Parkland
The New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers a deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting who pushed back against the NRA and Congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for Our Lives movement.Emma Gonzalez called BS. David Hogg called out Adult America. The uprising had begun. Cameron Kasky immediately recruited a colorful band of theatre kids and rising activists and brought them together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.Dave Cullen, who has been reporting on the epidemic of school shootings for two decades, takes us along on the students’ nine-month odyssey to the midterms and beyond. With unrivaled access to their friends and families, meetings and homes, he pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate portraits of the quirky, playful organizers that have taken the nation by storm. Cullen brings us onto the bus for the Road to Change tour showing us how these kids seized an opportunity. They hit the highway to organize the young activist groups mushrooming across America in their image. Rattled but undeterred, they pressed on in gun country even as adversaries armed with assault weapons tailed them across Texas and Utah trying to scare them off. The Parkland students are genuinely candid about their experiences. We see them cope with shattered friendships and PTSD, along with the normal day-to-day struggles of school, including AP exams and college acceptances. Yet, with the idealism of youth they are mostly bubbling with fresh ideas. As victims refusing victimhood, they continue to devise clever new tactics to stir their generation to action while building a powerhouse network to match the NRA’s. This spell-binding book is a testament to change and a perceptive examination of a pivotal moment in American culture. After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the MFOL 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. Parkland is a story of staggering empowerment and hope, told through the wildly creative and wickedly funny voices of a group of remarkable kids.

Parkland Details

TitleParkland
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062882943
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Politics, History, Mystery

Parkland Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    There are strains of sadness woven into this story, but this is not an account of grief. These kids chose a story of hope. This is such a beautiful piece of journalism. I love how Cullen puts so much of himself into his work and treats the subjects he tackles, as well as the people he meets and talks with along the way, with such sensitivity and empathy.Some people obviously rated this book one star without reading it because they think it is about taking away their guns. Actually, it's not rea There are strains of sadness woven into this story, but this is not an account of grief. These kids chose a story of hope. This is such a beautiful piece of journalism. I love how Cullen puts so much of himself into his work and treats the subjects he tackles, as well as the people he meets and talks with along the way, with such sensitivity and empathy.Some people obviously rated this book one star without reading it because they think it is about taking away their guns. Actually, it's not really about that at all. While issues of gun control are natural discussions to rise out of this book and the events it documents, it is really about an incredibly inspirational group of young people who finally said enough is enough. This book is about them.Cullen wasn't sure if he wanted to get involved in the subject of school shootings again. After he published Columbine, he was left with secondary PTSD and had to distance himself from victims' stories for his own mental health. But Parkland was not just another school shooting; it was the start of something much bigger. Out of it grew the March For Our Lives demonstration, led by the kids most affected by the lack of change. After shootings, adults typically freaked out and talked about gun control for a while before it quieted down again. This time was different. This time the kids were standing up and saying "Please stop killing us."Cullen got to know these kids really well. They welcomed him into their lives and here he recreates them on the page as fleshed-out, quirky, flawed, young humans. Their drive to make a better world weathers disdain and false rumours. All to get a few basic laws passed that seem like common sense to me. Well, they actually seem conservative to me.I won't pretend to understand the gun debate in America. I don't mean that in a judgmental way-- I mean I literally don't understand it because I have grown up with a completely different mindset. I come from a country that has had one school shooting - the Dunblane massacre of 1996 - which preceded a swift ban on all handguns. 17 people died, they changed the law, and civilians gave up their guns. We now have one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. I am not old enough to remember a time when people owned guns and I must admit it shocked me when I learned that in the U.S. civilians have access to devices that can kill someone with the flick of a trigger. Guns were always scary things that existed in movies; they were never a part of my "real life".So I am definitely an outsider on this issue, but even I felt completely drawn into the March For Our Lives movement. Cullen really is a wonderful writer and he brings a lot of kindness to his work. Despite what some will assume, he doesn't push his own opinions on gun laws. Instead, he narrates a story and lets the conclusions reveal themselves. A great book.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    It became clear quickly that suburban kids feared violence inside their school—once in a lifetime, but horrific—and the Chicago kids feared violence getting there. At the bus stop on their porch, walking out of church. It could happen anywhere, and it did… Martin Luther King had preached six principles of nonviolence…The Parkland kids were embarking on #4: “Suffering can educate and transform.” After the seminal Columbine shootings in 1999, Dave Cullen undertook to research the event deeply, to It became clear quickly that suburban kids feared violence inside their school—once in a lifetime, but horrific—and the Chicago kids feared violence getting there. At the bus stop on their porch, walking out of church. It could happen anywhere, and it did… Martin Luther King had preached six principles of nonviolence…The Parkland kids were embarking on #4: “Suffering can educate and transform.” After the seminal Columbine shootings in 1999, Dave Cullen undertook to research the event deeply, to find out what the truth was of the shooters, their motivations, planning, and outcomes, and to dispel the many false notions that had made their way through the media like a Russian virus after the event. In a way it was a whodunit, and a whydunit. His book, Columbine, was an in-depth historical look, examining what had happened, after the fact. This included following up with many of those who survived the attack, for years after.Dave Cullen - image from GRColumbine and Parkland may have been similar events, but they are very different books. This time, with his reputation as the go-to reporter on stories having to do with mass-shootings, particularly mass school-shootings, Cullen had the credentials to ask the Parkland survivors for access as they worked through it all. Four days after the shooting he called, and spoke with the entire early MFOL (March For Our Lives) group on speakerphone. The next day he was there. Cullen proceeded to cover the emerging stories in person, when possible, and by phone, on-line, and via diverse media, when not, continuing through 2018. What he has produced is a you-are-there account of the birth of a movement. Archbishop [Desmond] Tutu described March for Our Lives as one of the most significant youth movements in living memory. “The peaceful campaign to demand safe schools and communities and the eradication of gun violence is reminiscent of other great peace movements in history,” he said. “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can—no, must—improve their own futures. One could do worse, if looking at how to begin a movement, than to pore through Cullen’s reporting, as the kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School pivot from the physical and emotional carnage of a brutal armed attack on their school to organizing a regional, then national call for gun sanity. Parkland tells two stories, the personal actions of the teenagers involved and the broader view of the movement that they helped solidify. Cullen offers not only a look at some of the central people who built this movement, Emma Gonzalez, Jackie Corin, Alex Wind, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Dylan Baierlein, and others, but shows how their sudden rise to fame impacted both their movement and them, personally.There are just so many hours in a day. In very concrete ways, committing large swaths of one’s time to political action meant that there was less time for other parts of what had been their lives. Extracurriculars was the obvious first hit. Theater, music, sports all suffered. But academic ambitions were close behind. Tough to keep up with multiple AP classes, for example, if you are stretched thin organizing a national political bus tour. And tough to maintain perfect grades when you keep getting home on the red-eye after an interview in LA or New York. Friendships suffered, or at the very least shifted. If you were one of the cool kids, but were now hanging out with the nerds, odds are you would get ditched. Of course, the upside is that you replace as friends a bunch of people of low value with people who are actually worth something. And you might imagine that, this being an adolescent-rich environment, jealousy might rear its ugly head. For example, Emma Gonzalez was transformed from just one of the kids at school to a national icon, as Emma and the other MFOL leaders were regularly having meetings with national figures and celebrities to discuss gun control. Might just make the other kids think you have gotten too big for your britches. Some of the organizers even dropped out of school to complete their studies on line. And that does not even begin to touch on PTSD, or death threats. Hogg, in fact, was frequently not on the bus but traveling separately in a black SUV accompanied by bodyguards. If he were a politician, one of the staffers told me, the intensity of interest in him would merit 24-hour Secret Service surveillance. “We get people armed to the teeth showing up and saying, ‘Where’s David Hogg?’ ” Deitsch told me. An outfit called the Utah Gun Exchange had been following the kids on tour all summer — on what it called a pro–Second Amendment “freedom tour” — sometimes in an armored vehicle that looks like a tank with a machine-gun turret.The NRA seems to take Hogg’s existence as an affront, having tweeted out his name and whereabouts and inciting its approximately 5 million members by perpetuating the falsehood that the Parkland kids want to roll back the Second Amendment. Hogg’s mother, Rebecca Boldrick, says that in June she received a letter in the mail that read, “Fuck with the NRA, and you’ll be DOA.” - from Lisa Miller’s New York Magazine article, David Hogg, After Parkland What does it take to build a movement? Why did this movement catch on, and grow? Was it a propitious confluence of events, right time, right place? If Parkland had happened a year or two years earlier, would it have had the same impact? Would the MFOL movement have gained the traction it has garnered?The March for Our Lives rally in DC drew 800,000, the largest rally crowd in DC history – image from USA TodayThe core group was blessed with a considerable concentration of talent. One element was media savvy. Just three days after the shooting, Emma’s ”We call B.S.”speech was a call to…well…arms, a call for those being victimized by our national gun fetish to stand up and demand that the adults in the nation start behaving like they are actually grown-ups, a call to legislators to act. It resonated, and went viral. Cameron came up with the #NeverAgain hashtag (although it had been notably used before) as an appropriate motif for the movement. He was also a natural performer, who had been comfortable in stage settings in front of adults since he was seven. David Hogg’s realtime video of the shooting from inside the school during the attack gained the shooting even more national coverage than it might otherwise have gotten. Jackie Corin was preternaturally adept at organizing the details of the movement, coping with scheduling, getting permissions, learning who needed to be contacted, all the office-manager-plus-organization-leader skills that are totally required but rarely available. Less than a week after creating her Twitter account, Emma would surpass a million followers—about double that of the NRA. By the summer, Cameron would amass 400,000 followers, David twice that, and Emma at 1.6 million towered over them all. Another element was the availability of supportive adults. This began, of course, with the parents of the organizers, but also some parents of the shooting victims. And beyond the immediate there was input from interested adults from outside the area, people able to offer not only money but media access. George Clooney got in touch, offering not only a sizeable contribution, but a connection to a high-end PR agency. State and national political people got involved as well. One particularly meaningful connection was made with the Peace Warriors in Chicago, local activists whose work in trying to fend off violence dovetailed particularly well with the Parklanders. The relatively wealthy suburban kids were worried about violence in their schools. The Peace Warriors lived in a world in which getting to and from school unharmed was the challenge. The joining of the school safety movement with an urban gun safety movement, was seminal, changing the focus of the Parklanders from school safety to gun safety. Bet you did not hear much about that in the papers. The Peace Warriors arrived at just the right moment. They helped shape the MFOL policy agenda and the tenor of their approach. They all kept talking: by email, phone, and text. The Parkland kids peppered the Peace Warriors with questions about the six principles, and then burrowed deeper on their own. The more they learned, the more they found it was like listening to themselves—a better, wiser version of the selves they were fumbling toward. How liberating to discover Martin Luther King Jr. had already done all that work. Brilliantly. He had drawn from Gandhi, and it was amazing how well the principles stood up across time, space, and cultures. The stages involved in the group’s growth and how the movement shifted focus makes for fascinating reading. Beginning with the initial rally, growing to larger memorials, then a rally at the state capital, then the nation’s capital, then a cross country bus tour in Summer 2018, from coverage in local news media to national, even global news coverage. Cullen gives us enough without overwhelming with too much detail on the challenges involved in the logistics of making rallies, tours, and marches happen, and the upsides and downsides of ongoing national exposure. Some of MFOLs core leaders even decided to keep away from any coverage that might focus on personal portrayals, as media stardom was seen as distracting from the group’s message.Emma Gonzalez is distraught while giving her “We Call B.S” speech in Fort Lauderdale days after the shooting – image from the NY TimesI do not really have any gripes about the book. It was well written, engaging, informative and moving. It also offers up the odd surprise here and there, like the source of national disunity over using April 20th, the date of the Columbine attack, as the day for a national student walkout. As for why this movement caught fire when it did, the jury is out. It may have to do with the national backlash against the excesses of the Trump-led right, disgust, finally, with expressions of “thoughts and prayers” absent any attempt to address the underlying problem. But yeah, it definitely helps that the victims were mostly white kids in a well-to-do suburb. Of course, this is hardly the first time mostly white suburban children have been so murdered. But maybe it was a final straw. In a way this strikes me as an echo of larger social trends. As the middle class becomes more and more squeezed by flat wages, declining benefits, increasing taxes (it is not our taxes that get cut), and a threatened safety net, the miseries that have long troubled working-class people, particularly urban people of color, have been, more and more, visited on middle class white people. (See Automating Inequality) Just as the opioid epidemic was once a feeder of three-strikes legislation, and widespread carnage, the current opioid crisis, the one visited on more and more white people, portrays addiction as less a failure of personal morality and more a manifestation of biological addiction, or at the very least, predisposition. When black people are getting shot in ghettoes, it’s business as normal, but when white kids are getting mowed down in their schools, it is a national crisis. It will be interesting to see how the MFOL movement sustains going forward. While there is no certainty of success, in the long or short terms, there is cause for hope. Even though changes in gun regulations MFOL wrested from Florida lawmakers were modest, getting any change at all was a huge success. Wins, of any sort, have been as rare as brave legislators, and this definitely counted as a win. The road ahead, though, remains long, hard, and fraught with impediments and peril. And people keep dying early, wasteful deaths. In his Broadway show one night in Summer 2018, Bruce Springsteen reached back fifty years, and drew a straight line to Martin Luther King Jr., assuring us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but tends toward justice”—but adding a stern corollary” “That arc doesn’t bend on its own.” Bending it takes a whole lot of us, bending in with every ounce of strength we’ve got. Review posted – February 22, 2019Publication date – February 12, 2019=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal, Twitter, Instagram, and FB pages and on YoutubeItems of Interest - Reporting-----3/14/19 - NY Times - Sandy Hook Massacre: Remington and Other Gun Companies Lose Major Ruling Over Liability - by Rick Rojas and Kristin Hussey-----8/20/18 - New York Magazine – David Hogg, After Parkland - by Lisa Miller-----2/17/18 - The NewYorker - Calling B.S. in Parkland, Florida - by Emily Witt-----2/19/18 - The NewYorker - How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement - by Emily Witt----- 3/8/18 - “We’re Not Your Pawns”: Parkland’s Never Again Movement Meets the Lawmakers - by Emily Witt[Joe] Kennedy recalled other instances of youth activism in American history: the mill girls of Lowell in the mid-nineteenth century; the Little Rock nine, in 1957; the children who marched for civil rights in the “children’s crusade” and were arrested in Birmingham, in 1963; the four students killed by the National Guard at Kent State, in 1970. “From Stonewall to Selma to Seneca Falls, America’s youth forces us to confront where we have fallen short,” he said.-----5/25/18 – The NewYorker - The March for Our Lives Presents a Radical New Model for Youth Protest - by Emily Witt-----2/13/19 – NY Times - Parkland: A Year After the School Shooting That Was Supposed to Change Everything - by Patricia Mazzei-----2/13/19 – NY Times - Parkland Shooting: Where Gun Control and School Safety Stand Today - By Margaret Kramer and Jennifer Harlan-----1/16/13 – Business Insider - How the Gun Industry Funnels Tens of Millions of Dollars to the NRA - by Walt Hickey"Today's NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry," said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. "While the NRA portrays itself as protecting the 'freedom' of individual gun owners, it's actually working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to manufacture and sell virtually any weapon or accessory." There are two reasons for the industry support for the NRA. The first is that the organization develops and maintains a market for their products. The second, less direct function, is to absorb criticism in the event of PR crises for the gun industry.-----3/22/19 - Daily Beast - Parkland Shooting Survivor Sydney Aiello Takes Her Own Life - by Pilar MelendezItems of Interest - Other-----NeverAgainMSD on Facebook-----Change the Ref - a non-profit set up by parents of one of the victims, to fight the NRA----- 2/13/19 – NY Times - Would Congress Care More if Parkland Had Been a Plane Crash?-----March For Our Lives-----National School Walkout-----Video for the song Burn the House Down, by AJR. This was MFOL’s anthem on their summer bus tour. AJR did an unscheduled show for them in NYC-----7/1/18 - Dylan Klebold's mother in a TED talk about how it is possible to miss the signs of disturbance in those close to you - Sue Klebold: My Son Was a Columbine Shooter. This is My Story----- Bryan Reardon's novel, Finding Jake, offers a fictional look at a Columbine-type scenario from a parental perspective-----Since Parkland Over the summer, more than 200 teen reporters from across the country began working together to document the children, ages zero to 18, killed in shootings during one year in America. The stories they collected go back to last February 14, the day of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when at least three other kids were fatally shot in incidents that largely escaped notice. As the weeks went on, the stories came to include children lost to school shootings, as well as to armed domestic violence, drug homicides, unintentional discharges, and stray bullets. The stories do not include victims killed while fatally injuring someone else or in police-involved shootings, nor children who died in gun suicides, for reasons explained here.EXTRA STUFF continues below in Comment #1
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Expansive and hopeful, Parkland sketches a moving portrait of the teenaged founders of the March for Our Lives movement. Across twenty-one fast-paced chapters journalist Dave Cullen thoughtfully examines the student-led protest against gun violence that erupted in the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The author profiles the media stars of MfOL—Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, David H My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Expansive and hopeful, Parkland sketches a moving portrait of the teenaged founders of the March for Our Lives movement. Across twenty-one fast-paced chapters journalist Dave Cullen thoughtfully examines the student-led protest against gun violence that erupted in the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The author profiles the media stars of MfOL—Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg—as well as the group’s less visible members, as he recounts the students’ major protests and considers their impact on the national debate surrounding gun control. The book lacks anything approaching a thesis, but it regularly returns to a set of eclectic themes. The privileged students’ fraught efforts to connect with Black youth activists and amplify their voices; the unbearable emotional toll of the shooting; the group’s struggle to balance attending school with developing a comprehensive, bipartisan gun control agenda. The book’s long-form journalism at its best, and well worth checking out.
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  • jv poore
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not about the tragedy on February 14th 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Instead, it is about all that the student activists accomplished in the following year and how they did it. I felt like I’d followed this story pretty closely, but I was stunned by some of the things I learned. And those things are the reasons I want people to read this book. I think most folks will be as shocked as I was to find out how ATF background checks are conducted, and why it is that way. I was floored This book is not about the tragedy on February 14th 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Instead, it is about all that the student activists accomplished in the following year and how they did it. I felt like I’d followed this story pretty closely, but I was stunned by some of the things I learned. And those things are the reasons I want people to read this book. I think most folks will be as shocked as I was to find out how ATF background checks are conducted, and why it is that way. I was floored by all that these students accomplished over one summer and I was delighted to see their efforts to include other young activist groups that were not receiving the same media attention, such as Black Lives Matter, BRAVE & The Peace Warriors. As expected, being familiar with Mr. Cullen's work, Parkland is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Honest, yet hopeful and inspiring.I simply had to share this with "my" students. I took it in this week, and donated my copy to their classroom library. There was so much interest, I'm going to add a couple more copies soon. Everyone that wishes to read Parkland should have that opportunity.
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook ....Read by the author, Dave Cullen“PRAY FOR MY SCHOOL”“MAKE IT STOP”“DO NOTHING - and - NOTHING WILL CHANGE”“THIS NEEDS TO BE THE END”“PLEASE HELP!”February 14, 2018....a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School..... ( often called MSD), killing 17 students and staff members - injuring 17 others. THE DEADLIEST SHOOTING at a High School in United States history - surpassing the Columbine High School massacre. This book is a great tribute to the students who died at MS Audiobook ....Read by the author, Dave Cullen“PRAY FOR MY SCHOOL”“MAKE IT STOP”“DO NOTHING - and - NOTHING WILL CHANGE”“THIS NEEDS TO BE THE END”“PLEASE HELP!”February 14, 2018....a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School..... ( often called MSD), killing 17 students and staff members - injuring 17 others. THE DEADLIEST SHOOTING at a High School in United States history - surpassing the Columbine High School massacre. This book is a great tribute to the students who died at MSD a year ago, to the student & staff survivors - family - friends - community - the global world at large - and an acknowledgement to the young activists who soared like a rocket demanding AMERICA DO SOMETHING!!!And these kids DID DO SOMETHING...Five weeks after the shooting these kids created a MASSIVE protest in Washington standing for GUN CONTOL ...which they called “March for our Lives”. Dave Cullen suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD while writing about the tragedy of Columbine. He shares about it in this book. I was deeply moved at his vulnerability.He was never going to involve himself again. I suddenly felt sad thinking of the dichotomy about Dave Cullen’s work in the world. While trying to help the world understand why a couple of punk- student shooters killed 12 students and one teacher - ( the best well-researched book on ‘Columbine’), I hadn’t even thought about the devastating toll it took on Dave’s mental health. We also learn why Dave Cullen jumped into action again. His inspiration became mine too. Dave Cullen shares how he knew something very different was going on in Parkland, Florida. STUDENTS TOOK CHARGE...instantly - the SAME NIGHT as the shootings.The students outrage - anger - tears - lack of ability to sleep - sent them in action - starting with spilling their guts on social media....asking for help. Parents of victims and the survivors have been a major part of the gun violence conversation since the day of the shooting. I knew about ‘some’ actions students took at Parkland a year ago - I remembered the student speeches - rallies - plans for a student strike walk out....but what I didn’t know were the intimate - specific - stories we learn from specific students. I didn’t know how the day - days - months - played out: from logistics and funding. I certainly didn’t know the personal stories of the student activists. In some cases their fighting for justice and human rights was incredibly healing with their own past tragedies. Student *David Hogg* became a prominent spokesman for “March for Our Lives”....a group that pushed for stronger gun laws. He and his younger sister, Lauren wrote a book “NeverAgain”...A New Generation Draws the line.Student *Emma Gonzalez* became known for her “We Call B.S. speech criticizing politician who accept money from the national rifle Association, which she gave days after the shooting during a Fort Lauderdale rally.She and David were featured on Time magazine. They spent the summer as part of “The Road To Change” tour, which registered young voters around the country.Several other amazing student leaders we get to know in this book. Parents whose children died in the shootings ....became advocates for gun control and other liberal causes as well. I felt everything about the day of the shootings with so much grief - ....the screaming- fears - terrifying anxiety - bleeding bodies - dead bodies - running - hiding - fearful for special needs kids - the lockdown - the separation between parents and their kids ( one mom was going crazy getting the news while on a cruise vacation and couldn’t get back to her child for a couple more days)....Dave Cullen is an absolute mensch of a human being. We are blessed to have him doing all that he does. It’s amazing he got this book out in a year. He’s a skillful compassionate humanitarian....doing some of the hardest work in the world. I’m glad Dave doesn’t mention the killer in this book. I get it - it’s not the right flavor this time around. I won’t mention the killers name either. This book solidifies for me the possibilities of MOVING FORWARD - THE POWER of TAKING ACTION - We hear these kids messages - ( parents, educators, political leaders, and other followers around the ‘world’)......Dave showed us their anger, sadness, hope, fight for change. “Birth of a Movement”.... are perfect words for what’s going on! May this birth flourish with integrity - with non violence communications that continue to MAKE a DIFFERENCE!A very powerful book....gets your blood moving!!
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  • Kelli
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! It’s hard to know what to say about this incredible piece of journalism. David Cullen has such a talent for presenting the complete picture. His stellar work, Columbine, was as much a criticism of the media machine as it was an examination of the massacre that started the reality with which Cullen suggests we have all become far too complacent. With Parkland, he gives the reader only the necessary comparisons to Columbine. Though it begins with gunshots, this story is different from Columbi Wow! It’s hard to know what to say about this incredible piece of journalism. David Cullen has such a talent for presenting the complete picture. His stellar work, Columbine, was as much a criticism of the media machine as it was an examination of the massacre that started the reality with which Cullen suggests we have all become far too complacent. With Parkland, he gives the reader only the necessary comparisons to Columbine. Though it begins with gunshots, this story is different from Columbine, and Cullen makes that clear in as many ways as there are differences. The killer is not named. The focus here is on the movement...on the power, strength, and capacity for these children to organize and achieve results in way that is nothing short of amazing. Their ability to plan and mobilize, using social media and hiring consultants, is awe-inspiring. The sheer numbers they drew, both to the March for Our Lives and to the polls, is unprecedented. The book also examines the mental, physical, and emotional cost of such an epic endeavor, coupled with the same from a terrifying PTSD-inducing mass shooting. This eye-opening account covers a lot of ground. It’s a devastating reality we face in the US. Regardless of where you stand on gun control, a highly controversial topic, this important book highlights the need for change and the brave kids who are asking the important questions and demanding that change. Inspiring and hopeful. 4.5 stars
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    A compelling blend of documentation and inspiration, and a must read for anyone concerned about gun safety. SUMMARYThe story of PARKLAND is told through the voices of the key participants whose personalities, and outlooks are diverse: David Hogg, 17; Emma González, 18; Cameron Kasky, 17; and Jackie Corin, 17. The book takes us into the hearts and minds of these and other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students as they created a national movement while at the same time coping with the horri A compelling blend of documentation and inspiration, and a must read for anyone concerned about gun safety. SUMMARYThe story of PARKLAND is told through the voices of the key participants whose personalities, and outlooks are diverse: David Hogg, 17; Emma González, 18; Cameron Kasky, 17; and Jackie Corin, 17. The book takes us into the hearts and minds of these and other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students as they created a national movement while at the same time coping with the horrific event that has altered them forever. DAVE CULLEN, who has felt the effects of reporting on school shootings for the past twenty years, watched as the students immediately pushed back on the NRA, and the elected officials that take their money. And he knew this time was different, he knew he had to be there and he had to write this book. Cullen, author of Columbine, takes us on a nine-month journey of a potential pivotal moment in American culture. He gives us insight into the behind the scenes activities of the memorials, the Tallahassee rally, the Town Hall meeting, the March for our Lives, the creation of their gun safety platform, and the Road to Change tour.REVIEWPARKLAND is an evocative and enlightening narrative of the events following the shooting of 17 students and staff in Florida. Cullen has masterfully captured the thoughts, feelings and mood of the students and their activities as they unfolded. Living in Florida, having attended the Tallahassee rally and having read much of the Parkland press, I was pleasantly surprised by the details and perspective of the book. One of the things I didn’t know about was that the students adversaries had armed themselves with assault weapons and tailed them throughout Texas and Utah on their Road to Change bus tour, in an attempt at intimidation. DAVE CULLEN was in Parkland twenty four hours after the shooting happened and he had tremendous access to the students, their family and friends, their living rooms, and their meetings. He followed these newly formed activists for nine months, and found them to be a major force to be reckoned with. Through this book we can feel their fear, their anger, their sadness and most importantly, their indomitable drive to make a difference. Cullen has given us a remarkable view into their call to action. His writing is a compelling blend of documentation and inspiration and it is a must read for everyone concerned about gun safety. These kids rock! Publisher Harper AudioPublished February 12, 2019Narrated Dave Cullen, Robert Fass Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    In 2012 my youngest son was a senior in high school when a shooter killed 3 students and wounded several others at our small village's school in rural Ohio. Our community was traumatized. Every school shooting that has taken place since then brings back all of the emotions, the horrors, and the fears.But the students from Parkland didn't let fear win. They turned it around and said, "no more." They called bs. They didn't cower, but instead marched right into the fray. They inspired hope. A wonde In 2012 my youngest son was a senior in high school when a shooter killed 3 students and wounded several others at our small village's school in rural Ohio. Our community was traumatized. Every school shooting that has taken place since then brings back all of the emotions, the horrors, and the fears.But the students from Parkland didn't let fear win. They turned it around and said, "no more." They called bs. They didn't cower, but instead marched right into the fray. They inspired hope. A wonderful book that tells of the powerful story of these young heroes.
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  • ALLEN
    January 1, 1970
    Believe it or not, author Dave Cullen did not set out to be the nation's leading "talking head" about school massacres. But he did such a brilliant job with his COLUMBINE regarding the mass murder in a Colorado high school that he was prevailed upon to write this PARKLAND when a similarly horrific, but somewhat different turn of events, killed so many teens in a middle-class Florida high school.The good news is -- Cullen is up to his usual standards. I agree completely with my fellow GR reviewer Believe it or not, author Dave Cullen did not set out to be the nation's leading "talking head" about school massacres. But he did such a brilliant job with his COLUMBINE regarding the mass murder in a Colorado high school that he was prevailed upon to write this PARKLAND when a similarly horrific, but somewhat different turn of events, killed so many teens in a middle-class Florida high school.The good news is -- Cullen is up to his usual standards. I agree completely with my fellow GR reviewer Emily May, who called PARKLAND a "beautiful work of journalism." The even better news is that Cullen faithfully reports the actions of Margery Stoneman Douglas High School survivors, the students and others who took the killings as a tripwire, not just one more dispiriting atrocity. The notion that "they're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" holds well here.Now, to do this Cullen has to inject himself into this narrative to a somewhat larger extent than in COLUMBINE. Nonetheless I wish this well crafted book all the best, and look forward to Cullen's next book, SOLDIERS FIRST, whose publication was postponed into next year so that Cullen could research and write this one. Dave Cullen writes such wonderful books -- he seems well on the way to becoming a national treasure.
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  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    Dave Cullen does it again! After meticulously researching the massacre at Columbine, he now turns his attention away from the perpetrators and writes about those who build up the resistance against America's lax gun laws: A group of Parkland survivors, among them by now well-known activists like Emma González ("We call B.S.!"), David Hogg and Cameron Kasky (Interview with Bill Maher) as well as organizational mastermind Jaclyn Corin. Those kids put American politicians to shame by creating a nat Dave Cullen does it again! After meticulously researching the massacre at Columbine, he now turns his attention away from the perpetrators and writes about those who build up the resistance against America's lax gun laws: A group of Parkland survivors, among them by now well-known activists like Emma González ("We call B.S.!"), David Hogg and Cameron Kasky (Interview with Bill Maher) as well as organizational mastermind Jaclyn Corin. Those kids put American politicians to shame by creating a nationwide network of initiatives that are fighting for better gun control, and their campaigns, notably "Vote for Our Lives", undoubtedly contributed to the Blue Wave in recent elections - after years of accepting the power of the NRA, a de facto minority group, as a given, high school and college students have destroyed the conviction that you can't win elections by rallying against the extreme pro-gun lobbying group. And they are just getting started. Cullen does a fantastic job describing the situation the Parkland survivors found themselves in: Severely traumatized after the incident, their activism has been a measure of self-empowerment that propelled them to international fame with all its consequences. While privately struggling with the tragedy and its repercussions, they took on a task generations of grown-ups didn't dare to touch. It's particularly intriguing to read about the inner workings of their organization and (brilliant) strategic ideas while also revisiting what we've all seen on CNN: Adults daring to smear those kids as "crisis actors", pundits telling them - who were under attack in their own school - they didn't know what they were talking about, and of course the classic "well, it's always been this way, thoughts and prayers, thank you, next". The good news is, these adults seem to start losing political ground in the US, and it's high time this happens. From a European perspective, American gun laws are very hard to understand (I can assure you that all the stuff the NRA says can't be done is done basically everywhere in the Western world except in the US), and I was terrified when I first stepped on the campus of my American university and read the sign that said "no guns on these premises" - to have to put up such a sign in the first place seems like a problem to me, and apparently, to more and more Americans as well. But reading Cullen's book, there was a parallel to the situation on our side of the pond that struck me: Looking at the current "Fridays for Future" marches where students demand more responsible climate policies, we hear the same "those children don't know what they're doing" arguments. Well, they do, and the Parkland kids have demonstrated that such movements can become major forces to be reckoned with. Times are tough, but those kids might turn out to be way tougher, and we can all find our own ways to support their causes if we choose to do so.This is a well-researched book that provides interesting insights and perspectives. I can't wait to read Cullen's upcoming Soldiers First.
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  • Traci at The Stacks
    January 1, 1970
    Really well done. Not about the shooting. About the surviving activists. Cullen is genius but the content wasn’t as powerful as I had hoped. Still really good and a smooth read.
  • Bruce Katz
    January 1, 1970
    A very powerful book. Time and again, as I read it, I found myself tearing up -- because I'm a father, because I have a beating heart, because I'm a wimp, all/none of the above. "Parkland" has that kind of immediacy, for me at least. I was at the Washington March for Our Lives event with my daughter, and I vividly remember the crush of hundreds of thousands of people trying to see and hear everything. I had to leave before it was over, and the streets were so packed that it took me more than an A very powerful book. Time and again, as I read it, I found myself tearing up -- because I'm a father, because I have a beating heart, because I'm a wimp, all/none of the above. "Parkland" has that kind of immediacy, for me at least. I was at the Washington March for Our Lives event with my daughter, and I vividly remember the crush of hundreds of thousands of people trying to see and hear everything. I had to leave before it was over, and the streets were so packed that it took me more than an hour to get to the closest Metro station. I still have the pictures on my phone, the faces, signs, the Capitol in the background. I'd post one here if I knew how. The book follows the March for Our Lives students from shortly after MFOL's very beginning in the aftermath of the shooting, through their early visits to speak with politicians, the Washington event itself. It ends shortly after the 2018 midterms. Cullen enables us to see who the kids are, the many challenges they faced in responding to the shooting and its aftermath, and how it all played out over time. Although Cullen does allow himself to comment from time to time, he mostly stays in the background, letting the kids speak for themselves. And they are, unsurprisingly, most articulate. We see the difficult journey they lived through, partly because (though it may be easy to forget sometimes) they ARE kids, still learning, still growing, still as goofy and complicated as all teenagers are, but they've also been traumatized by the horror of what they survived and what their friends didn't, they've had to cope with online trolls and death threats and charges of being "crisis actors" and sometimes even anger rom their classmates, and through it all they've tried to stay determined -- driven -- to do everything they can to prevent shootings like this from happening again. The name of the shooter appears nowhere in the book. That was Cullen's choice -- the right one, in my opinion -- and the preference of the kids themselves. And though he's not entirely quiet about the opinions he holds of certain politicians, Cullen keeps that part very low key, as do the kids themselves. They are not anti-gun (in fact, a number of them come from gun owning households) or against the Second Amendment, nor do they feel animus toward determined gun owners -- though the NRA does come in for some less than flattering treatment. The single issue for them is trying to stop the shooting: in schools, the streets of Chicago, in churches. It's about moving the conversation past "thoughts and prayers," finding common ground among many constituences, and treating those who disagree with them not as "enemies" but as "adversaries" who care about the safety of their kids every bit as much as other parents do.Over all, a very moving and celebratory book. One can't help admiring the kids -- for their honesty, creativity, sensitivity, integrity, and perserverence -- without losing sight of the fact that they are, as I said, teenagers. One -- this one, at least -- can't help but hope that their efforts continue to finf resonance going forward. Postscript 27 March: It was reported that two students who survived the shooting committed suicide this week as did one of the fathers whose child was killed at Sandy Hook. MFOL isn't very visible as I write this, but the awful cost of gun violence continues to grow. No matter where people stand on the Second Amendment, we should all care -- no: act -- to stop the killing. When "ideology" is held more dear than the lives of children, we have begun to lose our souls.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    A really phenomenal books about the March for Our Lives founders, their movement, and all of the movements that inspired and educated them. This is like Columbine in that it's the story that the media doesn't tell -- that MFOL brought in and were educated, inspired by, and collaborated with groups from inner-city Chicago that helped them learn about gun violence outside, in the raw, rather than inside, for one. It's unlike Columbine in that it's never about the perpetrator; we don't even get a n A really phenomenal books about the March for Our Lives founders, their movement, and all of the movements that inspired and educated them. This is like Columbine in that it's the story that the media doesn't tell -- that MFOL brought in and were educated, inspired by, and collaborated with groups from inner-city Chicago that helped them learn about gun violence outside, in the raw, rather than inside, for one. It's unlike Columbine in that it's never about the perpetrator; we don't even get a name. Powerful, moving, and heartening.
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  • BookOfCinz
    January 1, 1970
    In February, seventeen died at Douglas High, along with 1,044 others in America. In the first six months of 2018, over 1,700 kids were killed or injured by guns... I went into this book expecting to have the same experience I did when I read Columbine and I am happy to report, reading this was an entirely different experience, an experience I embraced. When I finished reading Columbine I was crushed, distraught and filled with a sense of hopelessness. The author, Dave Cullen made mention of t In February, seventeen died at Douglas High, along with 1,044 others in America. In the first six months of 2018, over 1,700 kids were killed or injured by guns... I went into this book expecting to have the same experience I did when I read Columbine and I am happy to report, reading this was an entirely different experience, an experience I embraced. When I finished reading Columbine I was crushed, distraught and filled with a sense of hopelessness. The author, Dave Cullen made mention of the toll it took on him mentally writing that book which is why I think Parkland had such a hopeful read to it. Parkland: Birth of a Movement takes you through the birth of a movement which calls for the end of gun violence and serious gun reformations. The individuals that Cullen profiled through the book are inspiring and reading this book makes me feel like they made a huge impact. A great read.
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  • Tess Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • Janelle • She Reads with Cats
    January 1, 1970
    RTC
  • Kayla | kaylagetsread
    January 1, 1970
    PARKLAND: BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT is an intimate exploration of the teen survivors’ continued strength, resilience, courage, and tenacity following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. It’s about the boulders they are moving by refusing to be complacent and the trials they have faced along the way. This entire book is a TORCH and you can feel their fire.I experienced the full spectrum of emotions while reading this book. I was sad. I was angry. I was awes PARKLAND: BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT is an intimate exploration of the teen survivors’ continued strength, resilience, courage, and tenacity following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. It’s about the boulders they are moving by refusing to be complacent and the trials they have faced along the way. This entire book is a TORCH and you can feel their fire.I experienced the full spectrum of emotions while reading this book. I was sad. I was angry. I was awestruck, hopeful, and inspired. I encourage you to go into this book with the understanding that this is not a true crime book. It does not examine the crime or even mention the killer’s name. It is all about the MFOL teenagers and their unrelenting activism. I know Dave Cullen is an incredible journalist- He has managed to expertly compile this information with such tact and objectivity that the only voices that come through belong to the incredible survivors. I highly recommend reading their story.*I received a free advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Amanda McGill
    January 1, 1970
    For full review - The Limit of Books Does Not ExistOver 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 aski For full review - The Limit of Books Does Not ExistOver 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.An inspiring read. #neveragain
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    The first thing that's important to remember is that last year at this time, we didn't know who David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jackie Corin or Emma Gonzalez were. It hasn't even been a year since seventeen people were murdered in Parkland. Every time I think about that, it shocks me. These kids are household names, and it feels like they always have been.The second thing---and this is more important---is that they, like all American kids in their generation, have grown up in the age of mass shooting The first thing that's important to remember is that last year at this time, we didn't know who David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jackie Corin or Emma Gonzalez were. It hasn't even been a year since seventeen people were murdered in Parkland. Every time I think about that, it shocks me. These kids are household names, and it feels like they always have been.The second thing---and this is more important---is that they, like all American kids in their generation, have grown up in the age of mass shootings in general and school shootings in particular. They haven't known a world without them. I was in college when Columbine happened; they weren't even born yet.That's probably why they reacted the way they did. They realized this whole time that adults weren't going to save them, but after the shooting at their school, they realized they would have to save themselves and everyone else.It is awe-inspiring to see what they've done in under a year and I'm sure we're going to continue to see great things from them.This book doesn't go into the details of the shooting, but it does show how they took a horrific day and worked to do everything they could to make it stop with them. At the same time, they're realistic. They've said repeatedly that they don't want to take away all the guns; in fact, Cameron and David have grown up around them. They just want to make it harder for people to use guns to kill people. (I'm pretty sure most of us would agree that that's a good goal, right? Fewer murders?)Parkland made me angry but it's also an inspiring story and a hopeful one. It's easy to give up, but they haven't. Neither can we.Highly recommended. 
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  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    Obviously PARKLAND has its tough reading moments. But the focus is much less on the actual shooting itself, and more on the surviving kids finding hope and resilience, working through their grief, and most of all, organizing to effect change.Readers are with these kids as they experience how dirty (and partisan) politics is and how frustrating media spin can be. But we're also with them as they connect with, learn from, and try to help boost the voices of groups like the Peace Warriors and BRAVE Obviously PARKLAND has its tough reading moments. But the focus is much less on the actual shooting itself, and more on the surviving kids finding hope and resilience, working through their grief, and most of all, organizing to effect change.Readers are with these kids as they experience how dirty (and partisan) politics is and how frustrating media spin can be. But we're also with them as they connect with, learn from, and try to help boost the voices of groups like the Peace Warriors and BRAVE (Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere) of Chicago. In his engaging narrative style, Cullen shows us teens with a deep sense of injustice who are capable of **so much more** than many adults give them credit for. He reminds us that kids are a vital part of our communities, with their own creative ideas on how get things done, who deserve to be heard and taken seriously when they speak out on issues that affect their futures.
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    There are strains of sadness woven into this story, but this is not an account of grief These kids chose a story of hope. Jackie felt like she was passing the torch, but really activist flame. "March for Our Lives does not belong to us anymore," Jackie said. It belongs to every kid in America who is ready to heed the call. First off some disclosure about me, because in this self definitely will colour the reading of the book. I'm an Australian millennial with crap all memory (long or short ter There are strains of sadness woven into this story, but this is not an account of grief These kids chose a story of hope. Jackie felt like she was passing the torch, but really activist flame. "March for Our Lives does not belong to us anymore," Jackie said. It belongs to every kid in America who is ready to heed the call. First off some disclosure about me, because in this self definitely will colour the reading of the book. I'm an Australian millennial with crap all memory (long or short term). When I remember something that means it has made a serious impact. As an Australian as is doubtless known guns are not a real issue, that fear is not mine. But my generation lives social, what impacts one to a degree impacts us all, geographic boundaries be damned. (Best explanation of the whole impact of shootings on a generation I've ever seen came from BuzzFeed Me & Mass Shootings. But it is from 2016, pre Parkland).It is important to note this is not a book about a school shooting, it's not really even about surviving a shooting (the shooter is never mentioned by name, for reasons explained by the author and the kids). It's a book about a movement developing from virtual strangers in a living room to a national and international powerhouse. It's how the Marjory Stoneman Douglas kids did it, the players behind the scenes and the toll intensive activism takes. Among the players interviewed by Dave Cullen are some of the parents, while the toll on the kids themselves was expected to a degree most were underage and required chaperoning, there was a major toll on the parents as well. I challenge anyone to remain composed while reading Chapter 9: Change the Ref. It looks at the work done by Manuel Oliver (referred to as Tio Manny), father of dead student Joaquin Oliver and founder of Change the Ref (seriously look up the walls they are amazing and now I'm crying again). Possibly the most frequently interviewed person is Jaclyn. Jaclyn is the March for Our Lives activist responsible for logistics and a lot or the mundane business going ons, she was critical to their success. But her role was largely invisible next to David's firebrand and Emma's magnetism. Other people they met along the way are introduced, other activists and political players. I spent a certain amount of time while reading thinking I remember that moment, that speech.All round it is a well-written book that humanises and reminds readers exactly how young the MSD kids were when they started down the activism path. Readers are introduced to a group of young people that saw horrible things and wanted to change them. Cullen allows the reader to see not only their public personas but to a degree their true selves. It is an emotional book, that is to be expected, there is still a discussion of how the young activists are coping. This is a book for anyone who was grabbed by the MSD kids and their March for Our Lives movement. Or really anyone who wants to understand what it's like to be in a movement that catches fire. This is a book that will be relevant for some time, as we all hope the movement will be. I think it might be the sort of book that stays with you for all the right reasons. My reading experience in a gif:
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  • Katie Boyer
    January 1, 1970
    Not sure how to begin reviewing this. So emotional and powerful and inspiring and upsetting all at once, especially reading it during the one year anniversary.😭😠🙏😫
  • Paula Reed
    January 1, 1970
    In a time when it feels like school shootings have just become de rigueur, Dave Cullen gives us a sense of optimism and hope by capturing the energy and passion of the survivors who have come to understand the power of voting. As a Columbine survivor, I appreciate the message of these young people and Cullen as one of their most effective messengers.
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  • Lance L
    January 1, 1970
    In 1983, Sting released ‘Every Breath You Take’ - a dark, brooding and brilliant song about obsession. It was not only an artistic masterpiece, but also a smash hit - becoming the biggest song of the year and an instant classic. But, bothered by the dark theme of the song, Sting tried to follow it up with a deliberately more positive, upbeat “message” song in 1985 with ‘If You Love Somone Set Them Free’ - a sort of corrective and rejoinder to his earlier work. The new song had none of the power, In 1983, Sting released ‘Every Breath You Take’ - a dark, brooding and brilliant song about obsession. It was not only an artistic masterpiece, but also a smash hit - becoming the biggest song of the year and an instant classic. But, bothered by the dark theme of the song, Sting tried to follow it up with a deliberately more positive, upbeat “message” song in 1985 with ‘If You Love Somone Set Them Free’ - a sort of corrective and rejoinder to his earlier work. The new song had none of the power, the daemonic force, of the first though. It felt less authentic, and maybe a little shallow, or forced. Certainly it was a decent song, and a much more commendable message, but it was also forgettable and felt a little empty.“Columbine” was like ‘Every Breath You Take’; “Parkland” feels more like “If You Love Someone Set Them Free’. It is understandable that the author wants to focus on the positive, highlight the change, change the narrative, etc. But you can see him doing it, and it feels forced. Also, the book is shallower - you never feel like you get to know these kids, never get inside them. Even the quotes seem a little off, like the author was at a loss finding words to fit what he wanted the story to say. It was a decent book, and a very commendable message. But, I won’t remember it the way I did “Columbine”; I didn’t feel it, viscerally, the way I felt that book. This one, for all its good intentions and laudable goals, felt a little empty.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    COLUMBINE broke my heart, and I'm sure it broke Cullen's heart too...He has been there for every mass shooting, school shooting, since then. I participated in countless intruder drills since then, looking into my students' faces, knowing the world they inhabit is uglier and more dangerous. This book opened my heart...it let me see the power of young people...those same kids who endured all those drills. The same kids who were not terribly surprised that their school became a crime scene. The kil COLUMBINE broke my heart, and I'm sure it broke Cullen's heart too...He has been there for every mass shooting, school shooting, since then. I participated in countless intruder drills since then, looking into my students' faces, knowing the world they inhabit is uglier and more dangerous. This book opened my heart...it let me see the power of young people...those same kids who endured all those drills. The same kids who were not terribly surprised that their school became a crime scene. The killer's name is never mentioned. On purpose. THIS story is not about the 'why', as COLUMBINE was. We have the 'whys'. Our policy makers just refuse to recognize them.What Cullen has done here, which I know was balm to his soul, is to follow these remarkable-but-not-remarkable kids on their journey to make a change. It was the drama kids, the school government kids. The AP Government kids...OUR kids. They group-texted, hosted pizza meetings at their homes. They said, "what if...." and, with no teachers to tell them they couldn't, they were too young, too inexperienced, they created a movement that registered young voters, mobilized their friends, started conversations, learned to modulate their messages, harnessed social media as a tool. Reached out to other victims, embraced others, morphed and responded....and contributed to the first small step toward sensible gun laws.I watched the kids from afar, and was not particularly surprised by their aplomb, their humor, their passion. Their voices. I spent 39 years with kids like them...Who could have BEEN them.What I thought I saw from afar, and Cullen documents for me, is their uncanny ability to see and anticipate. We saw immediately that the kids were mostly white, mostly affluent, mostly privileged with experiences that game them a confidence. They understood that privilege and they reached out to young people whose lives were more deeply affected by daily gun violence...they reached out to urban groups who had fought the same battles, but without the media attention. The Parkland kids brought these groups into the conversation and they widened it to include all our children.They stayed inclusive as they took the country by storm, with marches and rallies, and bus tours. They reached out to learn from the Columbine survivors and the Sandy Hook survivors. They were eager to learn and share the spotlight and include...always include.I cried out loud as one of the teachers at Columbine talked about the issue of arming teachers...about the futility of a small, middle-aged teacher being able to keep a weapon safe in a classroom full of adolescents, and about the gut-wrenching horror of having to decide to shoot one of her students. Dylan was her student. She admitted that it would have been too much for her to willfully shoot a student she knew and had loved. I wish others understood that.The book ends after the 2018 election, with its mixed results. In MY deep red state, we are probably years away from real productive change, but our young people have that same power and passion that Emma and David and Cameron and Jackie and all the other students have. This generation WILL change the world...they already are changing it. They have the passion and the motivation and the organizational skills to do this.I'm so grateful for this book, and for the hope it brings. Young people like the ones profiled here, from all over our country, will be our salvation.
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  • Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
    January 1, 1970
    Such an incredible and terrible story. I admire these kids so much. Full review to come.
  • Becca
    January 1, 1970
    Dave Cullen is hands down my favorite author. The way he brings the events to the page and allows you to feel as though you were with him and the kids along every step of the way is truly masterful. Dave brought the stories of the Parkland kids and many others to light and I could not be in more awe of his ability to capture the events on paper.
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  • Suziey
    January 1, 1970
    So it's taken me a while to gather my thoughts in regards to this book. From the first few pages, this book had me sobbing. I couldn't figure out why. Why was this book affecting me so much? And then one day it clicked. After Sandy Hook I was disillusioned. Because if dead babies don't thaw your cold, greedy, gun-loving heart, then nothing will. And yet here are these teens, refusing to be further victimized and changing the narrative. These kids are doing what the generations before them should So it's taken me a while to gather my thoughts in regards to this book. From the first few pages, this book had me sobbing. I couldn't figure out why. Why was this book affecting me so much? And then one day it clicked. After Sandy Hook I was disillusioned. Because if dead babies don't thaw your cold, greedy, gun-loving heart, then nothing will. And yet here are these teens, refusing to be further victimized and changing the narrative. These kids are doing what the generations before them should have done a long time ago. They are standing up, demanding action be taken, and filling people like me with hope. Dave Cullen spent a lot of time observing, and speaking to these young activists. His personal experiences covering these massacres over the years and following the MFOL movement from city to city, brings unparalleled insight into this incredible work of journalism.Now, this book, isn't like Columbine. Rather, its focus is on the survivors. Their resilience. The way they refused to let the Valentine's Day massacre at their high school be just another one-second blip in the media. How this group of grieving and traumatized kids decided to take action. As a millenial adult I remember Columbine. I also remember that after that massacre, active shooter drills/lockdown drills were implemented. For my Gen Z brother, he has never known life without them. Those drills have been a part of his entire school life. Right along with earthquake and fire drills. I feel like my generation just kind of accepted it. There's nothing we can do about it, let's move on. But the next generation sees it differently. Getting an insider look at the kids behind the March for Our Lives movement, you realize how incredibly fed up they are. How frustrated they are. How tough, and incredibly intelligent they are. They realize they don't have all the answers. THEY'RE NOT TRYING TO TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY! But they demand some kind of action be taken to prevent another mass shooting from happening again. I believe these kids can get it done. Because if growing up on Harry Potter movies has taught me anything, it is that a group of teenagers can handle themselves well enough to take down their foe. Voldemort, who?
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  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    January 1, 1970
    I think my least favorite memes are of the variety where old foggies my age talk about how good the old days were and how ‘these kids today don’t know nothing like we used to when we were young’. After having read this book, I am in awe of this new young generation and the wisdom they possess, and now I have renewed hope for the future.As for the olden ‘golden’ days and the ‘make America great again’ crowd, no, no, no! Please don’t return me to the way things were. Today’s kids are better than m I think my least favorite memes are of the variety where old foggies my age talk about how good the old days were and how ‘these kids today don’t know nothing like we used to when we were young’. After having read this book, I am in awe of this new young generation and the wisdom they possess, and now I have renewed hope for the future.As for the olden ‘golden’ days and the ‘make America great again’ crowd, no, no, no! Please don’t return me to the way things were. Today’s kids are better than my generation was and the stories told in this book about the ‘Parkland’ students will show you the beginnings of the real greatest generation taking shape. I’m not sure if there was one thing that was better in the 1960s even if one excludes the racism, violence, the homophobes, the rampant sexism and the parochial mindset that defined the privileging of the privileged with their patriotic jingoism substituting for substantial thought (while all of those things exist today, it is no where near at the level when I was young). The kids today (okay, I should call them young adults, or maybe just adults) out rank, out class anything I saw in my day. I can’t believe how these Parkland young adults knew how to attack a problem, create a path for fundamental change, implement it and actually make a difference. I think the Parkland students are exemplary but they really are just the leading edge of the vanguard that is transpiring right now across society. Far be it for me to long for those magical MAGA days. The MAGA president was quoted in this book as saying the way to solve the problem was to arm the teachers! That is absurd. These students knew the distractions the ‘Laura Ingrams’ of the world were going to pull on them. Thoughts and prayers weren’t going to be enough. The ‘why’ of the shooter is meaningless unless the ‘how to fix it’ was addressed. They understand today’s world and today’s media better than I and my fellow old timers ever did or will. More power to them. (My favorite anecdote of these students wasn’t in the book; it was when David Hogg attacked Laura Ingram through boycotting her advertisers because she mocked him in inappropriate ways making her beg for his forgiveness. Once again illustrating today’s young adults are ahead of the old foggies like Laura Ingram). There’s a funny line in this book when the students reply to the Capital Police with ‘they think we still use Facebook’. That line is telling. Old people forward their memes about ‘these kids today’ on Facebook, but the young people will never get the joke, because they are making real change while the old are sharing likes on Facebook. I don’t know why my generation yearns for the ‘good old days’. Today’s kids really are smarter, navigate the world better than the old can, and understand the connections necessary for maneuvering in a complex world. No small feat. This book will show that no small feat, and these young adults highlighted in this book will show that there is nothing wrong with this new generation coming along and more power to them!
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  • Gary Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Dave Cullen’s Columbine is a journalistic masterpiece that explains the motivations, events, and aftermath of the first mass school shooting back in 1999. I’ve had dozens of students read Columbine, and each one who has started the book finished it. Cullen’s new book Parkland barely mentions the perpetrator of the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day last year. Cullen states that this is intentional as he doesn’t want to glorify the murderer. Instead of going Dave Cullen’s Columbine is a journalistic masterpiece that explains the motivations, events, and aftermath of the first mass school shooting back in 1999. I’ve had dozens of students read Columbine, and each one who has started the book finished it. Cullen’s new book Parkland barely mentions the perpetrator of the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day last year. Cullen states that this is intentional as he doesn’t want to glorify the murderer. Instead of going into detail of that day’s events, Cullen instead emphasizes the activism that arose from the Parkland shootings. It’s a fascinating, inspirational story as the March for Our Lives kids organize and lead a movement to reform American gun laws that continues to this day. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a contributor to March for Our Lives and Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC.) Yes, there are some grim passages in Parkland, but the overall message and effect of the book is admiration for the young people who responded to tragedy with courage, intelligence, media savvy, and even humor. Reading and talking about Dave Cullen’s Parkland is a satisfying way to pay tribute to those who died at Marjorie Stone Douglas High School last year, and those who continue the fight to prevent future massacres.
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