Columbine by Dave Cullen
Published by Twelve
On April 20, 1999, two high school boys walked onto their school campus and began executing their fellow students and teachers. Their goal was to blow up the entire school, but when that plan didn’t work, they just began killing anyone and everyone they could. There are a lot of myths circulating about this horrific tragedy, but reporter Dave Cullen goes beyond the stories and guesses and delivers a shockingly honest portrayal of the killers. The truth about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold has finally been revealed in Columbine – this is the story America has been waiting to hear.
I had been hearing good things about Columbine ever since its release, but I was in no way prepared for how fantastic this book is. Here is a piece of seriously awesome investigative journalism, featuring a story that Americans think they understand, but in reality most people have no idea what really happened with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that fateful day. Dave Cullen’s Columbine is THE book to read if you are at all interested in hearing the truth about the tragedy in Colorado.
There were a few things that stood out to me about this book. The first is, absolutely, the writing. Cullen so masterfully told the story of the Columbine tragedy that it could have just as easily been a novel as a true story. It reminded me quite a bit of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood – it really was that good. This is nonfiction for people who normally shy away from nonfiction – nonfiction that reads so much like fiction, you can easily forget you’re reading about true events.
Another thing that I marveled at throughout reading the book was how many myths about the Columbine tragedy I had believed. The “story” the media gave the world about that day is shockingly far from the truth, and for that reason alone Columbine is a really important book – it sets the story straight, gives people the truth about the killers and the people, places, and things that shaped their worlds. I was surprised to learn of how many obvious clues they left for years before the shooting, how “normal” they presented as to family and friends, and how scarily thorough their plan was for the day of the massacre. I learned SO much from reading this book, I couldn’t even really begin to share it all.
I took in Columbine in audiobook format, and I have to tell you, it was the perfect way to read the book. The narrator was Don Leslie and he was absolutely brilliant – he had the most haunting voice that somehow had the perfect mix of emotion and clear delivering of the facts. He was just perfect for this particular book.
So I would definitely, very highly recommend Columbine. Just read the darn thing.