09
Jun
10

Columbine

It’s not often I feel the urge to recommend books. It’s not that I don’t read books, its just that they are usually quite time consuming and you don’t read that many books in a year as you watch movies, listen to music etc, so the selection is kind of narrow.

But here is one that I gladly recommend anyone to read.

Columbine by Dave Cullen [2009].

On April 20th, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold 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.”. The drove to school, planted two huge bombs in the dining area, then positioned themselves outside the main entrance to pick off fleeing teachers and students. The bombs failed, but the ensuing massacre defined a new branch of school violence – one that has started to cross the Atlantic.

Now, in a riveting piece of journalism in the tradition of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, 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. Cullen lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the timid, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who had been to the prom just three days earlier and wrote obsessively about love in his journal.

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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2 Responses to “Columbine”


  1. 1 gm davis
    June 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Cullen , who first reported on the story for the online magazine Salon, acknowledges in the book’s source notes that thoughts he attributes to Klebold and Harris are conjecture gleaned from the record the pair left behind.

    Jeff Kass takes a more straightforward approach in “Columbine: A True Crime Story,” working backward from the events of the fateful day.
    The Denver Post

    Mr. Cullen insists that the killers enjoyed “far more friends than the average adolescent,” with Harris in particular being a regular Casanova who “on the ultimate high school scorecard . . . outscored much of the football team.” The author’s footnotes do not reveal how he knows this; when I asked him about it while preparing this review, Mr. Cullen said he did not necessarily mean to imply that Harris was sexually active. But what else would such words mean?

    “Eric and Dylan never had any girlfriends,” the more sober Mr. Kass writes, and were “probably virgins upon death.”
    Wall Street Journal

    • June 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, you are quite right about that! The book does have it’s share of shortcomings. I did however find it very compelling and interesting, almost finished it in one session.

      I will definitely check out “Columbine: A True Crime Story” as the topic interest me a lot, thank you for the tip!


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