I just finished Dave Cullen’s Columbine and I must say it was one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. Reminding me of the true crime Capote classic In Cold Blood, this work is methodically researched and haunting in it’s detail and scope. I would have to say it is even better and just as likely to become a classic. Detailing not just that fateful day in Littleton, Colorado but every aspect imaginable, this work is simply a book that you cannot part with once you have begun. Cullen not only tries to inform the reader of every moment of that horrendous tragedy but also tries to give true insight into the “why”. Both victims, law enforcement and the killers are given faces and true identities in our mind. In over 350 pages of overwhelmingly exact detail, Cullen gives us a picture of that fateful day that will be hard for any reader to ever forget. The most interesting aspect of this work for me was the mass misinformation created through the media that still survives and continues to be seen as fact even today. Cullen shows how several stories coming from the tragedy are completely either untrue or extremely warped. I also enjoyed Cullen’s unique narrative style in that he did not tell the story chronologically but instead painted multiple pictures at once in order to further the reader’s understanding as the story unravels.
As someone who was in high school when Columbine took place, it was hard not to imagine my own high school experiences as I read. To see what can happen in only a moment when everything falls into place in a truly horrific way. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are discussed in great detail and the revelation of how much information they left behind was truly astonishing. Cullen collected his information from interviews, official police reports, journals and videotapes and I must say the massive amount of research that went into this book is completely evident from the colossal breadth of the story that is painted and told in a truly addictive form. I would recommnd this book to anyone who might be interesed not just in Columbine but in a truly award worthy documentation of a day in history that should never be forgotten.