Welcome to Pryday! I hope everyone had a great week full of fantastic reading.  This week’s question:

What non-fiction title has significantly changed the way you view a person, an event or a subject?

One of the best non-fiction titles I’ve read in the past few years was Columbine by Dave Cullen. I was a college student when the terrible school shooting happened in 1999 and I remember it vaguely, but I was so busy and immersed in my studies that I didn’t know all of the details or pay enormous attention to the aftermath. That’s why I immediately grabbed this book when it came out a couple of years ago. I felt it was time to learn more about the chilling rampage that killed 13 people and that led to schools and law enforcement agencies changing major policies and procedures in order to prevent future school shootings. I had read good reviews and was intrigued by tales of the new information that Dave Cullen brings to light in the course of his investigation. Here in an excerpt from a review I wrote on an old blog:

“The chapters alternate between discussing the shooting itself and its victims to detailing the lives of the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and what might have caused them to murder. Overall, it makes for a mesmerizing read that compels the reader to race through the chapters. Cullen’s writing style is brisk and very detailed, yet novelistic in its approach. There is new information provided about the Cassie Bernall myth, the psychopathy of Eric Harris and the blunders and mistakes that the police made and how they learned from them. This is a riveting and fast-paced account of one of the most haunting tragedies in American history. ”

Not an easy read, but one that was highly enlightening.

How about you? What non-fiction title has significantly changed the way you view a person, an event or a subject?

7 Comments

  1. I think I’d really like this book – I love to know about the reasons people do what they do and what makes them tick. I am fascinated (not in a ghoolish way) by events like this. Thanks for bringing the book to my attention.

  2. Michael J. Fox’s first 2 autobiographies gave real insight into what it’s like to live with Parkinsons Disease, but no matter how hard it gets he shows how optimistic you can be and how something like that can push you to help others.

  3. Going back to your previous pst, reading Vera Brittain’s Testaments (Youth, Friendship, Experience) made World War I and its aftermath much more real to me – and it made me realize how little I know about it. While they are one person’s experiences and perspective, they made me want to learn more.

    • I think I would like to read the Testaments. I have an interest in the interwar years and how people coped with the effects of one war and the lead-up to another.

  4. And the Band Played On… by Randy Stilts really opened my eyes to the AIDS epidemic in the US and how it was handled by the government. If I remember the dates correctly, I wasn’t born when this scary new virus made it’s debut, so this really helped me understand. And it’s VERY readable.

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