Friday, December 18, 2009

Salon: best nonfiction books of 2009's Laura Miller named her five best nonfiction books of 2009. One title on the list:
"Columbine" by Dave Cullen

The 1999 mass murder at Columbine High School in Colorado was an event at once freakish and quintessentially American. It was also a reporter's nightmare, with hundreds of eyewitnesses, conflicting accounts of what happened and why, law enforcement gaffes, groundless rumors and theories propagated by the media and, eventually, the dueling agendas of the survivors. Full disclosure: Dave Cullen did much of his initial reporting on Columbine for Salon, but this book, the definitive account of the shootings, takes the story much, much further. Meticulously reported, "Columbine" assembles all the substantiated facts, then forges them into a propulsive narrative, woven from nine strands corresponding to nine individuals, each of whom had his or her own distinct experience of that terrible day. Then Cullen delves beneath the events themselves (dispelling many myths in the process) to consider the killers' motives, carefully and persuasively arguing for his own conclusions. Thirteen people lost their lives before the two teenage murderers committed suicide, and Cullen's thoughtful account pays them the tribute of the truth.
Read about another book on Miller's list.

Also see Salon's best fiction books of 2009.

--Marshal Zeringue