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.
It has taken ten years for someone to summon the fortitude to investigate and reveal the full story behind the Columbine murders. Appropriately, that person is Dave Cullen, a Denver reporter who was among the first to arrive at the horrific scene on April 20, 1999, and then spent the next decade interviewing everyone he could find with a connection to the shootings, and poring over thousands of pages of police reports and FBI files. Cullen conclusively shows that the accepted image of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as disgruntled, unpopular outcasts with a grudge against a select few in their high school class is profoundly false. The truth is even more terrifying--the boys had planned to annihilate the entire school with a series of bombs. Hopefully, Cullen's exhaustive research, which included access to the disturbing content of the killers' personal journals, will bring some semblance of closure to the families of the victims, and add considerably to the insight and information needed to defend against a repetition of this tragedy. Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Books of 2009 and by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.
- Education, Social Science, History
- Modern / 20th Century, Violence in Society, Educational Policy / School Safety + Violence
- March 3, 2010
- March 3, 2010
- Dave Cullen