Dave Cullen

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Dave Cullen

Goodreads Author


in suburban Chicago, The United States
June 03, 1961





member since
May 2009

About this author

Dave Cullen is the author of the New York Times bestseller Columbine, a haunting portrait of two killers and their victims. He has written for New York Times, BuzzFeed, Times of London, Newsweek, Guardian, Washington Post, Slate, Salon, and Daily Beast. He is now writing "Soldiers First" for HarperCollins, about two senior gay army officers.

(Columbine is summarized concisely in this three minute Columbine shooting intro video (book trailer.))

To get notified when my 2nd book, Soldiers First, is published, email soldiers@davecullen.com with subject line "notify".

Cullen spent ten years writing and researching Columbine. He was driven by two questions: why did they kill, and what became of the survivors? The surprise was that most of what we "

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Dave Cullen My next book will be "Soldiers First," for HarperCollins. In a nutshell:

The tumultuous story of two closeted gay soldiers, whose quest for love and…more
My next book will be "Soldiers First," for HarperCollins. In a nutshell:

The tumultuous story of two closeted gay soldiers, whose quest for love and freedom paralleled the torment of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A love story and a soldier's story — at war.

It began 14 years ago, when I spent half a year with 3 closeted gay captains in Colorado Springs, and wrote a huge feature about them for Salon (changing their names and hiding their identities.) I've been following them ever since, which is kind of an unusual endeavor. I'm not just interviewing them about their lives, I'm watching their lives unfold.

Much more about it here:

Dave Cullen I assume you mean the book I'm writing now (due out in 2-3 years, tentatively titled "Soldiers First."

It was really a fusion of a couple different…more
I assume you mean the book I'm writing now (due out in 2-3 years, tentatively titled "Soldiers First."

It was really a fusion of a couple different books I wanted to write, with a huge genesis.

I dropped out of college at 21 (3.5 years in, but nowhere near graduating, having tried a slew of majors) and enlisted in the army to help sort out my life--and I guess make more of a man out of myself. (I was gay, but in deep denial about that and still in deep self-loathing about being such a worthless fag.)

I kind of expected to fail miserably, but took to it like a fish to water, loved it and got sent to Officer Candidate School to become an officer. I had my first run-ins with fellow soldiers accused of being gay, which really scarred me a bit. For many, many years, I knew I needed to write about that. That was 1983.

Then in 2000, I wrote a piece on gays in the military for Salon.com, which led me to meet an active-duty army captain, who introduced me to many more, and their life was so fascinating that I spent 5 months with them and completely changed the Salon piece into an account of their lives. (Of all the soldiers, I picked the most interesting 3: all captains.) It was an 11,000-word piece which won a GLAAD Media Award.

I always expected to follow up, but didn't foresee a book. But I became friends with the guys, stayed close, and two of them went through such amazing turmoil, it screamed out as a book.

I wanted to write their story, but also a story about my experience, and another book about the three recent US wars: The Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As I sorted these projects out, they gradually fused into one. (The two guys served in all three wars).(less)
Average rating: 4.24 · 34,506 ratings · 4,720 reviews · 2 distinct works · Similar authors
4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 34,503 ratings — published 2009 — 3 editions
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Soldiers First
2.67 of 5 stars 2.67 avg rating — 3 ratings
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

Famous people are often annoying. Then they die, which is sad, but I get REALLY annoyed, and feel guilty for it, reading all the half-truth obits painting them as saintly perfection.

Mike Hastings was highly unsaintly and imperfect. He could be harsh, volcanic and unforgiving, and he picked way more fights than he needed. And a few other things. I worried about him. So no bullshit that he was a... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on June 18, 2013 21:15 • 259 views

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Dave Cullen is now friends with Martin
Dave Cullen added a status update: Watching those kids idolize the "Fault In Our Stars" author was startling. Made me feel shitty for feeling annoyed by some of their requests. Sorry kids.
(More at my FB page.)
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Dave Cullen added a status update: Heating up, shirts coming off at yoga. 75 minutes drooling over ripped torso across from me, decided to lose 5 pounds by Pride.*
I want that bod. Close enough, might as well go for it. smile emoticon
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Dave Cullen added a status update: Falstaff is now my most hated character in literature. I hope the other histories don't include so much "comedy."

(I kinda want permission to just skip his scenes.)
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Dave Cullen added a status update: Talented friend landed 1st piece in NYTimes! Literal title, extraordinary read: "The Fox Who Came to Dinner." http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...
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More of Dave's books…
“You can't really teach a kid anything: you can only show him the way and motivate him to learn it himself.”
Dave Cullen, Columbine

“The final portrait is often furthest from the truth.”
Dave Cullen, Columbine

“You know, it gets frustrating, because you know in your heart where you were and what you said, and then people doubt you. And that's what bothers me the most. -Valeen Schnurr of the Columbine massacre”
Dave Cullen, Columbine


What would you like to read in February?

  8 votes, 42.1%

  5 votes, 26.3%

  4 votes, 21.1%

  2 votes, 10.5%

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Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Challenge: 50 Books: Lucy Y's Books! 1 177 Jul 23, 2009 12:33PM  
Cover to Cover Ch...: Aths' Race to 144 in 2010 13 82 Jan 12, 2010 04:49PM  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Spring Challenge 2010 Completed Tasks 2734 2334 May 31, 2010 09:00PM  
Book Nook Cafe: Dinner with Friends ~ July 2010 32 45 Jul 23, 2010 12:18PM  
Q&A with Dave...: * COLUMBINE Q&A w/ Dave Cullen June 10-24, 2009 146 482 Aug 09, 2010 02:02PM  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Summer Challenge 2010 Completed Tasks (do NOT delete any posts in this thread) 3059 3056 Aug 31, 2010 10:39PM  
“Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn't know yet that her husband was dead. We knew. That's what gave her such power over us. The doctor took her into a room with a desk at the end of the hall, and from under the closed door a slab of brilliance radiated as if, by some stupendous process, diamonds were being incinerated in there. What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere.”
Denis Johnson

“We made mad love
shadow love
random love
and abandoned love.
Accidentally like a martyr.
The hurt gets worse, and the heart gets harder.”
Warren Zevon, The Warren Zevon Guitar Songbook: Enjoy Every Sandwich

“Passion is no ordinary word”
Graham Parker

“An I'll never forget the smile on my face
cos I knew where you would be
An if you're in the Crown tonight
Have a drink on me
But go easy...step lightly...stay free
-- "Stay Free”
Mick Jones, The Clash Songbook

“Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.

This is the whole of the story and we might have left it at that had there not been profit and pleasure in the telling; and although there is plenty of space on a gravestone to contain, bound in moss, the abridged version of a man's life, detail is always welcome.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark

19522 Q&A with Dave Cullen — 69 members — last activity Aug 09, 2010 02:02PM
I am hosting a discussion of my new book COLUMBINE June 10-24. Please invite your friends. Tweets, facebook postings, etc. would also be great. A dire ...more
9066 Book Trailers (tm) & Author Web Sites — 840 members — last activity May 28, 2015 09:46PM
This is the place to discuss the creation and promotion of your "book videos" and "author web sites."
1218 The Next Best Book Club — 14446 members — last activity 1 hour, 49 min ago
Are you searching for the NEXT best book? Are you willing to kiss all your spare cash goodbye? Are you easily distracted by independent bookshops, big ...more
25350 THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB — 7088 members — last activity 4 hours, 51 min ago
ALL GENRE COMMUNITY OF BOOK LOVERS-Perfect for those interested in good books of any genre, film and lively discussion!-(300 PLUS DISCUSSION TOPICS)fr ...more
8255 Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising — 2282 members — last activity 16 hours, 27 min ago
Tips from authors for authors. List what works for you and what hasn't. Whether you're selling a few author copies or just trying to get your name out ...more
372 Obsessed with True Crime — 972 members — last activity May 17, 2015 06:50PM
For people that simply love true crime stories and want to connect with others that share a common interest.
26989 Goodreads Authors/Readers — 20719 members — last activity 5 minutes ago
This group is dedicated to connecting readers with Goodreads authors. It is divided by genres, and includes folders for writing resources, book websit ...more
18240 Cullens 4ever — 25 members — last activity Sep 11, 2009 07:34PM
I put that there foor attantion. XD Cullen lovers only. Please don't say anything bad about them. We are a family.Don't diss family! We are also a fa ...more
25x33 Schools out!! What are good books? — 32 members — last activity Jul 13, 2009 09:20AM
This group is about good books for the summer. Like fun books that you can read in spare time. Please join this group!!
220 Goodreads Librarians Group — 50231 members — last activity 12 minutes ago
A place where all Goodreads members can work together to improve the Goodreads book catalog. Non-librarians are welcome to join the group as well, to ...more
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message 12: by Pukka13

Pukka13 Dave! Thanks for adding me. I read "Columbine" some years ago and was completely floored by the depth of your research. Your writing is remarkable. I look forward to your next book. Thanks again!

message 11: by Betryal

Betryal Hey Dave, thanks for the accept. I just got your book, which I've been reading a lot of those types recently with the shootings and/or bullying and look forward to reading it.

message 10: by Dave

Dave Cullen Thanks, Linda. A magazine story and then book on gay soldiers. More on it here:


message 9: by Linda

Linda Atnip Hi Dave,

I'm delighted to connect with such an accomplished writer and fellow author here on GR. What are you working on now?

Happy reading & writing,


message 8: by Gary

Gary Revel Thanks for the add DAVE;

At Barnes and Noble

My birth in Alabama, youth, high school-Holmes County High School, US Navy Service, music-Hollywood, Memphis, Nashville, Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination Investigation, recording and releasing the single record of the song about the MLK assassination, THEY SLEW THE DREAMER and more.

Paperback and for Nook Book-Click Here

message 7: by Beth

Beth Hi Dave,
Thanks for befriending this fellow author on Goodreads! Living in Colorado, the events at Columbine hit close to home, and being a mystery author, I have heard presentations from Colorado police officers who were involved in the investigation.

message 6: by David

David Gallagher Thanks for adding me! I'm a big fan since I first heard about Columbine, about 10 years ago. I really wish I could find your book in this book-deprived country!

PS. I won't say "happy" because it's impossible, but have SOME kind of 11-year anniversary since Columbine today.

Mysterium Wishing you a deep sense of peace and good fortune this holiday season!!!! Happy reading!!!

Pastor Chris

message 4: by Ryan

Ryan i know you've read black hawk down... right? I ran a "compare books" between you and me and it didn't come up... haha

message 3: by Dave

Dave Cullen Goodreads nominated me for "Favorite NONFICTION book of 2009." That made me very happy. If you liked the book, please consider voting for it here:


My category is #3.

Your votes determine the winners.



message 2: by Kelly

Kelly Dave,
I suppose that is what happens when you write with honesty and a good heart. :) I hope for all the best in your writing career.

message 1: by Dave

Dave Cullen Hi. I was amazed and touched to see all the interest in my book here: nearly 500 reviews. Wow.

I'm looking forward to figuring out how to connect with many of you on this site. I'm fumbling my way for now.

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