Parkland by Dave Cullen


Nineteen years ago, Dave Cullen was among the first to arrive at Columbine High, even before most of the SWAT teams went in. While writing his acclaimed account of the tragedy, he suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD. He covered all the later tragedies from a distance, working with a cadre of experts cultivated from academia and the FBI, but swore he would never return to the scene of a ghastly crime.

But in March 2018, Cullen went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because something radically different was happening. In nearly twenty years witnessing the mass shootings epidemic escalate, he was stunned and awed by the courage, anger, and conviction of the high school’s students. Refusing to allow adults and the media to shape their story, these remarkable adolescents took control, using their grief as a catalyst for change, transforming tragedy into a movement of astonishing hope that has galvanized a nation.

Cullen unfolds the story of Parkland through the voices of key participants whose diverse personalities and outlooks comprise every facet of the movement. Instead of taking us into the minds of the killer, he takes us into the hearts of the Douglas students as they cope with the common concerns of high school students everywhere—awaiting college acceptance letters, studying for mid-term exams, competing against their athletic rivals, putting together the yearbook, staging the musical Spring Awakening, enjoying prom and graduation—while moving forward from a horrific event that has altered them forever.

Deeply researched and beautifully told, Parkland is an in-depth examination of this pivotal moment in American culture—and an up-close portrait that reveals what these extraordinary young people are like as kids. As it celebrates the passion of these astonishing students who are making history, this spellbinding book is an inspiring call to action for lasting change.

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Over a year ago, I remember going on Twitter and seeing tweets about the CNN Townhall. Curious I tuned in and the townhall was about gun control and had students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching. A month after their school shooting, they were up on stage and speaking to the NRA, Florida’s U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio. The students were clear and concise with their arguments and were asking the big name players the hard questions. It was inspiring.

Journalist, Dave Cullen, follows the Parkland students as they go across America and organize the March for Our Lives. I really enjoyed the writing style that Cullen uses. He describes the students so that you feel you know who they are and you want to fight for what they are fighting for.

I’m not American, so I’m not going to pretend that I understand the gun control issues that Americans are debating about. Parkland is not about taking guns away. It’s about a horrific event that has students standing up for what they believe in. It’s about a movement that has both sides talking. This is just the beginning that we are hearing about Parkland students.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. An inspiring read. #neveragain


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9 thoughts on “Parkland by Dave Cullen

  1. I have read Columbine and will never forget hearing the news come over the radio while at my first PR job out of college (no Twitter then). It was such a shock. From there to the kids I was teaching who were reading This Is Where it Ends (an incredible fiction book about a mass shooting in a high school) running in to class screaming about Parkland breaking over Twitter. And then watching it on CNN together knowing it wasn’t the first and sadly won’t be the last.

    Columbine is an incredible book. I didn’t know he wrote a book on Parkland. I’m going to look it up at the library. Thank you.


  2. Such torment. Thank you for reading and sharing. I am at the neighborhood elementary school every day, and this reality is never far from my mind.


  3. I’m adding this now! It would be interesting to read his perspective of the various events. There is an anger among this generation – and rightly so – and it is good to see them shaping the narrative. I hope they continue to do so.


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