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4.00004929994084 out of 54.00004929994084 out of 54.00004929994084 out of 54.00004929994084 out of 54.00004929994084 out of 5 4.00 (20,284 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dave Cullen Narrator: Don Leslie Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2018 ISBN: 9781549117251
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EXPANDED WITH A NEW EPILOGUE

"The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . ."

So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.

What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The definitive account, [of the tragedy] will likely be Dave Cullen's COLUMBINE, a nonfiction book that has the pacing of an action movie and the complexity of a Shakespearean drama . . . Cullen has a gift, if that's the right word, for excruciating detail. At times the language is so vivid you can almost smell the gunpowder and the fear. Newsweek
  • COLUMBINE is an excellent work of media criticism, showing how legends become truths through continual citation; a sensitive guide to the patterns of public grief, ... a fine example of old fashioned journalism . . . moving things along with agility and grace. Jennifer Senior, The New York Times Book Review
  • While the details of the day are indeed gruesome, Cullen neither embellishes nor sensationalizes. His unadorned prose and staccato sections offer welcome relief from the grisly minutiae... Cullen's honor and reporting skills propel this book beyond tabloid and into true literature. Newsday
  • A gripping study . . . To his credit, Mr. Cullen does not simply tear down Columbine's legends. He also convincingly explains what really sparked the murderous rage . . . disquieting . . . beautifully written. The New York Observer
  • From the very first page, I could not put COLUMBINE Dave Cullen's searing narrative, down. Dylan ... How the killings unfolded, and why, reads like the grisliest of fiction. Would that it were not true. Grade: A Entertainment Weekly
  • A remarkable book. It is painstakingly reported, well-organized and compellingly written . . . For any reader who wants to understand the complicated nature of evil, this book is a masterpiece. The Seattle Times
  • Leveraged for political ends by Michael Moore on film and adopted for convenience by the news media as shorthand for teenage violence, Columbine has begun to feel as impenetrable and allegorical as Greek myth. So the intensive reporting of Denver-based journalist Dave Cullen is welcome. . . Cullen creates more than a nuanced portrait of school shooters as young men. He writes a human story - a compassionate narrative of teenagers with guns (and bombs, too), and the havoc they wreak on a school, a community, and America.—Esquire
  • Exhaustive and supremely level-headed . . . The ways in which the Columbine story became distorted in the retelling make for one of the most fascinating aspects of Cullen's book . . . Hopping back and forth in time, Cullen manages to tell this complicated story with remarkable clarity and coherence. As one of the first reporters on the scene in 1999, he has been studying this event firsthand for a decade, and his book exudes a sense of authority missing from much of the original media coverage. ...Cullen strikes just the right tone of tough-minded compassion, for the most part steering clear of melodrama, sermonizing and easy answers. Gary Krist, Washington Post
  • COLUMBINE is a remarkable achievement. Cullen has brought illumination to a dark and difficult topic, and the result is an example of literary nonfiction at its finest: masterful, clear-eyed, bold - and unforgettable. Charlotte Observer
  • Comprehensively reported . . . Cullen scrupulously interpolates the interrupted lives of students, teachers, and lawmen. Seattle Weekly
  • In this remarkable account of the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting, journalist Cullen not only dispels several of the prevailing myths about the event but tackles the hardest question of all: why did it happen? Drawing on extensive interviews, police reports and his own reporting, Cullen meticulously pieces together what happened when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves.... Cullen expertly balances the psychological analysis-enhanced by several of the nation's leading experts on psychopathology-with an examination of the shooting's effects on survivors, victims' families and the Columbine community. Readers will come away from Cullen's unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren't easy to stomach. Publishers Weekly, Starred Reivew
  • Comprehensive...It's a book that hits you like a crime scene photo, a reminder of what journalism at its best is all about. Cullen knows his material from the inside; he covered Columbine, for Salon and Slate primarily, 'beginning around noon on the day of the attack.' But if this gives him a certain purchase on the story, his perspective is what resonates. LA Times
  • Cullen's book is a nerve-wracking, methodical and panoramic account...COLUMBINE has its terrifying sections, particularly during Cullen's minute-by-minute rendering of the chaotic 49-minute assault. He puts us inside and outside the building, and he captures the disbelief viewers experienced in 'almost witnessing mass murder' live on television. Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • A chilling page-turner, a striking accomplishment given that Cullen's likely readers almost certainly know how the tragic story ends...I knew Cullen was a dogged reporter and a terrific writer, but even I was blown away by the pacing and story-telling he mastered in Columbine, a disturbing, inspiring work of art. Salon
  • Comprehensively nightmarish . . . Cullen's task is difficult not only because the events in question are almost literally unspeakable but also because even as he tells the story of a massacre that took the lives of 15 people, including the killers, he has to untell the stories that have already been told . . . Should this story be told at all? There's an element of sick, voyeuristic fascination to it--we don't need an exercise in disaster porn. But Columbine is a necessary book. . . . The actual events of April 20, 1999, are exactly as appalling as you'd expect, and Cullen doesn't spare us a second of them. Time
  • A staggering achievement, ...Rather than burden the deftly written prose with excessive footnotes, Cullen wisely includes a detailed timeline, bibliography and lengthy notes in the back of the book. The 417-page COLUMBINE tears open old wounds but does so with an aching, unflinching clarity that's only possible with hindsight . . . admirable, harrowing work . . . one of the finer nonfiction efforts thus far in 2009. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • What [Columbine] captures better than any other reporting is the confusion and fear that come from an inability to make sense of something that has no reason, no cause, no source-confusion and fear that can lead to damaging misinformation and lasting fictions. New York Magazine
  • While tackling popular misconceptions, Cullen gives a riveting account of what happened that day and how the survivors view the event that marked their lives forever. CNN

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 sean2e | 9/5/2016

    " This is hands down the most comprehensive book on this subject. If you have any interest do not hesitate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Omar Leal | 2/20/2014

    " I would consider this book to be the definitive account of what happened at columbine, made all the more poignant considering recent events. However, the one problem with this is, the author believes his to be the case as well and takes every opportunity to continually remind you how he is right and other accounts were so very, very wrong. The opening is a bit confusing, as it walks through the day of the massacre. What is confusing and annoying is that the author continually mentions there is more to the story while recounting the timeline. In hindsight, this does make an effective opening but during the initial reading it was more annoying than gripping, more like the author was trying to add suspense to a story we already knew the outcome to. The best part of the book is the background stories of Dylan and Eric and how they came to that end. Especially interesting is post mortem diagnosis of Eric as a sociopath and Dylan more a depressed/suicidal follower than psycho. Their attempts at bravado, both in their writings and videos is more sad than chilling or frightening. All in all though the book is well worth the read to both remember a significant event in American history and as small glimpse in the mentality than can see this as a viable goal to be obtained. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shetal | 2/15/2014

    " Listened via Audible. Excellent read if you are like me and harbored a morbid curiosity about the school shooters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dylan | 2/9/2014

    " This was a very informative book that was able to form a nonfiction event in a compelling way. However, given that this book was not of my own selection I found some of the subject matter to be very disturbing. I would not read this book of my own accord. It was written proficiently, though personally I perfer a bit more eloquence in the writing I read ( of course, that's me being a fantasy buff). Overall, this nonfiction-novel served its purpose as informing the populace on the truth of The Columbine Tragedy. However, there were times where the author seemed to interject some of his opinion with the characters/ quotes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 2/8/2014

    " Decent book that gives you a pretty in-depth look at what happened and why. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine Hampton | 2/3/2014

    " Excellent account of the tragedy. Plenty of background evidence. Hard to understand what drove the two teenagers to do it. More info to be released in 2017. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/26/2014

    " Really interesting, in-depth description of the Columbine shooting and its "before and afters." I appreciate how much emphasis Cullen put on trying to gain insight into the personalities and lives of the two shooters. It is a heart-breaking, thorough, and captivating read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 1/15/2014

    " Such an amazing read that I just wasn't able to tackle until much after the incident that was so close to my home and heart. Working in the district and having children in high school at the time brought some real heart rending knowledge to this book. I gained some very interesting information as well. A great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 1/12/2014

    " Must read, one of my favourites. If you think you know the ins and outs of this terrible tragedy, pick this up. Could not put it down. Amongst it's dark theme there are moments of heroism that the media left out. Part of my permanent collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney Milford | 1/9/2014

    " I enjoyed this book very much, even though I had lived through the news of the story and was pretty familiar with it. Obviously, it is a very sad book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martyna | 12/31/2013

    " Meticulously researched and overall brilliant, kept me hooked until the last page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beckydham | 11/27/2013

    " Amazingly researched and thoughtful. At first I didn't like the back-n-forth organization, but it paid off at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Audrey | 10/27/2013

    " If you haven't read this book-you likely don't know what happened at Columbine...thought I knew and was floored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Greenwald | 9/25/2013

    " Good insight despite the authors liberties with creating hypothetical interactions "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 12/15/2012

    " in his writing reminiscent of krakauer, cullen does a great job jumping from story to story to weave together a just about 360-degree view of what happened before, during, and after columbine. would recommend to anyone who likes a good investigative journalism story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry Frabizio | 1/29/2012

    " Re-read after having a conversation about it with some colleagues. It was almost more disturbing the second time through. Essential reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 9/4/2011

    " Interesting, very interesting. I liked the writing style, but I didn't like he incessantly cutting away and focusing on trivial items. All in all a very fascinating portrait of two boys. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Augusto | 7/24/2011

    " It was actually a really amazing book and it drove me to have legitimate emotions at some points, but the fact that it was so long just puts me off a little. All in all, still a great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 6/27/2011

    " An insightful look at the lives of the Columbine shooters and a number of the people they affected. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 6/26/2011

    " It is impossible to get through this book without tears, especially if you have ever lost someone to violence. An even-handed look at everyone, even the killers themselves, which brings a cathartic release of grief for the horror that happened in this community. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 6/25/2011

    " Excellent book. Didn't expect it to be as good. Really got into the families. Amazing.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 6/23/2011

    " Fascinating yet disturbing account of the Columbine massacre – and how it could have been prevented. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sasha | 6/22/2011

    " outstanding journalism. a tremendous amount of information, reporting, research, went into this book, and Cullen explains the terrible event, what led up to it, and what happened subsequently, really, really well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dale | 6/13/2011

    " An incredible, compelling, insightful piece of nonfiction. More than journalism, it's the very definition of 'creative nonfiction.'
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marian | 6/13/2011

    " A tough read, but well worth it. Everything I thought I knew about Columbine was not true. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suz | 6/13/2011

    " An extraordinary and fascinating account of the tragedy, the players, the politics and the aftermath of Columbine ten years later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 6/12/2011

    " Detailed..... Very disturbing that humans can be so destructive!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/10/2011

    " A shocking, informative, poignant and sorrowful piece of nonfiction. Extremely well told. I felt like I learned quite a bit about Columbine, and the journalist seemed to put quite a bit of thought into it. True, he fixed things up in ten years' time, but the writing still deserves accolades. "

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About the Author
Author Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen is a journalist and author who has contributed to Slate, Salon, and the New York Times. He is considered the nation’s foremost authority on the Columbine killers and has also written extensively on Evangelical Christians, gays in the military, politics, and pop culture. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Boulder, Colorado, he has won several writing awards.

About the Narrator

Don Leslie has appeared on Broadway, off Broadway, and in regional theaters throughout the country. He has been heard in thousands of commercials, promos for all the broadcast networks and most cable stations, political campaigns, movie trailers, and over fifty audiobooks.