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Columbine: A True Crime Story

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  607 Ratings  ·  49 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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(showing 1-30)
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Rebecca McNutt
Chilling and unsettling yet as important now as ever, Columbine is a disturbing true crime book but worth reading all the same.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2012
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.

Dan Phillips
Jan 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I kind of read this book by accident. I thought this was the one I wanted when I should have gotten David Cullen's Columbine. Oh well. I will read that one later after I've let this one settle in for a while.

When I taught at a college in Colorado, I had to spend 4 hours in intensive active shooter training. Columbine, 10+ years earlier, is the reason. And just when I think it is maybe being overly cautious, a co-worker's daughter is shot in the Aurora theater shooting. She lived. So while I can
Edward Kearns
May 29, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve long been interested in Columbine, partly because it happened while I myself was in high school and partly because when the media talked about these messed up killers, it was scary how they didn’t seem so very different to my friends and me. That’s why I picked this book.

I thought Part One was very strong. It describes the events preceding Columbine and the day of the shooting thoroughly and systematically. It was very well researched and narrated. There were some parts which could’ve been
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).

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
Jeff Kass was one of the first reporters on the scene on April 20th, 1999 to cover the news of the Columbine High School shootings and spent the following years doing research for this book. The result is a comprehensive, if somewhat biased account of the day of the shootings and its aftermath.

For the most part, it’s a fairly good addition to other Columbine related books but it lost direction every time the author strayed from the main point to irrelevant facts like Colorado background history
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
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mary Lynn
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-research
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
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Alisa Kester
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,
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie Seymore
I felt this was very poorly written.
Sydney Morehead
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Columbine: A True Crime Story by Jeff Kass is a chilling novel about the Columbine Massacre occurring April 20,1999. This book not only goes into detail about the injuries and murders that took place on that day, but also the background of the killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris and their parents backgrounds as well.
The specific dislikes with this book is that in the beginning, the book went into brutal graphic detail about the shooting and injuries that were obtained from the events that hap
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay I just wanna say to anyone who wants actually wants facts about columbine to read this book. It's not amazingly written but reading dave Cullen's garage of a book won't help you either. It's been proven time and time again dave Cullen's information on columbine is a majority of lies. So comparing it to this book is unnecessary. Overall I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read more into the columbine case.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really horrible writing. Explotation of the Klebold and Harris families. It was like reading a trashy magazine. I couldn't finish this trash.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel McNab
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
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
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While probably more accurate than Dave Cullen's more famous Columbine, the book suffers from a complete lack of focus and a scattershot, scrapbook approach that at times almost made me feel like he was padding the page count. Detailed (but pointless) extended family history is interwoven with adapted local reportage and released sheriff's documents to try and paint a full picture of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and to try and get to the bottom of why they did what they did. It's a noble attempt ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was published in 2009 ten years after the Columbine school shooting. Kass pieces together the information that had been made public up until then to try to see if there is an answer to why Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed one teacher and twelve fellow students at Columbine High School in April 1999.
It does detail some red flags that law enforcement and teachers seemed to have missed. Kass isn't able to get much information from the shooters' parents. But they had been sued in civil cou
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
2.5/5 stars

Detail was the key factor behind me buying this book; Kass offered a deeper understanding of the events leading up to the tragedy, as well as what life was like for Dylan and Eric on a day-to-day basis. However, if you were truly interested in Columbine and wanted to know more, I wouldn't recommend this. Primarily because the book on Columbine by Dave Cullen covered all areas in enough detail to quench your interest in the subject.

Kass and Cullen are both journalists who accumulated e
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
May 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book boring at times, Kass drones on about history on Susan which I am not sure is relevant to the story. He than only spends time talking about one victim family and completely omitting the rest.

Kass also couldn't stay objective, which wouldn't have been so bad had the book focused more on columbine than on family histories.

I did find the addition of nots and excerpts from Dylan and Eric's journals interesting.

I had hoped that Kass would deliver more info on what he had found
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