Columbine

By Dave Cullen
Directed by Emily Janice Card
Read by Don Leslie

14.12 Hours 03/06/2009 unabridged
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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—with the whole world watching him. In this riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making comes the story none of us knew. This revelatory book offers a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. Dave Cullen, the acclaimed journalist who followed the massacre from day one, 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 boys’ 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.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 2009 AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for Nonfiction and Culture

Winner of the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime

New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction, 2009

A New York Times bestseller

A 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee

A 2009 Amazon Top 100 Book

Finalist for the 2012 Abraham Lincoln Award

A 2009 iTunes Top Seller for Nonfiction

A 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Nonfiction

A BuzzFeed Books Pick of Creepily Fascinating True Crime Books

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—with the whole world watching him. In this riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making comes the story none of us knew. This revelatory book offers a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. Dave Cullen, the acclaimed journalist who followed the massacre from day one, 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 boys’ 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Don Leslie’s nuanced reading…is mesmerizing as he makes Cullen’s case that Harris was predisposed to psychopathy and Klebold was erratic, depressed, and suicidal. Once they got together, the dyad became deadly.” AudioFile
“Cullen has done the impossible: you will know these killers—and it will shake you up.” Richard Ben Cramer, New York Times bestselling author
“Comprehensively nightmarish.” Time
“The definitive account…that has the pacing of an action movie and the complexity of a Shakespearean drama.” Newsweek
Columbine is an excellent work of media criticism…a fine example of old-fashioned journalism…[Cullen’s] nuanced dissection of the differences between Harris and Klebold is first-rate.” New York Times
“Exhaustive and supremely level-headed…The ways in which the Columbine story became distorted in the retelling make for one of the most fascinating aspects of Cullen’s book.” Washington Post
“A book that hits you like a crime scene photo, a reminder of what journalism at its best is all about.” Los Angeles Times
“An example of literary nonfiction at its finest: masterful, clear-eyed, bold—and unforgettable.” Charlotte Observer
“Painstakingly reported, well-organized, and compellingly written.” Seattle Times
“A gripping study…To his credit, Mr. Cullen does not simply tear down Columbine’s legends. He also convincingly explains what really sparked the murderous rage…Disquieting…beautifully written.” New York Observer
“[A] nerve-wracking, methodical, and panoramic account…Cullen’s minute-by-minute rendering of the chaotic forty-nine-minute assault…puts us inside and outside the building.” Cleveland Plain Dealer
“While the details of the day are indeed gruesome, Cullen neither embellishes nor sensationalizes. His unadorned prose and staccato sections offer welcome relief from the grisly minutiae…Cullen’s honor and reporting skills propel this book beyond tabloid and into true literature.” Newsday
“From the very first page, I could not put Columbine, Dave Cullen’s searing narrative, down…Reads like the grisliest of fiction. Would that it were not true. Grade: A.” Entertainment Weekly
“Cullen creates more than a nuanced portrait of school shooters as young men. He writes a human story—a compassionate narrative of teenagers with guns (and bombs, too) and the havoc they wreak on a school, a community, and America.” Esquire
“A chilling page-turner, a striking accomplishment given that Cullen’s likely readers almost certainly know how the tragic story ends…I knew Cullen was a dogged reporter and a terrific writer, but even I was blown away by the pacing and storytelling he mastered in Columbine, a disturbing, inspiring work of art.” Salon
“[A] remarkable account…Cullen not only dispels several of the prevailing myths about the event but tackles the hardest question of all: why did it happen? Readers will come away from Cullen’s unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren’t easy to stomach.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Relying on more than ten years of research, award-winning journalist Cullen here pieces together a stunning, authoritative, full-scope view of the Columbine tragedy, reaching powerful and controversial conclusions and revealing several facts previously unknown to the public. Don Leslie reads with both sensation and objectivity, escalating emotion during the often graphic diary passages and helping the story to flow.” Library Journal
“A penetrating look at the motivation and intent of the shooters…Graphic and emotionally vivid; spectacularly researched and analyzed.” Booklist (starred review)
“[Cullen’s] writing has the immediacy and starkness of a documentary…A deeply unsettling book because it confirms our worst fear: that evil can arise without apparent cause and strike without provocation.” BookPage
“Cullen has assembled a first rate piece of nonfiction history. It illustrates exactly why a public reaction to the daily news so often leads to dangerously false beliefs…Don Leslie, the narrator, is given the grim task of reading the words of Klebold and Harris. It isn’t an enviable job, but he is up to the task…Leslie does his best to make each quote as clear as he can.” SFFAudio.com
“Comprehensive, myth-busting examination…Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community…Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy…Carefully researched and chilling.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen is a journalist and author who has contributed to Slate, Salon, and the New York Times. He is considered the nation’s foremost authority on the Columbine killers and has also written extensively on Evangelical Christians, gays in the military, politics, and pop culture. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Boulder, Colorado, he has won several writing awards.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 14.12
Audience: Adult
Language: English