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Columbine by Dave Cullen
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Jun 01, 09

bookshelves: july-aug-2009

Many reviewers were more concerned with coming to grips with the attack rather than assessing the book, but their concern may be a testament to Cullen's work. His reporting fundamentally reframes the event: Columbine, he writes, should be thought of as a failed bombing rather than a school shooting. Furthermore, much of the conventional wisdom about how to prevent such attacksóessentially, watch out for pimply outcasts with a grudgeóis confounded by an investigation into Harris's and Klebold's actual lives. Most critics, with Janet Maslin a notable exception, thought that Cullen's account helps us to better wring meaning from the tragedy. In sum, Columbine "is an excellent work of media criticism, showing how legends become truths through continual citation" (New York Times Book Review).

This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

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