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Columbine: A True Crime Story
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Columbine: A True Crime Story

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Columbine: A True Crime Story is thefirst book of investigative journalism to tell the complete story of Littleton, ColoradoOCOs 1999 mass shooting, its far-reaching consequences, and common characteristics amongst public shooters across the country. The result of fteen years of research and exclusive information, Jeff KassOCOs comprehensive account explores fundamental Am ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Ghost Road Press (first published March 25th 2009)
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Like Cullen's more popular book on the same subject, Kass' books excels on some levels and fails on others.

In the positive column:

-Kass provides many more examples of the killers' personal diaries, writings, and other relevant documents. There is nothing like hearing from the killers in their own words.

-Kass focuses more on the killers and their motivations. I felt as if I had a clearer picture of who Dylan Klebold was...though Harris remained more elusive...perhaps because his family has been s
Cullen's look at Columbine is much more resonant and poignant. Kass' approach feels sensationalized and biased. He injects himself so much within the text that I frequently felt as though he were patting himself on the back for all he accomplished in digging up dirt on the families of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. He only mentions one of the victims' families in detail - that of Isaiah Shoeles - which appear to be as out for their 15 minutes of fame as they are for memorializing their son.

I wasn't as impressed with this book as I was with the other Columbine book recently published.

The author seems to suppose things without concrete proof. I understand it's hard to prove thing with the killers dead, but then, don't "suppose" you know what they were thinking either.

The layout was kind of jumpy and all over the place, although that may have been the author's intention. There were also a few grammatical errors (that were NOT in the intentionally left in area).

Dan Phillips
This was a poorly written, horribly dull book - especially compared with Dave Cullen's Columbine. The most interesting parts were the fuller excerpts from Eric and Dylan's journals and school essays. Elsewhere, Jeff Kass spends a telling amount of time explaining why no-one wants to talk to him. So here we have a book about trying to write a book about Columbine...and failing.
Edward Kearns
This book was the most poorly edited tome I have ever laid eyes on. The book was poorly written, poorly organized and lacked a cohesive narrative.
Madelyn Louis
Columbine by Jeff Kass is a news novel that incorporates all aspects of the tragic school shooting that occured at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999. It includes all the information from the entire investigation starting with a a detailed description of how Eric and Dylan, the killers, showed up to school that day and murdered 12 of their classmates and 1 teacher. It also incorporates so many people invloved with the tragedy like Eric and Dylan's families, friends, other classmates, and ...more
While I think this is a better over all book than Dave Cullen's Columbine, there were parts that just seemed like they were filler. He goes into details of minor people and it's just unnecessary. He doesn't talk nearly enough about the victims, however, it felt much more than what Cullen did.

I think people like Cullen's book better simply because Cullen chooses to make people believe we have an excellent portrait of the killers. We can even label them. Kass doesn't take that tact, which doesn't
Jill Crosby
Fairly decent---did little to uncover any new information on the tragedy; the author spent most of his time complaining about how no one would "talk to him/" Not the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept., not the families of the shooters, not the families of the victims (with the exception, of course, of the media-hound & racial trump-card throwing Michael Shoels, father of victim Isaiah.) No one would talk to this guy---a reporter for the "Rocky Mountain Times."
He's all about burial of informati
Although this book does not officially come out until April it is available on for pre-order. It is the first book written by a journalist to fully explore the Columbine High School shootings and tell the definitive stories of Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. Kass, who is a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and has covered the Columbine story since day one, has spent the past ten years working on this book. Kass' investigative journalism takes the reader on a journ ...more
Mary Lynn
This book (to me) is what it means to be a writer in that it made me understand the two killers, their motive and their background a lot more. Kass's book was an uncomfortable read that stuck with me. It is a gritty and real account of a tragedy that explores the human nature aspect of why these events happen. It also shows the frustration of journalism in getting the run around because of a cover up and negligence by the police who had the ability to do something before people were murdered and ...more
Columbine, A True Crime Story is the definitive book on the mass shooting that took place at Columbine High School on April 19, 1999 in Littleton, CO

Jeff Kass was one of the first reporters on the scene. However when the media circus packed up their tents and moved on to the next town, Jeff Kass continued to dig. He wanted to find out not only the what, where, and how; but the why?

In researching this book Jeff Kass dug through Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris’s personal journals and daytimers. He t
Probably the best book on the Columbine Tragedy I've read to date...and also one recommended by one of the Columbine fathers as being the closest to the truth of what happened.

I really only have small problems with it; it occasionally falls into the error of "cherry-picking" quotes from the journals and writing of the shooters, ignoring all the quotes that tend to disprove the points the author is trying to make. The author also claims Eric Harris' journal is the 'most truthful' of his writings,
This is the second book I read on Columbine and it was impossible to not compare it to the more recent book on the incident. This book was less well-crafted, and details seemed more lurid - the cover alone is nightmare-producing. However, it does fill in some gaps in the story as the reporter does a thorough job. Like the other book, it is haunting and disturbing. I thought I wanted to gain an understanding of why Columbine happened and while I probably did, I'm not all that happy that these fac ...more
Rachel McNab
20th April 1999. 18 year old Eric Harris and 17 year old Dylan Klebold massacre thirteen students and staff at their high school and then turn the guns on themselves. Fifteen years later and we still don't know why. Fifteen years later and school shootings are horrifyingly on the rise, which is the simple reason why books on Columbine are still so important.

What lets this book down is the multiple grammatical mistakes and errors that make me doubt whether it was ever proof read. There's also a c
I'm glad I read David Cullen's book before this one. David Cullen really sets out a thorough timeline and talks about how Harris and Klebold went from high school student to high school shooter. Everything is done is a very linear fashion, with clear descriptions.

This book is a good supplement to that. I was able to use Cullen's book to fill in information that was not elaborated on in this one. I'm glad I read it, but to be honest there was nothing new in it. I guess the sad truth is that we kn
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Intense read, detail focus on the tragic school shooting, that stunned a community and nation.
This author brought together the first reports of witness statements, first responders and investigators into the events of the shooting and rescue, and the sobering response to the tragedy that parents and families experienced at the cost of investigations....
Leigh Sabey
Kass made a good attempt at sorting out the mess of the Columbine investigations, but there were a few aspects of this book that bothered me. It seemed strange that he focused mostly on the actions of only one victim's family, and his sections about the history of Colorado and the Wild West seemed out of place. I understand why it took 10 years for these two journalistic books about Columbine to come out (the other being Columbine by Dave Cullen) -- so many questions are still unanswered. Though ...more
This book did not go into detail about the actual events of the day, nor did it discuss the short lives of the victims. It, instead, discussed the lives and personalities of the two gunmen and their families, and also how their relationships with the people that helped them to get their guns. It also shed light on the argument many are still making about the many "foul-ups" made by the Littletown Police Dept. This book, contrary to what some might believe, was actually a little boring at times.
Mari Stroud
The author has an odd fixation on spelling and grammar errors within the Littleton Police Department and CBI as indicative of low intelligence (Klebold and Harris were both of above-average intelligence and yet left diaries and other writings riddled with errors), but overall it's solid. The era of journalistic objectivity might have passed if it ever existed, but Kass tries very hard to be worthy of it. The story of the Shoels family is particularly affecting.
Jeff Kass was one of the original reporters covering the Columbine story for a Denver newspaper. This book is quite an undertaking, and the result of 10 years of investigation.

Dave Cullen's Columbine was more about the "how" of Columbine. This book aims to answer more about the "why" of Columbine.
Will have to read again. I found the book interesting. It looked more indept at all the reports and both boys. I was at the beach while reading this book an could not quite get into it like i needed to, I will reread at some point in time.
This book was very different from Cullen's book; and I liked how this book presented another perspective on things. I liked how he began with the massacre and from then on wrote in a chronological order.

I didn't love it. I think I'll have to read the other one. It didn't write as much about the victims as I wished. The entire story is completely tragic in so many ways. I wish it were better written.
Heather Colacurcio
Not as comprehensive as Dave Cullen's "Columbine", but still a good effort. I suggest reading this along with Cullen's and Brooks Brown's "No Easy Answers" for a more complete story.
Anastasia Toomey
I was disappointed. The detail and outcomes of this book seemed very thin to me. Maybe I am looking for answers and reasons when there are none...will erad the other one and compare.
Ola Jaggers
An awful story, but very well written. I was younger when this happened, so really did not know the details of it. This book really opened my eyes.
Apr 24, 2009 Jim added it
factual text on the columbine tradegy. having lived in littleton and a son schoolteacher in the area added to the interest in this book.
Emily Moore
I hated the way this book was written... I love learning about all things Columbine, yet this was uninteresting and somewhat of a drag!
Ken Fisher
Of all of the Columbine books, I believe this one is the most journalistic. I would not read Cullen's book until I've read this one.
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