my account

Dave Cullen: Parkland

April 2, 2019 by Tim Ehrenberg
Dave Cullen by Justin Bishop

Dave Cullen's Columbine is my favorite nonfiction book I have ever read. That's a bold statement, but it's true. It is a fantastic example of expert journalism. A lot of people think they know the story of the Columbine shooting, but Dave Cullen transports you to Littleton, CO on April 20, 1999 and gives you the definitive account. You may be surprised at the things you learn, what you thought you knew, and what really happened. You can hear the gun shots, smell the fear, and feel the shock, grief, and sadness. It is truly a testament to Mr. Cullen's writing and his ability to take us into that school and into the minds of the shooters, the victims, and the survivors. It's one of the best things about literature and our Festival -- to hear these stories of crisis and how to grow from them. Now 20 years later, the book Columbine is just as important.

Since Columbine, and as of me writing this blog post, America alone has lost 683 lives in 81 mass shootings, and virtually nothing has been done. No need to fact check that. It's true.

The topic of gun violence is truly just as relevant today and in my opinion there's no one better to discuss it than Dave Cullen for our Nantucket audience.

Parkland, Cullen's newest book, is just as informative and fascinating, but in a different way. It's not about a school shooting. It's about a movement. An inspirational account of the extraordinary teenage survivors from Parkland who pushed back against the NRA and congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for our Lives movement. Cullen writes of hope, of empowerment, of change. He inspires students, groups, and communities everywhere to make a stand. The book jacket says, "After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the "March for Our Lives" kids are mapping a way out. They see a long road ahead, a generational struggle to save every kid of every color from the ravages of gun violence in America." This book and Cullen's appearance at Festival along with the story he has to tell, will inspire anyone who wants to see change. Read the books, come hear Dave Cullen speak, and be a part of the movement.

Close up on Cullen.

Dave Cullen has been covering the blight of mass murders in America for two decades, first with Columbine, now Parkland: Birth of a Movement. Columbine was a New York Times bestseller and the consensus definitive account. Parkland is a story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes.

Columbine made two dozen Best of 2009 lists including New York Times, and won several major awards, including the Edgar and Goodreads Choice Award for best nonfiction of the year. It now appears on several all-time True Crime Top 10 lists.

Dave has written for The New York Times, London Times, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, Politico, New Republic, Newsweek, Guardian, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Slate, Salon, The Millions, Lapham's Quarterly, etc. He has appeared on PBS Newshour, NBC Nightly News, Today, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, Morning Edition, CBS This Morning, New Day, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O'Donnell, Talk of the Nation, The Nineties, Hannity, etc.

Dave is a former army infantry grunt who is gay. Parkland struck while he was in year 18 of a book about two gay soldiers. He will finish that soon. (I have been waiting for this book for 14 years.) Dave wrote Columbine in Colorado, then moved to NYC. He is uncle to 11 cool humans and 1 adorable corgi, Bobby Sneakers.

I am thrilled to welcome Dave Cullen to the 8th Annual Nantucket Book Festival. You can hear him speak at Opening Night on Friday June 14th and at his event that afternoon. The Nantucket Book Foundation is also bringing Dave to the schools to speak to and inspire our Island students after the Festival on Monday, June 17th.