by Cullen, Dave

Author's Note on Sourcesix
Female Down
After and Before
The Downward Spiral
Take Back The School
Judgment Day
Timeline: Before359(2)

Discusses the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, reflecting on the killers' histories and and the portrayal of the event by the media.

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, Cullen has won several writing awards, including a GLAAD Media Award, Society of Professional Journalism awards, and several Best of Salon citations.

"*Starred Review* Although much has been written about the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, little of it has helped to explain why two high-school students went on a rampage, killing 13 people and wounding scores of others. Cullen, acclaimed expert on Columbine, offers a penetrating look at the motivation and intent of the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Drawing on interviews, police records, media coverage, and diaries and videotapes left behind by the shooters, Cullen examines the killers beliefs and psychological states of mind. Chilling journal entries show a progression from adolescent angst to psychopathic rage as they planned a multistage killing spree that included bombs that ultimately didn t detonate. Cullen goes beyond detailing the planning and execution of the shootings, delving into the early lives of the killers as well. He explores the aftermath for the town of Littleton, Colorado: survivors stories, investigation into how the sheriff s department mishandled the crisis, several ongoing legal issues, exploitation of the shooting by some religious groups and sensationalists, and the school s battle to regain its identity. Cullen debunks several Columbine myths, including the goth angle and a martyrdom story of a girl who proclaimed her belief in God before she was killed. Graphic and emotionally vivid; spectacularly researched and analyzed."

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre."We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened," writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school's main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers' cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal "The Book of God" and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold's frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author's distracting tendency to weave the killers' expressions into his sentences-for example, "The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass." Cullen is better at depicting the attack's aftermath. 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, if somewhat overwritten. Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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