Dave Cullen’s “Columbine:” Extraordinary Scholarship and Journalism

I don’t have the time just now to do a complete review that would do justice to Dave Cullen’s extraordinary book Columbine.

But as I watch all the “Best of 2009” lists include Dave’s amazingly  insightful and thoughtful book, I wanted to make sure that my students know just what is possible when an immensely talented journalist and scholar takes the time to understand an event sometimes dismissed as inexplicable.

Dave’s Columbine is the virtual opposite of the standard shlocky true-crime book. In fact, I hate to even mention it in the same breath as those overnight rush-jobs by self-styled criminologists who throw in every rumor and sensational news story and call it a book.  Dave examines — with uncommon care and empathy —  all of the many lives and social forces that came together at that horrible moment and the result is easily the best work about a  sudden act of mass violence I have ever read.

I can’t recommend it strongly enough.