Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eleven Years Ago



we were rocked by the tragedy at Columbine.

The initial reporting, and the "common knowledge" about what happened there was almost entirely wrong.

We know that now because of the ground breaking, ferociously well written book by Dave Cullen: COLUMBINE.

I think COLUMBINE is one of the most important books of the decade. I think it should be required reading for every teacher, school administrator, and reporter in the country.


It's available in paperback now with new material including a 12-page afterword: "Forgiveness." with updates on three victims in very different places eleven years later, and the central role forgiveness played in their recovery.


You owe it to yourself to read it.

30 comments:

Tchann said...

I do desperately need to read this book. I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened and was directly affected by the mass panic that ensued in schools across the nation. My best friends were persecuted further because they were outcasts. My brother was suspended for making a joke.

It's one of those things that have always weighed on my mind.

outandemployed said...

Janet,

Could not agree more! I read this when it first came out and was amazed how much the media coverage got wrong -- not only initially, but, as you pointed out, in what we came to accept years later as the conventional wisdom about the Columbine killers. This book was enlightening to say the least. Kind of difficult to prevent another if you don't understand what really happened.

Kathy Murray
http://outandemployed.wordpress.com

L. T. Host said...

I'm almost afraid to.

See, I went to Granite Hills, and I was there for the shooting. Luckily, no one was killed, and the only person seriously hurt was the shooter himself. Chance played a big part in that-- had he been on time, he would have caught the students at lunch, and had the opportunity to hurt many more people before our on-campus officer managed to stop him. But it's still stayed with me as one of the most frightening things I've ever experienced, and it had a profound effect on me.

I can't imagine having been there for Columbine. Such a tragedy, and surely the effects on those students are ten thousand times what they are for me.

Amy said...

I have read it, and I agree, it's an amazing book. The reality of what happened at Columbine was completely different from what was reported in the media at the time.

Joe Iriarte said...

Thanks for the recommendation (I am a teacher). I added it to my wishlist.

Dave Cullen said...

Janet, thanks again. What a gracious post. Thanks for your unending support.

It's been great to see the way students and teachers have embraced the book. I've been on a tour of colleges and high schools this spring, and I'm particularly thrilled to see them excited about READING. I don't care what they are reading, as long as they are interested in reading books. It gives me great hope.

I posted some pix with them here:

http://www.davecullen.com/tv-tour/tour-photos-schools.htm

Creepy Query Girl said...

That sounds like a really interesting read. I was in highschool when Columbine happened too. Security went up. Kids who dressed in goth black were given the wary eye and there was a NO tolerance rule for any kind of hazing. Scary stuff.

Heidi Willis said...

Crap... for the first time in ages I actually went out and bought the hardback the day it came out, and now I have to go buy the paperback to get the extras?? Sigh.

Leona said...

See? This is why I need to write that last 10k on my thriller. So I can at least query you.

You are awesome in your support and your depth of compass:)on and knowledge never ceases to impress.

I want to read it, but not sure when I can get it. (Poor starving artist is a tired and true cliche with me :( although, working on the poor part)

I have been involved in tragedies as a rescue worker and have had to deal with families that were severely hurt by reporters not getting their facts right.

I am glad that someone has written a book with a broader outlook on something so important. That takes guts and dedication. Thank you, Dave for writing it and Janet for promoting it.

Mike Mullin said...

I read it after you recommended it here the first time and couldn't agree more. Everyone with a stake in our schools should read this book. It changed the way I think about Columbine and similar tragedies forever.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Admittedly off topic, but I saw this and thought of your 8-armed assistant.

Camera Snitching Octopus Steals the Show

Kristin Laughtin said...

I think this would definitely be interesting for me to read, as I was a sophomore when it happened, and witnessed many of my friends being ostracized after. It'd be good to see how my perspective has changed over the past eleven years.

Anne-Marie said...

As a teacher, albeit of younger children, I am deeply interested and will add this to my library wish list.

In the aftermath of Columbine and other school tragedies, I was shocked to find out that we had a school shooting back in the late 70s in a suburb of Toronto. As the news media was not quite so overwhelming in those days, I don't remember it all , and I was in high school then. It made for shocking reading many years later.

Thank you for continuing to provide us with great reading ideas. You are a treasure for both writers and readers.

xx
AM

Maryann Miller said...

I will definitely be getting this book. It will be helpful for updating my book on school violence, plus, I love the amazing cover. Whoever did that cover fully understands how to capture the essence of a book.

Kelly said...

Though I tend to be squeamish about anything with violence, this is definitely going on my list.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Janet,
Eleven years ago I was a teacher in Arkansas. Columbine was followed by a similar incident in Jonesboro, Arkansas. As a teacher just the mention of those events bring tears to my eyes. I firmly believe students should be allowed to carry cell phones to school in case of an emergency. Lots of schools have a no cell phone policy (including my daughter's). It makes me think they have forgotten.

Caitlin said...

Absolutely agreed, not only because this is a great book, but because it is going to be part of the literary conversation for a long time. I recently read a book published a few months after Columbine which repeated some of the misconceptions that Columbine debunks, and my respect for that author was seriously diminished. Writers, be aware of what's out there . . . because the readers certainly are.

Kate Evangelista said...

Reading this gave me chills.

Salted with Shadows said...

This was one of the best books I've ever read.

themaddychronicles.com said...

It seems like Columbine was so long ago, since high school shootings (unfortunately) seem common place now. But I remember the terror and fear in my school right after the shootings. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to pick this up.

Tamara Narayan said...

This was a great read, but haunting. It was painful to learn that there were numerous times this tradegy could have been prevented.

As a former college professor, one of my least favorite memories was a meeting with administrators and a student I caught cheating. The meeting was about making the student feel better, not about the cheating. He had a history of violent behavior. My husband is still a professor and just this week he told me about an angry student that was failing his class. He didn't want to confront the student, because frankly, he was afraid.

I wish Dave Cullen all the best on his tour. I think college professors need some practical advice on how to handle 'iffy' students.

Bon said...

I downloaded this book the day I saw this post and I could not put it down, even at work. I've actually gone back and started it again. I think this book - and the events it chronicles - need more than one pass to truly grasp the magnitude of what happened at Columbine.

Thank you, Ms Reid, for the recommendation. And thank you Mr Cullen for a truly amazing book.

Bon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn M said...

Thank you for the recommendation. I picked this book up on a Wednesday and could not put it down until I finished it. Absolutely fascinating. I didn't realize how much I didn't know. Cullen's writing style goes a long way in bringing this story to life for those of us who only witnessed the tragedy on TV and in newspaper stories.

Add me to the list of people who highly recommend this as a must-read.

Dave Cullen said...

I'm still loving these comments. Thanks.

Jean said...

Dave and Janet, because of this post, I bought this book.

Dave Cullen said...

Very nice, Jean. I can't wait to hear what you think.

Jean said...

Dave, I don't want to put the book down. I read until 4 this morning. I'm just under halfway through, but you've told it very well. Will be going back in to read more later.

stacy said...

I am finally reading this. Really having trouble putting it down. Illuminating and thought-provoking. Checking out Cullen's website, too.

Dave Cullen said...

Stacy, very nice to see people still finding the book. AND finding 4-year-old blog posts. :)