myself fifty years ago, I bought the whole myth behind what happened on that tragic day in the Denver burbs. And three years later, I moved to Englewood, only a long walk from Clement Park and the scene of the attack.

    I haven't read any of the other books, because I thought I knew what I needed to know. Now, with Cullen's account, I think I grasp what happened that day with a new, unprejudiced eye.

    This is not a first-hand account, though Cullen relies heavily on first-hand accounts to supplement exhaustive research through the tens of thousands of pages of evidence. It doesn't have a personal agenda (beyond the reasonable one of making some money for his labors). It doesn't challenge the myths with rhetoric but with evidence. And it accounts for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in a way that is convincing but certainly not, as some have claimed, comforting. It doesn't demonize anyone, though the police emerge as incompetent and self-serving. But again, that judgment rests on facts, the most telling of which is the fate of the teacher who bled to death during the two hours the Police spent tiptoeing through the school AFTER Harris and Klebold committed suicide.

    One remarkable thing about the book is that Cullen finds a "good story" to tell, to palliate the horrors. Patrick Ireland's recovery from his injuries is heroic, and his story is woven through the tragedies. You will read complaints about the book's structure; it ain't so. By switching back and forth between the crime itself -- planned for a year and executed with an ineptitude we can only be grateful for -- and the aftermath, Cullen avoids false climaxes and sensationalism.

    That said, I have a quibble with Cullen's conclusions that I have to raise. He presents convincing evidence that a clinical psychopath has a neurological disorder, and that Harris was a casebook psychopath. I can accept all that, including the belated diagnosis of Harris, which is backed up by respected experts in the sciences of the mind. But no, failure of empathy is not JUST a neurological disability. We learn empathy, growing it in a fertile field Harris may have lacked. Empathy is not a zero-sum fact (you have it, or you don't), it's situational.

    For example, I have deep empathy for animals, but there is no question that my level of empathy is governed by species identities. I treat mammals the way I treat people. But every morning I wash the ants who accumulated overnight on the edge of my dog's food dish down the drain without a second thought. I'm not proud of it, and I could make the intellectual effort to extend empathic behavior to them, but the fact remains that my empathy for dogs is "instinctive," not a conscious decision.

    A trivial comparison, perhaps, but I think not. There is no question in my mind that the victims of the Holocaust -- Jews, Gypsies, gays, Slavs -- met their fate because in some visceral way their suffering didn't matter to people. We can educate ourselves to care, though, and that is a duty we all have to life.

    ...more info
  • Ripped Off
    Seller never sent my item, also ripped off several other people as well. Will never make purchase on this site again !!!...more info
  • Very informative and straight to the point
    Very informative book. This was the first book I purchased on my Kindle, and I flew through the 400+ pages in about two days. Cullen provides a very descriptive account of Columbine and the events leading up, while at the same time dispelling many myths about the event, and maintaining overall impartiality the entire time. A very somber, but very interesting read....more info
  • Tragedy
    Ten years ago we experienced the tragedy we have come to know as "Columbine". I have spent the last ten years wondering what those boys were like and what drove them to do what they did. I have waited 10 years for this book. I was not disappointed. Mr. Cullen's account is even handed and thurough. Mr. Cullen's research is extraordinary. He debunks many of the myths that have grown up around this tragedy. This is one of the BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR!!!...more info
  • Best book on Columbine
    I've read this book, along with No Easy Answers by Brooks Brown. This book is very informative, and Cullen's answer why Harris and Klebold killed is more believable than what has been claimed over the years. Cullen says that Harris and Klebold killed not because they were bullied, but because they wanted to be immortalized in history. While I do believe that they were bullied, Klebold himself bullied others, such as Adam Kyler. Kyler was teased because he had a learning disorder. Also, from what little bit of quotes have been released from the basement tapes, we know that the killers wanted to blow up the entire school, and were aware that they may even kill some of their own friends. What I am saying is that Harris and Klebold were not innocent of bullying others, and were not targeting only jocks, preps, and minorities. Cullen clarifies the truth and dispels these myths. The only thing I may disagree with is whether or not Harris was a sociopath/psychopath. We just don't know this, but I understand why Cullen included it. ...more info
  • Fascinating Read
    When Columbine occurred, I didn't pay much attention except to what was reported on the news. This book goes into great detail about the tragedy. The author has obviously spent a lot of time researching the story. The book gives the reader insight into the people involved and what really happened. The sadness is overwhelming. One feels the pain of the parents who lost children that day. It is every parents worst nightmare. There is also sorrow for the parents of the two killers. They did not commit the crime. They raised their children as best they could, as we all do. People need to lay blame somewhere. And it lands squarely on the shoulders of the parents of Eric and Dylan. Not only do they have to deal with the deaths of their own children and the horrible thing they have done, but they have a whole community that despises them. I understand both sides, all are dealing with loses. But the parents of the killers deserve empathy. Just as the children who perished could have been one of our kids, so too could Eric or Dylan have been, even if we don't want to admit it....more info
  • good to catch up on
    If like me, you have not read anything since these events happened, this is a readable history making use of recently released information. Some may take the author to task, but he does a good job of putting us in that time and place....more info
  • Not the truth
    After reading this book, pen in hand, my copy was so marked up with scrawls and underlining that there might have been a second book written in the margins. I wish I could say it was praise for the author's insight into the Columbine tragedy, but instead it was sheer incredulity at the number of mistakes, lies, and misperception Cullen is trying to pass off as truth. If your only exposure to Columbine was watching it unfold live on tv, and then maybe reading a few magazine articles, you will probably rate this book five stars.

    But if you've spent years studying Columbine and other school shootings, if you've read the 12,000+ documents available online (including the witness interviews and the the shooters' journals) you be able to understand how Cullen seems to be deliberately twisting the truth in order to present a neat little explanation that lets nearly everyone off the hook and lets us all feel good about our schools and our society. This entire book is filled with little but speculation, stated as fact, often with nothing whatever to back it up, or to explain why he comes to those conclusions.

    Some of the mistakes are minor, such as the tidbit that all the school shooters during the years 1997-1998 were 'white boys'. Most mistakes were a great deal less minor, such as Cullen's repeated assertion that Eric Harris "Got chicks. Lots and lots of chicks", he "had scored with a 23 year old when he was only seventeen" and he "outscored much of the football team". Yet, according to Cullen (and Eric's own journal) Eric died a virgin. Cullen goes on and on about those 'chicks', stamping in his own idea that Eric was hugely popular at Columbine, yet he never manages to explain why, if that was the case, Eric was completely unable to "get any". A better explanation, and one that fits the interviews with those who actually attended Columbine, was that Eric was *not* "ranked just under the football team" in popularity, but was actually near the bottom as far as the pecking order of High School. Another example is where Cullen claims that Eric didn't know that he had been rejected by the Marine recruiter (for being on the drug Luvox). Not only was Eric in the room, when the recruiter said that Luvox "would be a problem" and that Eric "would have to have been off the drug a year before he would join", but Eric also told several of his friends that he had been rejected. Cullen says Eric "had no interest in the Marines", but Eric's journal tells another story: "I would have been a great Marine, it would have given me a chance to be good".

    Cullen says "there's no evidence that bullying led to murder". He says that "Neither [Eric or Dylan:] complained about bullies picking on them". This is a completely false assertion. There are many, many eyewitness accounts of them being bullied, there is a video of Dylan being slammed into a locker, and there is this statement, straight from Eric's journal: "Everyone is always making fun of me because of how I look, how weak I am and [profanity deleted], well I will get you all back: ultimate [profanity deleted] revenge here." During the shooting, they tell everyone wearing white hats to stand up. Cullen gives this quote, but never bothers to explain that it was the jocks who wore white hats at Columbine. He also leaves out the fact that both boys told victims during the shooting that "this was for all the [profanity deleted] you put us through".

    Cullen wants us to believe that Eric was simply a psychopath, and that Dylan was his unwilling dupe, despite the fact that IF Eric was (and that's a huge if, since there is too many arguments for him not being a psychopath to list here), it doesn't explain WHY he was a psychopath. He certainly didn't show signs of Juvenile Conduct Disorder growing up, as psychopaths nearly invariably do. By all accounts, Eric was a normal kid, in the beginning. He didn't torture animals or show any other warning signs of a sadistic temperament, according to his friends, teachers, and neighbors. And contrary to the movies, psychopaths are nearly always non-violent and not suicidal. Something happened to Eric and Dylan to make them the way they died. To act out in violent revenge, a person doesn't have to be "psychopathic", he only has to be made to feel as if he is completely worthless, and to have all hope taken away from him. Bullying does this. And at this point, a child will either turn the anger and despair in on himself and commit suicide (as the 11 year old boy did recently) or else, like Eric Harris, he will turn it outward. To say, as Cullen does, that Eric's behavior was a mere accident of birth is to deny everything that we could learn from Columbine. It makes us close our eyes to how we can help other children trapped in this downward spiral of bullying and prevent more violence.

    If Cullen intended to "bust the myths of Columbine" by ignoring everything that didn't fit his theory, he did an excellent job, and this book deserves a full five stars. I just feel sorry that for many people, this will be the "truth" they come away believing in. The thirteen who died in Littleton deserve a better memorial than this book....more info
  • Big Red Flags Nobody Paid Attention!!!!!!
    ColumbineI have been glued to my book from the first page. It's amazing that we hear about school shootings or just a "shooting" and we are so quick wonder why this person or person could do such a horrific act. Then we go about our lives.
    After reading all the background details of what led up do this senseless attack. I found out that there were so many many WARNINGS!!! that some people lives were going be affected and changed forever.
    I know from this moment on I will be very very AWARE of the peoples around me. I will never take for grant it about people's anger and threats.
    BRAVO to Dave Cullen for taking the time to give us the true complete story....more info
  • A for writing, B for reporting
    I read this at the same time as Jeff Kass's book onthe same subject. Both writers have been compared, at least by their publishers, to Truman Capote (the New York Times reviewer said "which book, Breakfast at Tiffany's?"). A major difference is that "In Cold Blood" simply set out to tell a story, whereas these books try to point the finger of blame. Capote also had the unfair advantage of being a genius.
    We read such books looking for some way it could have been prevented, and some way to stop it happening again. We hope for some DSM diagnosis or FBI profile that will label the killers. Maybe we are trying to undo the past. Both books suggest that some of the precautions we take now would not have forestalled Columbine. For example metal detectors would have been useless because Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold started the killing from outside the school, at the top of an outside staircase, and then shot their way in.
    Adolescent suicide is notoriously difficult to predict. Neither killer fitted the usual profile for adolescent murderers. They were white and middle class, with high academic achievements, church affiliations, and even the stay-at-home mothers and disciplinarian fathers that are supposed to be such a panacea against crime. The failure to follow up on Guerra's affidavit requesting a warrant to search Harris's house was the most egregious failure. Both books emphasize the lies and cover-up by the Jeffco sheriff's department. Both books debunk the story of Cassie Bernall's martyrdom and are skeptical about stories of the Trech Coat Mafia and bullying jocks.
    The Kass book lacks an index, which is annoying when there are so many characters to keep track of. It is illustrated with drawings and handwriting done by Klebold and Harris and with photographs. The Cullen book is more elegantly written and produced. It is a smoother and more readable narrative. There are no illustrations. Kass jumps about and describes his research methods. He has dug more diligently and uncovered more facts than Cullen. Cullen erroneously describes Kevin Albert as a psychiatrist. Kass says that he is a psychologist, and that the psychotropic medications were being prescribed by a family doctor. Cullen erroneously says that Luvox was taken off the market. It remains a popular drug and can be prescribed now under its generic name of fluvoxamine. Truman Capote would never have got such mistakes past the fact checkers at the New Yorker.
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  • not non-fiction but an interesting view
    enjoyed this book. thought it showed insight into the other"side". good read that i didnt put down. sometimes it is god to read or hear about this, and remember. well written. ...more info
  • Dark
    A very dark book.

    It is frightening how two young boys go off on a murderous rampage. It is even more frightening in that they did not succeed, for their aim was to blow up the entire school. The propane tank bombs they planted in the school cafeteria and in their two cars did not explode. Their two bombs in the cafeteria were set to go off at lunch when the maximum number of students accumulated in that area. Their car bombs were set to go off later - in an area where students, parents, police would have been watching the dire events.

    Why two young boys from affluent backgrounds would have degenerated to this extent illustrates the perverseness of the human mind.

    The great strength of this book is the author examines Columbine from many different angles - not just the two principal perpetrators. He looks at the tragedy of the victims, the survivors (some of whom have permanent physical disabilities, all have experienced psychological repercussions). One of the most dreadful passages of the story is when the parents received news of the shootings and rushed en masse to the school. Can you imagine their distress as they were waiting for their children to emerge from the school? Some waited the entire day in vain.

    The author describes the police rescue effort. Perhaps the rescue attempt, as Dave Cullen suggest could have been quicker and more effective. But he also mentions that in the moment, the police, the SWAT teams had no idea how many shooters there were and where the shooters were amidst the on-rushing students escaping the school. Entering a large school with fire alarms blaring, water gushing from sprinklers, hundreds of students still sequestered in various rooms, must be disorienting to the best trained personnel.

    Dave Cullen explains Columbine before, during and after. He takes us into the entire atmosphere of Columbine. Before, brings us to a search warrant on the house of Eric Harris (one of the perpetrators) that was never carried out. Eric was accused of death threats against other students. This is the big "What if this warrant had been carried out?" for the Columbine tragedy.

    The author explodes some of the myths - the boys were not Goths, gay or loners. Eric was gregarious - both boys had part-time jobs. Eric orchestrated the plan and day. His outlook was that of extreme nihilism and is a possible warning to us of a future `Eric Harris'. Dylan, his accomplice, by contrast was very depressed with strong feelings of rejection. He may have found a strange solace in Eric's misanthropic rampages. Eric had loads of this hate which he spewed forth verbally, in his written journal, in video-tape and on the internet. The author correctly wants us to avoid simplistic motivations for the tragedy.

    One also feels sadness for the parents of these two boys. They cared about their sons and tried to be good parents. They never wanted their sons to do such an awful thing. One can only imagine the dreams they must sometimes have.


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  • Columbine -- more than you wanted to know about it
    I purchased this book based on a favorable NYT review, and eagerly opened its pages. Of course we all want to know: why did they do it? and how could this terrible, terrible tragedy have been averted? The author does a fine job of indicating why: Eric was a psychopath and Dylan, in Eric's thrall, was seriously depressed. He does a less good job at exploring how this could have been prevented. I personally believe there were so many blaring signs that something was seriously wrong (including what the boys' own parents should have noticed in their bedrooms, in the garage, at their web sites, etc., had they only opened their eyes), that it's really a travesty that noone stopped them. Plus the ready availability of heavy weaponry and advice on the Internet about how to create a bomb didn't help. All that having been said, the book gets seriously boring half-way through. And the author does an awful lot of imagining what might have happened and then reporting it as fact. His indictment of both local law enforcement and the media is probably well deserved, but a little heavy-handed. I'd give it a C+....more info
  • Additional Facts and New Labels for an Old Incident
    Published on the tenth anniversary of the infamous mass murder, David Cullen's COLUMBINE recounts in detail the players and the events surrounding the tragedy that gripped the nation at the namesake high school in Jefferson County, Colorado in April 1999. For the most part, Cullen does a fair job in organizing and presenting what admittedly is a lot of information from various sources -- the investigative authorities, victims, killers' own writings, their friends and families, etc. And to accentuate what would otherwise be too linear of a narrative, Cullens employs a dual chronology throughout the book to flesh out the killers' development (pre-incident) along with the impact their actions had on the community (post-incident). All this makes for an competently entertaining read, but COLUMBINE nevertheless fails to go the extra distance in delivering any meaningful insight into what still remains a tragic mystery.

    The main problem is that Cullens resorts to offering menial points as an explanation for what took place without delving deeper into the reasons for the atrocious incident. In so doing, Cullens commits the same error, which he go gleefully attributes to the local law enforcement authorities and the media -- namely, that of resorting to easy labels and facile explanations for the incident. The end result is that COLUMBINE doesn't quite get the reader any closer to the obvious question of WHY but rather parades new facts (along with the author's insipid observations) about what still remains a pressing mystery: why these two suburban kids from nice families turned into mass murderers.

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  • Good investigative work
    Dave Cullen has done an outstanding job of presenting the facts of the Columbine tragedy. A good read....more info
  • Haunting
    To say that Dave Cullen's comprehensive chronicle of all that was Columbine is haunting, is a dramatic understatement. I finished it more than a week ago and am still rolling it round and round and round in my head. Great book. Obviously well researched and well written. Clears up the myths and examines the frustrating, despicable truth. My heart goes out to all of those touched by the tragedy created by those two lost souls. How do you ever recover? ...more info
  • Beautifully done
    Dave Cullen does an excellent review of the events leading up to the Columbine incident, sticking to the facts and unearthing new evidence in this tragedy. The story line is engaging and the book is thorough in its coverage. ...more info
  • Unputdownable
    Absolutely riveting reading. Thought you knew all there was to know about that horrible day in Colorado? You will be quite stunned by some of the revelations that Dave Cullen has brought to light. It will leave you shaken and stunned. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Columbine
    This book was excellent. I have read quite a bit about Columbine, and I feel like this book is the most thorough, complete covering of the tragedy. There are those who will dispute Cullen's conclusions, but history isn't exact. History isn't as scientific as mathematics and there will always be varying perspectives. However, I believe that as a whole, his book tells the most complete, accurate story of Columbine. He helps provide insight into why the killers did what they did. There will never be a conclusive, absolute answer as to why they did what they did, but Cullen's book comes as close as I believe we will ever get. For anyone that wants to learn about the Columbine tragedy, this book is more thorough and complete than anything else that has been written about the subject. I highly recommend it and believe Dave Cullen knows more about the subject than anyone out there....more info
  • Metabolizing Tragedy
    This is an excellent treatment of a tragic topic. Anyone who is willing to look in the mirror of our species and see our vices, virtues, blunders and pathology will likely have trouble putting this book down. While there can be no sense made of the tragedy that took place at this school, understanding the politics, fear, and nobility that was behind the worst and best reactions can help the reader face the existential givens of life which, of course, include tragedy. Kudos to the author for an evenhanded account of a complex and terrifying topic....more info
  • The Definitive Book
    Forget what you think you know about Columbine. You will get the true story and much, much more after you read this book. Dave Cullen had to do a job of research! This book is absolutely riveting which makes it hard to put down. It goes way beyond just the day of the shooting. You will learn not only about Eric and Dylan but also other people affected by it too. The story is gruesome, the writing is superb! Put this on your "To Read" list. This story will stay with you long after you are finished reading it. A lot of the stories of the people whose lives were impacted by the shooting are heartbreaking, gut wrenching and one is a story of triumph! All makes for one powerful read! I loved this book and highly recommend it--give it 50 stars!...more info
  • Great New Book
    Well written and informational, A must addition for people thinking about how and why things like this happen...more info
  • Dave Cullen is dead wrong
    Dave Cullin's book, Columbine, has been receiving a great deal of media coverage. For the most part, reviewers are accepting his explanations of the causes of the Columbine shootings as rooted in the psychopathology of the two shooters. The book contains numerous problems, the first of which is that Mr. Cullen goes well beyond the facts of the case to produce an almost novelistic approach to the shootings. He gives Erik Harris a sex life that that has no verification; he gives them emotions that are impossible to know; he attributes sophisticated knowledge of architecture to the two shooters in the placement of the bombs for which there is no evidence. Worst of all, he ignores an existing trail of evidence of rampant bullying at Columbine High School, eyewitness evidence of public humiliations of Klebold and Harris by members of the football team, and statements of the boys both before and during the assault of their intentions to target the so-called jocks. Their videotapes and their writings were obsessed with gaining retribution against jocks. Instead, Cullen, who was heavily influenced by FBI profiler Dwayne Fusilier, labeled Harris a "psychopath," and Klebold "a depressive," and attributed the shootings to their mental disorders. This is psychological reductionism at its worst, not to mention the fact that victims of bullies often experience depression.
    People unfamiliar with the details of the Columbine massacre focus on the randomness of the shootings and Erik Harris's rants on the Trenchcoat Mafia website that he created, suggesting that he hated everybody equally as evidence that the shootings were not about jocks or bullying. This is a mistake. First, the boys' motives were complex. That they wanted to kill jocks is incontrovertibly true. They placed the bombs in the cafeteria not because their location would bring down the ceiling, as stated by Dave Cullen, but because they placed the bombs underneath the table where the jocks always sat. The fact that the bombs did not go off saved a large portion of the football team. Second, as local and FBI investigators pointed out, one reason for carrying out the massacre was to become media celebrities and, as Erik Harris said in the basement tapes, to "kickstart a revolution" of oppressed students like himself. Third, the boys were heavily influenced by paramilitary and gun cultures, which stress dying in a blaze of glory, which they certainly seem to have done. Fourth, and ignored by many investigators, was the fact that Klebold and Harris also hated evangelical Christian students attending Columbine High School who constituted themselves as a moral elite and who went around telling outcast students that if they did not change their ways, accept Jesus as their Savior, and become born again, they would burn in hell.
    Jocks and evangelical Christians were their particular hatreds. However, they hated the whole system of social relations at Columbine High School in which they were despised, defined as lesser humans, and subjected to predatory and humiliating acts. The attitude of a large portion of Columbine students was that because they dressed differently, did not have sufficient school spirit, and acted differently than their peers, they deserved what they received at the hands of the jocks, who regarded themselves as the defenders of the hypermasculine norms of the school.

    Ralph W. Larkin, PhD
    Professor of Sociology
    John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    Comprehending Columbine
    ...more info
  • Well researched and moving account of an American tragedy.
    Columbine takes the reader deep into a place where probably a lot of people would just as soon not go again...the horrors of the Columbine murders 10 years ago. I felt the same hesitation when I began reading this book. Did I really want to relive this dark day in recent American history? As a teacher and a longtime Colorado resident, I was even more leery about reading this book. I am so glad I did. Dave Cullen has done a magnificent job of researching the Columbine tragedy. Some of his writing will leave you feeling uneasy. The in-depth look at the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, will likely give you a much clearer picture of what motivated these troubled teens. Eric was a classic psychopath bent on hatred, Dylan was a depressed loner who desperately sought love. The obvious cover-ups and bungling by the Jefferson County authorities will leave you angry, knowing this could possibly have been prevented. And there is controversy here as well...with Cullen detailing how Cassie Bernall very likely did not die a martyr's death after all. Columbine is truly a must-read for anyone who wants to really understand what happened that day at the suburban Denver high school. It is a painful journey, but a deeply moving one, thanks to Dave Cullen's work....more info
  • Austere and Chilling Account of the Tragedy
    I was amazed at how wrong the media was about so many things that happened at Columbine. Some of the less favorable reviews of this book claim that Cullen has some sort of agenda in coloring how the reader interprets the facts surrounding the tragedy, but I found this book to be value-neutral, almost glaringly so. If Cullen had an agenda, it seems to be that he wants the public to know what was, for so long, swept under the rug or kept silent. If he is guilty of bias, I suppose it would only have to do with believing the psychological experts involved in the case - those who posthumously diagnosed Harris as a psychopath.

    However, the consensus that Harris was a psychopath - and that Klebold suffered from depression - and how their personalities contributed to their diabolical relationship sheds a great deal of light on this event for me. I appreciated the lengths Cullen went to to show the reader how Harris fit the psychopathic profile and how so many of the public's assumptions about the rampage were either misguided or completely unfounded based on this fact.

    I also appreciated the lengths Cullen went to to tell the story from points of view other than the killers'. Columbine High School staff, community clergy members, parents, survivors, and investigators all factor heavily into this book. Cullen also uses a unique style to patch together the story which I found very easy to follow and constantly captivating. It was a difficult book to put down.

    It was troubling for me to read the sections that discussed Eric's and Dylan's parents. I both feel compassion for them but also wonder how they could not have seen this brewing. Cullen remains neither accusatory nor apologetic about the parents throughout the book; he simply presented the information that he gathered through copious amounts of evidence. Perhaps this is why I still feel conflicted about their roles in this tragedy.

    Cullen includes an extensive notes section in the book, outlining and sourcing his information chapter by chapter. He does seem to take some poetic license throughout the book, particularly when writing about Eric and Dylan, but I don't think Cullen overstepped any boundaries in doing so. Your mileage may vary.

    One of the most intriguing (and infuriating) parts of this story is how many times Harris and Klebold's plan to commit mass murder came close to being revealed to authorities. Yet coincidence, incompetence, or just out-right malfeasance kept them from being found out. It boggles the mind. Cullen also presents this information is a very arm's length, just-the-facts manner, which ultimately lends itself to what I think is the book's primary accomplishment: telling an incredibly tragic tale with the recognition that no amount of blame, finger-pointing, ranting, or emotion will undo what was done or right the wrongs suffered by so many Columbine families. The best we can do is try to understand the actual hows and whys this could happen, and apply that understanding to prevention.
    ...more info
  • Insightful
    I believe out of all the articles, memoirs, and biographical books written, this book lays out the facts of the Columbine events as plain and true as can be. One thing Dave Cullen did is include Notes on various fatcs and statements within every chapter on which he sourced out and got his information. Not only did that heighten my intrigue, but made me appreciate the fact that the author wanted to write a book and present a story in the most factual way that it could be. ...more info
  • Lest We Forget
    This was a very tough book to read, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Dave Cullen has taken a subject that, though all too familiar, has been so wrapped in its own mythology that most readers, myself included, will be shocked at some of the revelations -- and accusations -- made within.

    Cullen's tone deftly switches between the pain felt by the victims and survivors of the tragedy, to the chilling hatred and emotional detachment of mastermind Eric Harris as he carefully plans his massacre. While reading like grotesque fiction, the aim throughout is one of righting past wrongs. Cullen blames himself, and journalists like him, for the original sins of the on-the-scene reporting from Columbine: incorrectly ascribing motives (the famed "nerds vs. jocks vengeance"), parroting false information (e.g. a girl being gunned down after she admitted to her faith in God), and attempting to place the blame on anything -- violent video games, Marilyn Manson -- besides the two shooters themselves.

    Eric Harris, as revealed in his own words, was a clinical psychopath, and while Cullen reveals the negligence of the Jefferson County sheriff's department -- which had ample evidence to arrest Harris on pre-Columbine crimes -- it's clear that nothing could have prevented him from eventually lashing out. His accomplice, Dylan Klebold, was a deeply depressed young man who followed Harris' lead largely to fulfill his own fantasies of suicide.

    Reading this book with the benefit of hindsight, what is most chilling is not that Columbine was a national tragedy -- that much is obvious -- but that it has already been eclipsed by subsequent shootings. Our best hope to prevent future disasters is to look back at Columbine with fresh eyes, unhindered by emotions, and understand what *really* happened.

    This book is the first step in that process. It cannot be the last....more info
  • Intense and intelligent
    The Columbine killers had intended to bomb their school and kill as many of the 2000 people therein as possible. If things had gone as planned, it would have been many times more horrific than its already horrible outcome--and I had no idea. The brilliance of this book is that it not only provides an incisive and compelling analysis of the actual killings, but it also uses popular misunderstandings such as mine to illustrate how a community and a society makes sense of horrific events. The fascinating point is that we often do that making sense by distorting and over-simplifying the social world. If only the Columbine killings were as simple as goths vs jocks, or gun control. This book forces a reader to confront such over-simplifications, along with confronting the disturbing reality of how those responses can lead individuals and communities astray. I had been interested to read this book because I expected an intelligent analysis. I did not expect for it to be as emotionally intense as I found it to be--both because of the murder of innocents, and because of the loss of innocence about our society's challenges in coping with trauma and confusion.

    If a reader is ready for an intense and intelligent read then I highly recommend this book. But I also had a few minor complaints. Some of the analysis, which ultimately serves to critique over-simplified accounts of the massacre, was itself a bit too simple and certain. Though the book makes a compelling case for Eric Harris being a psychopath and Dylan Klebold being his depressed sycophant, at points in the book the certainty with which that perspective was presented struck me as unwarranted. As one example, the idea that Harris's psycopathy was a straight forward brain disease diagnosable by brain scans is not quite true. There may indeed be average differences in brain activity between psychopaths and "normal" individuals, but as of now there is no legitimate clinician who would use a brain scan to make an individual diagnosis. The brain is too complicated, and it's activity is both the cause and the effect of behavior patterns. Overall, however, the book does a masterful job of crafting what must have been massive amounts of research into a compelling and powerful articulation of how to make meaning of a tragedy....more info
  • Great New Book
    Well written and informational, A must addition for people thinking about how and why things like this happen...more info
  • Poorly done and Awful.
    The book is not that well written to start off. I have a lot of problems with this book. One being that it doesn't really go in depth as it should have. It bounces back and forth from beginning to end about Eric and Dylan's last 2 years and how they "planned" the attack. The book constantly talks about Cassie Bernall(who didn't die a martyr since the girl who did answer the question "do you believe in God" is actually still alive..but anyway) It doesn't stop talking about her. Which was Annoying! A few other victims are named but not all of them. My question is why not? this book was like an article and it left you with nothing more than what's already in online articles. Nothing personal was felt, no information that was different from what's already out there. I thought the book was awful. ...more info
  • Compelling and masterful
    I heard Dave Cullen give several radio interviews at the end of April - the ten year anniversary of the Columbine shootings. The interviews were absolutely compelling, not only because of the subject matter but because in them, Cullen, who was there that day and has spent the last ten years compiling this book, corrected so many falsehoods that live on about that day.

    However compelling, it took me three weeks to get up the nerve to buy and read "Columbine". As the mother of two children, I knew, of course, that this was a book that I wouldn't be able to forget, wouldn't be able to put down when finished, at ease with the fact that "it's just a book". It is real, and could happen again.

    My first reaction was to the cover, which is perfect. A picture of the school at the bottom and simply that name, in white letters, "Columbine". Because really, for those of us that weren't there that day, and despite the efforts made by those who were, to take back the name of their school, that says it all. It remains the name of an event, a massacre.

    Given that, I was very unsure how I'd react to reading about that day, those events, the dead children and teacher. But though chilling and sad, the book wasn't depressing. (Even as I write that, I wonder if it should have been. Is there something wrong with me?) Instead, "Columbine" is a masterful work, one that fleshes out the people we all saw on TV, gives them lives and reactions beyond just the one infamous day.

    The stories before and after April 20, 1999 give souls and feelings to the names in the headlines. We learn more about the town, the school, those killed...and the killers. And as tempted as some authors might have been to focus solely on Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Cullen gives the victims and the heroes of that day just as much of a focus.

    The principal, Frank DeAngelis, who four days before the fateful day, told all of his students that he loved them. And also, in an ironic twist of fate, told them, "I do not want to attend another memorial service." His focus was the prom the next day and the inherent dangers in that, but as I read his words, I found my eyes filling with tears.

    The teacher, Dave Sanders, who bled to death despite the best efforts of his students, who had left his home that day without kissing his wife, which he never did.

    The victims, like Danny Rohrbough, one of the first killed, whose body was left outside overnight... "Brian's son just wasn't a priority. Brian couldn't believe they were treating a victim's body so cavalierly. Then it began to snow. Danny lay out on that sidewalk for twenty-eight hours."

    So many stories...but finally the correct versions of what happened in Colorado that day. I never knew the extent of the misinformation that was out there. So many half truths, untruths, exaggerations...understandable under such circumstances, I suppose. Things like the Trench Coat Mafia, which became a symbol of the event...trench coats that the killers wore that day mostly to conceal their weapons. The idea that they were loners who targeted jocks...despite the truth that they were good students with many friends and that the killings were random. So much of what I knew of that day, those people was wrong, and this book is a very clear and honest accounting.

    And of course, to the question of "Why?" Even a reporter who immersed himself in that question and the horrors of that day for ten years, has no complete answer. It becomes clear that Harris was a psychopath and Klebold his suicidal follower, and even when clarifying what might have been clinical facts and diagnoses, Cullen brings depth to the words. "Psychopaths do not feel much, but when they lose patience with inferiors, they can really let it rip. It doesn't go any deeper. Even an earthworm will recoil if you poke it with a stick. A squirrel will exhibit frustration if you tease it by offering a peanut, then repeatedly snatching it back. Psychopaths make it that far up the emotional ladder, but they fall far short of the average golden retriever, which will demonstrate affection, joy, compassion and empathy for a human in pain." Chilling.

    As a mother, I of course turn to the parents of the killers. How did they not know? Was it their fault? What was wrong with them that created these two young murderers? Cullen does some of his best work here. With the Klebolds, that is. As much as I can't imagine being the parent of one of the victims, it is completely out of the realm of possibility for me to imagine being a parent of a murderer...who then killed himself. I can't imagine much worse of a hell. But of the Harrises, there is mostly silence. They did not, and still will not, speak publicly. But Cullen does excellent work presenting the facts in a way that seem as fair as possible to all parties.

    Though the headlines have faded and the events are a decade in the past, there still remains the word. "Columbine". School shootings continue... "Moms felt their muscles clench, bracing for the terrifying news. Some had almost forgotten Columbine, but their bodies remembered."

    From an event filled with pain, fury, sorrow, grief, confusion and despair...Dave Cullen brings forth what might have been missing all along. The truth, the facts. Not cold hard ones...but the truth of those that lived, and died, and killed.

    There may not be and probably never will be an answer to "Why?"...but now we have the real answers to "What?"...more info
  • Wow.....good job Dave
    First off...10 years since this happened. A lot of good came from a really bad occurence. Are we better or smarter from this? I am sure we could debate that issue to death but Dave Cullen gives a remarkable account of the entire situation.

    I don't like reading stuff like this but as a mother of two boys in school I felt like I needed to. What was learned from Columbine? I watched like most people did 10 years ago. I felt for these kids. I remember reading a story of a bunch of kids out to dinner in Colorado after this incident. Someone in the restaurant dropped dishes or something and the kids jumped out of their seats. They were quoted as wanting to go back to normal. At the time I figured they would never find normal again.

    Reading this book I learned so much. Dave wrote this so you felt as if you had stood in the middle of the entire 10 years knowing everything. He gives first person accounts of all the major players across the board. I felt like I was listening to conversations in real time.

    You are invited in to a world that leaves you slightly haunted in the end but you are shown the reasons why this trajedy happenend. You learn not take things for granted. In the end I found myself on the internet putting faces with names. I found out who was married to who, how they were doing. They have all just accepted life as its been given. It made reading the book more enlightening. Bad things happen but we can make it good again if we choose to.

    What is truly remarkable is how every one involved came away from this. A new normal was created for everyone. We are a bit smarter because of Columbine but there will always be someone to try and break through whatever security measures are set up to protect us. Hopefully, we will continue to grow from things like this....more info
  • Columbine
    just started reading Columbine it had received great reviews so that peaked my curiosity like the writer's style and will get back to you in a week to give the final analysis so far it's very good...more info
  • Yes, but......
    Cullen has done a commendable job straightening out the Columbine case, revealing all the false information and theories about the killers, showing the local sheriff's department to have been incompetent and malignantly so, and warning us about apparently normal people and the terrible things they are capable of. We also see the unscrupulous exploitation of tragedy by the ignorant evangelical community for whom every horror is another proof of Satan at work. However, I have just one criticism: what about the murderers' parents? I cannot believe that they had so little inkling of their disturbed boys' true nature. Granted that psychopaths like Eric can be charming and misleading and love-sick puppies like Dylan lovable, but seventeen years of living with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold could not have left their parents without a clue. To me it is clear that the parents were unwilling at an early age to take their kids' disturbed natures seriously enough. They were probably always whistling in the dark about them. The parents do not appear to me to be as enlightened as you might have thought in their affluent community. They seem, like most Americans, victims of lousy educations and deficient intellectual formation, and one was a military father: enough said! The boys should have had psychiatric care at an early age and considerable monitoring. For me the parents are largely to blame....more info
  • A must read for educators
    There is so much information here---the myths--- that has not been shared with educators. I found it very enlightening. I also appreciated the information on psychopathy.
    This is well worth the read....more info
  • You Keep asking Why
    In this thorough account of the Columbine High School shooting Cullen leads us through the possible and probable reason why Klebold and Harris murdered 13 of their classmates. Cullen ably dispels the MSMs paper thin theories of bullying, hatred for jocks and popular kids and instead focuses on Klebold's and Harris's real reasons for their murderous actions. Cullen interviews the main characters in the shootings such as the police, teachers, FBI and mental health experts and also thoroughly pours through the notes and videos of Klebold and Harris and comes to the conclusion that it happened because of Harris's psychopathic and Klebold's mental illness. Harris and Klebold lived pretty normal lives; they worked, were semi-popular, went to the Prom, played sports and had lots of friends. They seemed as normal as most high school kids in many ways, but as you see in the book, both were battling incredible demons that they were not able to overcome. Cullen lays out his case for Harris's psychopathic through detailed examples of their behavior. But at the end, I kept asking myself why did they do it? We will really never know (although Cullen is pretty convincing,) because they took it to the grave with them and left countless people in horrible pain. ...more info
  • Dark
    A very dark book.

    It is frightening how two young boys go off on a murderous rampage. It is even more frightening in that they did not succeed, for their aim was to blow up the entire school. The propane tank bombs they planted in the school cafeteria and in their two cars did not explode. Their two bombs in the cafeteria were set to go off at lunch when the maximum number of students accumulated in that area. Their car bombs were set to go off later - in an area where students, parents, police would have been watching the dire events.

    Why two young boys from affluent backgrounds would have degenerated to this extent illustrates the perverseness of the human mind.

    The great strength of this book is the author examines Columbine from many different angles - not just the two principal perpetrators. He looks at the tragedy of the victims, the survivors (some of whom have permanent physical disabilities, all have experienced psychological repercussions). One of the most dreadful passages of the story is when the parents received news of the shootings and rushed en masse to the school. Can you imagine their distress as they were waiting for their children to emerge from the school? Some waited the entire day in vain.

    The author describes the police rescue effort. Perhaps the rescue attempt, as Dave Cullen suggest could have been quicker and more effective. But he also mentions that in the moment, the police, the SWAT teams had no idea how many shooters there were and where the shooters were amidst the on-rushing students escaping the school. Entering a large school with fire alarms blaring, water gushing from sprinklers, hundreds of students still sequestered in various rooms, must be disorienting to the best trained personnel.

    Dave Cullen explains Columbine before, during and after. He takes us into the entire atmosphere of Columbine. Before, brings us to a search warrant on the house of Eric Harris (one of the perpetrators) that was never carried out. Eric was accused of death threats against other students. This is the big "What if this warrant had been carried out?" for the Columbine tragedy.

    The author explodes some of the myths - the boys were not Goths, gay or loners. Eric was gregarious - both boys had part-time jobs. Eric orchestrated the plan and day. His outlook was that of extreme nihilism and is a possible warning to us of a future `Eric Harris'. Dylan, his accomplice, by contrast was very depressed with strong feelings of rejection. He may have found a strange solace in Eric's misanthropic rampages. Eric had loads of this hate which he spewed forth verbally, in his written journal, in video-tape and on the internet. The author correctly wants us to avoid simplistic motivations for the tragedy.

    One also feels sadness for the parents of these two boys. They cared about their sons and tried to be good parents. They never wanted their sons to do such an awful thing. One can only imagine the dreams they must sometimes have.


    ...more info
  • I lived two miles from the high school
    at the time of the massacre. It took this book to sort out the pieces and help me understand what really happened. Dr. Dwayne Fuselier is my new hero. He laid it all out clearly.

    These two guys also spelled it all out but few took them seriously.

    ...more info
  • A Preventable Tragedy
    This is a very researched book. Dave Cullen did an excellent job of bringing to light that awful day at Columbine. I thought I knew a lot about the tradgedy, but I realized I had most of it wrong. Yes Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 13 innocent people in a very senseless way, but I never knew how so many of the facts had been swept under the carpet. How this could probably been prevented if not for a gross lack of communication among more than a few people. JeffCo Sheriff's Department should be held accountable for what they did or rather "did not" do. By that I mean they should have listened to the parents of Brooks Brown who brought them a whole lot of information about Eric Harris long before Columbine ever happened.

    Eric had a webpage that he kept with all kinds of rants and threats and messages of hate and murder directed at not only Brooks but also the whole human race. This was one mentally screwed up kid. In his own words Eric was a Natural Born Killer. Dylan may have fancied himself one, but I think had he not have run across Eric he would never have even been involved in this. Eric was the puppetmaster and Dylan was his puppet.

    Dylan suffered from Depression, anger turned inward. A treatable condition if anyone would have taken the time to stop and just listen to him. Eric on the other hand was on a one way ticket to hell and I am not sure if there would have been much hope for him in normal society. He needed to be committed for extensive treatment. Dylan needed therapy for sure and medication for depression, but I don't think he would have been a total loss. I think he had a good shot at a good life given different circumstances. Please don't think I am giving Dylan a pass, I am not. He knew what he did was wrong, but by the time it was under way it was too late to turn back. Eric would have done something like this without Dylan, I truly believe Dylan would not have done something like this without Eric.

    I am just so sorry that it came to this. I can't state for a fact that I believe any one thing turned these kids in this direction. I'm sure it was a number of things combined, but it was a lethal combination and the outcome was indeed lethal. Eric dreamed of his many victims he would take with him on "Judgement Day". He was hoping for hundreds.....well, he got them. I know that 13 died, I know that many more were injured, but the silent victims who were left behind to deal with the pain surely surpassed the hundred mark many times over. No one connected with this will ever forget it, and they shouldn't. Neither should we. Instead of throwing money away for research in outer space or ocean depths how about a little research on what makes kids like Eric and Dylan tick and what can be done to help them.

    Not too long ago I found myself at a Memorial Service holding a melting candle....of course we weren't saying... We are Columbine.....We were saying We are Va Tech.

    People....we got to help these kids....they are our future....more info
  • Sober book. Detailed and descriptive
    A very sober book. Describes in detail the events, what happened, and what did not happen.
    More like a report than in depth explorations.

    Two very different young men and their individual personalities are described in fairly plain language.
    The events are covered extensively, but without malice.

    I expected to read a story of monsters and heroines.
    What I got, was one explanation why it did happen, when it did.
    This is more a history of the events, than a handbook on how to avoid such shootings.

    To stop it from happening again, one should go for books on psychology.
    Or remember to give your kids a hug.

    ...more info
  • Riveting, Clarifying read
    "Columbine" is the first book I have read about this now ten year old tragedy. Not only was this book an incredible, riveting read, it clarified many issues for me.
    Until I read this book, I thought of Eric and Dylan as two outcasts who were bullied at school. Although I never bought into the "Goth" descriptions of the killers I always visualized them as two kids who were friendless and alienated from not only their peers but their families. I never realized how involved their parents were in the boys' lives PRIOR to the shooting. Dave Cullen, in an intelligent and objective analysis, brought together the links that for me had been missing.
    I am sure some parents whose children were killed might be offended by this book. It is impossible for anyone who has not lost a child to put themselves in the place of a mother or father who has - I, for one, admire these parents for just getting up and facing the world each day. Nonetheless, I feel the truth eventually is far more important than a glossing over of the facts and this book gets five stars from me for presenting the truth to the general public a decade after this tragic day....more info

 

 
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