Nicola's Reviews > Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen
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Oct 06, 09

bookshelves: crime, non-fiction

I'd read some of Dave Cullen's articles about the Columbine massacre for Salon (notably, Inside the Columbine High Investigation) and found them smart and compelling. After almost ten years covering the case, Cullen's book about Columbine shows the work of a dedicated and thoughtful journalist. It's meticulous in detail, challenging or corroborating even the smallest facets of the massacre.

The result is a chilling and often horrific read. Notably, the latter half of the book alternates between a reconstruction of Eric Harris and Dylan Kleebold's thoughts and activities during the preceding year, and the struggles of the survivors and grieving community to move on in the years after the massacre. For a reader, it creates a sensation like taking a shaky step forward, then being kicked backwards. Is it an effective structure? Maybe, but it makes a disturbing account feel even more harrowing.

As a book about psychopathy, depression and so-called killing 'dyads', it's fascinating. As a book that cuts through the rumours and myths surrounding Columbine, it's an undeniably important document. But is it a book I ever want to read again? No.
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