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No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine

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On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, two seniors at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, walked into their school and shot to death twelve students and one teacher, and wounded many others. It was the worst single act of murder at a school in U.S. history. Few people knew Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris better than Brooks Brown. Brown and Klebold were be On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, two seniors at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, walked into their school and shot to death twelve students and one teacher, and wounded many others. It was the worst single act of murder at a school in U.S. history. Few people knew Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris better than Brooks Brown. Brown and Klebold were best friends in grade school, and years later, at Columbine, Brown was privy to some of Harris and Klebolds darkest fantasies and most troubling revelations After the shootings, Brown was even accused by the police of having been in on the massacre simply because he had been friends with the killers. Now, for the first time, Brown, with journalist Rob Merritt, gets to tell his full version of the story. He describes the warning signs that were missed or ignored, and the evidence that was kept hidden from the public after the murders. He takes on those who say that rock music or video games caused Klebold and Harris to kill their classmates and explores what it might have been that pushed these two young men, from supposedly stable families, to harbor such violent and apocalyptic dreams. Shocking as well as inspirational and insightful, No Easy Answers is an authentic wake-up call for all the psychologists, authorities, parents, and law enforcement personnel who have attempted to understand the murders at Columbine High School. As the title suggests, the book offers no easy answers, but instead presents the unvarnished facts about growing up as an alienated teenager in America today. Brooks Brown graduated from Columbine High School in 1999; this is his first book. Most recently, Brooks worked and consulted on Michael Moores latest documentary called Bowling for Columbine. He lives in Littleton, Colorado. Rob Merritt graduated from the University of Iowa School of Journalism in 1998 and currently works as a newspaper writer in Marshalltown, Iowa.


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On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, two seniors at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, walked into their school and shot to death twelve students and one teacher, and wounded many others. It was the worst single act of murder at a school in U.S. history. Few people knew Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris better than Brooks Brown. Brown and Klebold were be On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, two seniors at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, walked into their school and shot to death twelve students and one teacher, and wounded many others. It was the worst single act of murder at a school in U.S. history. Few people knew Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris better than Brooks Brown. Brown and Klebold were best friends in grade school, and years later, at Columbine, Brown was privy to some of Harris and Klebolds darkest fantasies and most troubling revelations After the shootings, Brown was even accused by the police of having been in on the massacre simply because he had been friends with the killers. Now, for the first time, Brown, with journalist Rob Merritt, gets to tell his full version of the story. He describes the warning signs that were missed or ignored, and the evidence that was kept hidden from the public after the murders. He takes on those who say that rock music or video games caused Klebold and Harris to kill their classmates and explores what it might have been that pushed these two young men, from supposedly stable families, to harbor such violent and apocalyptic dreams. Shocking as well as inspirational and insightful, No Easy Answers is an authentic wake-up call for all the psychologists, authorities, parents, and law enforcement personnel who have attempted to understand the murders at Columbine High School. As the title suggests, the book offers no easy answers, but instead presents the unvarnished facts about growing up as an alienated teenager in America today. Brooks Brown graduated from Columbine High School in 1999; this is his first book. Most recently, Brooks worked and consulted on Michael Moores latest documentary called Bowling for Columbine. He lives in Littleton, Colorado. Rob Merritt graduated from the University of Iowa School of Journalism in 1998 and currently works as a newspaper writer in Marshalltown, Iowa.

30 review for No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    First of all, I would like to say that "Columbine" by Dave Cullen, is absolute shit. He wrote the book on assumptions, he himself, had made. It's not an informative book, it's a fictional book on his assumptions and thoughts. If you want to know about what really happened at Columbine, and get in insight in why they did what they did; this is the book you should read. Who knows more about the topic, than the guy who actually knew the boys, and were there that day? This book focuses on how the boys First of all, I would like to say that "Columbine" by Dave Cullen, is absolute shit. He wrote the book on assumptions, he himself, had made. It's not an informative book, it's a fictional book on his assumptions and thoughts. If you want to know about what really happened at Columbine, and get in insight in why they did what they did; this is the book you should read. Who knows more about the topic, than the guy who actually knew the boys, and were there that day? This book focuses on how the boys (Eric and Dylan)were before the massacre, and what may have caused such a dramatic change in their behaviour. There is, of course, "no easy answers", and if you want an easy answer, or simply someone to blame, you should just forget about it. This book will give you somewhat of a comprehention of the incident, although, none of us will ever truly understand what was going on the boys' minds. It's a true mystery.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This was a hard book to read. It wasn't boring or poorly written, but the subject matter was rather tough to read. Brooks Brown grew up with Dylan Klebold. He was also friends with Eric Harris. Their actions on April 20, 1999 affected Brooks' life. He was outside Columbine High School when Eric Harris pulled up. Eric told him to go home. As Brooks was walking he heard the gunfire. Brooks tells what happened starting with his lone time friendship with Dylan. He discusses the bullying that went on This was a hard book to read. It wasn't boring or poorly written, but the subject matter was rather tough to read. Brooks Brown grew up with Dylan Klebold. He was also friends with Eric Harris. Their actions on April 20, 1999 affected Brooks' life. He was outside Columbine High School when Eric Harris pulled up. Eric told him to go home. As Brooks was walking he heard the gunfire. Brooks tells what happened starting with his lone time friendship with Dylan. He discusses the bullying that went on and how the teachers and administration looked away. He writes about the warning signs that took place during their junior year including the threats made against him by Eric Harris on his website. The Browns reported ti to the police however nothing really happened. Brooks also describes how the police treated him as a suspect after the shootings because of his friendship with the perpetrators regardless of the forgotten police report from the year prior. He finally describes going on with his life wondering why his friends did what they did. A very powerful book!

  3. 5 out of 5

    d4

    If I had read this when it was released, I might have given it three stars, but the material here has recently been covered in Dave Cullen's Columbine, which was better written and covered the tragedy more in depth. However, I can see the necessity of such a book to help clear Brown's name, which the sheriff department tarnished. This book might be more accessible to teenagers who might relate to the angst of being an outcast. Personally, because of mixed reports, I still wonder exactly how bad If I had read this when it was released, I might have given it three stars, but the material here has recently been covered in Dave Cullen's Columbine, which was better written and covered the tragedy more in depth. However, I can see the necessity of such a book to help clear Brown's name, which the sheriff department tarnished. This book might be more accessible to teenagers who might relate to the angst of being an outcast. Personally, because of mixed reports, I still wonder exactly how bad the bullying was at Columbine High; I cannot entirely discount the possibility that Brown uses the tragedy for his own anti-bullying agenda, just as some used it as an opportunity to convert teenagers. Some of the incidents cited made me roll my eyes, and think "grow the fuck up and get over it." In primary school, Brooks and Dylan accidentally got mud on another student's coat and were forced to clean it with a toothbrush. Oh, the cruelty! They were taunted for being the "smart kids" in the academic program during middle school. I, too, was tested for and placed in a program for the "academically gifted" in middle school. As a result I was segregated from the rest of the school for my core curriculum. This did cause some small amount of teasing. I got over it fairly easily. I was teased on the bus rather aggressively because of my name and because there were cows in my yard. (Yeah, I know, it even sounds ridiculous without going into further detail.) In high school, I made few friends, talked to few people, spent my lunch period isolated and reading. People later told me that they were kind of worried I was going to shoot up the school one day. I joked and said there weren't enough bullets. Brooks mentions how the jocks would pour oil on the floors so that the outcasts would slip; they would call this bowling. This triggered a memory I had completely forgotten: on my way to class during my junior year, walking with the mistake I dated at the time, I slipped in baby oil that had been poured on the floor. I was irritated, slightly embarrassed, and even more irritated that my then-boyfriend laughed before asking if I was alright, but the people who did it were just typical dumb teenagers, not "bullies" in any way that I could see. If this type of behavior drives someone to build bombs and buy guns, then there's something inherently wrong with that person. I suppose anti-bullying is as good a cause as any, but when I can't accept that as the cause of the Columbine shooting. Listing a few incidents of bullying hardly delves into the psychological mindframe of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Finishing this book, I felt no closer to understanding them; instead, I just felt depressed by the inept way in which the police responded. (I was also left wondering how the author could be a fan of literature such as 1984 and Atlas Shrugged, yet still listen to Insane Clown Posse, but I guess there are some things beyond human understanding.) ^I wrote this before having read Atlas Shrugged. What a piece of shit. Oh, you like Atlas Shrugged AND ICP? No conflict of interests. You just like shitty things.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna Marie

    I don’t think you know that most of the facts that Dave Cullen Columbine wrote have been proven false. One fact that Cullen used that Eric suddenly became a Casanova. Not true Eric would maybe go one or two dates .There was no girlfriend Brenda she made it all up. She was a serial killer groupie. More than one person has told how badly Dylan and Eric were bullied. After reading Brooke Brown’s Book No Easy Answer. Then checking for myself other student’s interview on how these two were treated. I I don’t think you know that most of the facts that Dave Cullen Columbine wrote have been proven false. One fact that Cullen used that Eric suddenly became a Casanova. Not true Eric would maybe go one or two dates .There was no girlfriend Brenda she made it all up. She was a serial killer groupie. More than one person has told how badly Dylan and Eric were bullied. After reading Brooke Brown’s Book No Easy Answer. Then checking for myself other student’s interview on how these two were treated. I get it. Eric and Dylan were not just bullied they were the target of the bullies. It was a mob mentality because people always follow the popular group. They were fair game for anyone to pick on. They did have a list of people they wanted dead. They wounded one and killed the other. Dylan and Eric planned it. It was something they did together. This is by far a better book and well written. I do wish that it had interviews of people and children that knew Eric Harris before he moved to Columbine. I know he kept in touch with them and even when he talked about them in one of the basement tapes he started to cry and turn off the camera. I don’t take stock in the journals for the physiatrist to analyze since these are journal’s that Eric and Dylan wanted you to see them as. I do think Eric had anger issues but he was given a drug that was like dynamite to someone that had anger issues. Luvox was taken off the market after the shootings and warning labels were put on any anti depressive medication.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This book is AMAZING. Wish there were 2 more stars to add to the 5 star count. Just simply couldn't put this book down- I read it in one sitting. I'm not too crazy about memoirs, but this one has a REAL message for anyone who works with kids. I'm going to share the beginning of Chapter 22 with my students and start a discussion about what it means to lose hope and how to regain it. Maybe, with that, I can prevent anything like that from happening at my school. This book is AMAZING. Wish there were 2 more stars to add to the 5 star count. Just simply couldn't put this book down- I read it in one sitting. I'm not too crazy about memoirs, but this one has a REAL message for anyone who works with kids. I'm going to share the beginning of Chapter 22 with my students and start a discussion about what it means to lose hope and how to regain it. Maybe, with that, I can prevent anything like that from happening at my school.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Juno

    I read this right after Dave Cullen's Columbine. I loved it. Brooks reminds me of myself in high school, for one thing. For another, he really helped me to understand a little better the psychology of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and as a result, perhaps a bit about the psychology of Seung Cho. It was also interesting to hear the perspective of a kid who was targeted by incompetent politicians looking to deflect anger away from themselves. The book was also interesting in light of Cullen's book I read this right after Dave Cullen's Columbine. I loved it. Brooks reminds me of myself in high school, for one thing. For another, he really helped me to understand a little better the psychology of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and as a result, perhaps a bit about the psychology of Seung Cho. It was also interesting to hear the perspective of a kid who was targeted by incompetent politicians looking to deflect anger away from themselves. The book was also interesting in light of Cullen's book. Brooks talks a lot about bullying, which has been widely blamed for the shooting; he seems to agree with that diagnosis. But Cullen offers a convincing argument that the bullying explanation was actually produced by a sort of feedback loop between the media and Columbine students; and if Cullen is correct, this book offers an insightful look at the psychology. Either way, Brooks' narrative helps me to understand how we, as Virginia Tech students, reacted to and reinforced the media narrative surrounding our own tragedy. This book also offers an interesting perspective of gun control, albeit briefly. In one chapter, Brooks says he doesn't support gun control, because it disarms law-abiding citizens. In the next chapter, he tells of his trip to DC to lobby to close the gun show loophole; clearly he doesn't consider working to close this loophole to be gun control. Yet most people who work in politics believe the opposite. Brooks is no idiot, either; on the contrary, he's quite bright. But his perception of the term "gun control" casts a new light on polls which examine this important issue.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Marlene♥

    on Friday, July 11, 2008 I wrote about this book: Finished this 2 days ago. On July 9. When I started reading this book it felt like I was under a spell or something. Since then I have looked up all kind of info about the shooting, the shooters and the victims. Downloaded the Columbine Report (11.000) pages. Very interesting book 10 out of 10

  8. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    No Easy Answers is a true crime book about the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, notable because it's co-written by Brooks Brown, who was a classmate and alleged friend of the shooters. It's for this reason, I suppose, that I have come across various recommendations of this book over Dave Cullen's Columbine , though the latter is by all accounts more accomplished; for whatever reason, I've had an idea fixed in my head for some time that this was the definitive Columbine book. Watching t No Easy Answers is a true crime book about the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, notable because it's co-written by Brooks Brown, who was a classmate and alleged friend of the shooters. It's for this reason, I suppose, that I have come across various recommendations of this book over Dave Cullen's Columbine , though the latter is by all accounts more accomplished; for whatever reason, I've had an idea fixed in my head for some time that this was the definitive Columbine book. Watching the first season of American Horror Story, in which one character's crime is very clearly and specifically based on the Columbine shootings, brought it back into my mind. (I also had this sudden compulsion to read loads of true crime which inexplicably disappeared as soon as it inexplicably arrived, lasting about a day in total.) I think this sort of thing - a famous crime or incident or whatever it might be, described from the viewpoint of someone who was close to it but not actually involved - usually reveals more about that person than it does about the crime or incident. No Easy Answers made me think of Dreams of a Life, the documentary film about Joyce Vincent, the young woman whose body lay unnoticed in her flat for two years. The object of Dreams of a Life was to unravel how such a thing could have happened, how Joyce, who was popular and appeared to lead a full, varied life, was not missed or searched for. But through its interviews with people who knew her, the film revealed much more about their personalities and attitudes than it did about Joyce; whether this was the filmmaker's intention or not, I felt it was a character study of them, not her. Similarly, No Easy Answers ends up saying a lot more about Brooks Brown than it does about the Columbine shooters. The book steers all its arguments towards two targets - the culture of bullying at Columbine (the focus here being the teachers who allowed and encouraged bullying to happen rather than the students perpetrating it) and the incompetence of police. These factors are blamed for the shooting at the expense of any other possible influences. For example, the idea that more stringent gun laws would have helped prevent the massacre is (more than once) dismissed within a couple of sentences, with Brown vaguely arguing that people determined to get hold of weapons will manage to do it no matter what the laws are. Some of the revelations about the police's lack of interest in early signs of criminal potential from the shooters are, admittedly, shocking, if not exactly surprising. The bullying accusations are more problematic - while I remain convinced that bullying was a factor, even if only a minor one, the way the issue is discussed here doesn't really do anything to put forward a coherent case, partly because it's too heavily defined by personal experience. Brown basically seems very much like someone who is still really struggling with having been bullied at school and is still very bitter and angry about it. That's understandable - it took me until adulthood to get over various experiences of bullying too, and I know some people my age who still haven't shaken that mindset off entirely, and of course it isn't surprising that if this was his own experience, he'd naturally be keen to emphasise its significance in influencing the mindsets of the shooters. But it also makes the author sound very immature and biased when discussing the reasons the attack happened. The repeated mentions of Brown's own musical tastes and how these made him 'different' are pretty cringey; he also comes off as someone who thinks he's a lot smarter than he actually is. Despite the anti-bullying agenda, there's often a sense that Brown is pushing a right-wing individualistic philosophy (the Ayn Rand quotes...) and there's also a strong and pretty nasty streak of sexism running throughout the book. His parents don't come out of it much better - in fact, if there was one thing this book highlighted for me that I hadn't thought much about before, it's exactly how privileged, spoilt and cosseted all these kids were. Added to that, going by the evidence in this book, the repeated claim that Brown was Dylan Klebold's 'best friend' seems shaky: it doesn't appear that the two were particularly close. I never usually leave books without a rating, but I'm not sure where I would place this one: I'm less confident about rating it because it's not as if I've read a lot of true crime to compare it to. It was interesting to read this to get the perspective of someone who was close to the shooters and the subsequent investigation (Brown himself was implicated as a potential accomplice and went through a legal battle to establish his innocence). But the style and tone were offputting, and I don't feel I really learned anything new - there wasn't anything here that I haven't already read on the internet, although I realise it would have been far more revelatory when it was first published in 2002.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    So I don't know if this book suffered unnecessarily because I read it right after Dave Cullen's or if I would have disliked it either way, but regardless I did. Dislike it I mean. I didn't hate it. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'd recommend it, if only for the the indepth discussion of Dylan Klebold (who was kind of typecast as the depressed loser sidekick in Cullen's book IMHO). But Brooks' (and Merrit's - did he have much to do with this?) tone was grating. At several points in the book he d So I don't know if this book suffered unnecessarily because I read it right after Dave Cullen's or if I would have disliked it either way, but regardless I did. Dislike it I mean. I didn't hate it. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'd recommend it, if only for the the indepth discussion of Dylan Klebold (who was kind of typecast as the depressed loser sidekick in Cullen's book IMHO). But Brooks' (and Merrit's - did he have much to do with this?) tone was grating. At several points in the book he deliberately tells parts of the story in such self-serving ways. I mean, lying to protect Fusselier's son? Am I really supposed to believe that happened? The thing is, it's an easy read with a conversational (if annoying) style, and it's a nice counterweight to Cullen's book. The two definitely paint a portrait of a wildly incompetent police department, not surprising given the small town-ish nature of Jeffco. I find Cullen's account (a sociopath and his hanger on) a little more plausible - I simply refuse to believe that Columbine was such a terrible place so full of bullies that these two were driven to murder. The real truth probably lies in between the two. Am super curious about the principal... he was painted very generously in Cullen's book but almost villified in this one. Hard to know which is true, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. I will probably try to read one more Columbine book for good measure. See where the majority lies.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wiilliams

    This was an interesting read for me because it was written by someone who considered Harris and Klebold to be close friends. It was eye opening to learn just how inept the Jefferson County Police, SWAT and other law enforcement officers were during the shootings. There was a huge cover up involved and Brooks Brown had handed them all the evidence that was needed to stop this attack from ever happening a year earlier and law enforcement did nothing with that information. To this day they still will This was an interesting read for me because it was written by someone who considered Harris and Klebold to be close friends. It was eye opening to learn just how inept the Jefferson County Police, SWAT and other law enforcement officers were during the shootings. There was a huge cover up involved and Brooks Brown had handed them all the evidence that was needed to stop this attack from ever happening a year earlier and law enforcement did nothing with that information. To this day they still will not explain why it took them over three hours to get inside the library after students came pouring out after the killers had left the library. It is very possible that lives could have been saved if the SWAT team had responded quickly. The only teacher who was killed bled to death just minutes before they finally made it in the building. All the while they had students telling them that both Klebold and Harris had committed suicide. They let the bodies of the slain students remain in the building for over 28 hours. The bodies of two students were left outside on the sidewalk overnight uncovered only to have their pictures published on the front cover of every major newspaper, before their parents had been informed. A badly handled situation. No one seemed to want to accept the fact that bullying was going on in Columbine. Administrators turned a blind eye on it or placed the blame on the actual ones being bullied because they "didn't fit in".Shameful. In no way do I think that the killers were not to blame for what they did. They planned it for a year, but I do think that what they dealt with on a daily basis contributed to their feelings of hatred. Don't blame the parents. They were victims, too. They were clueless because these were two highly intelligent young men. They were excellent at lying and hiding things. Their parents were not allowed to grieve the loss of their sons because their sons were the reason for everyone else's loss. The author really wanted to open people's eyes to what was going on in that nice clean school. He wanted people to be aware it can happen anywhere. He was right.... It continues to happen..... VA Tech..... Newtown.....it has to stop. I wish people would acknowledge that bullying does exist and the consequences can be deadly.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bedee

    This book offers yet another telling and evaluation of the shootings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. I read this on the tail of David Cullen's, Columbine, which I preferred. I liked Cullen's take for 2 reasons: a. He is an impartial 3rd party. I felt that sometimes Brooks Brown was a little too involved and connected to tell a story. And b. Cullen's book came out in 2009, which gave it a little more perspective due to the passage of time. Some facts in the two books are very similar, This book offers yet another telling and evaluation of the shootings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. I read this on the tail of David Cullen's, Columbine, which I preferred. I liked Cullen's take for 2 reasons: a. He is an impartial 3rd party. I felt that sometimes Brooks Brown was a little too involved and connected to tell a story. And b. Cullen's book came out in 2009, which gave it a little more perspective due to the passage of time. Some facts in the two books are very similar, if not word for word. Some facts are in one book and not the other. In some instances, the two books stand in stark contrast. Brown maintains that bullying was the key reason for the Columbine massacre. Cullen blames it on Eric Harris's psychopathic and Dylan Klebold's depressive tendencies. One sentence in No Easy Answers angered and bothered me. Brooks states that "Eric and Dylan created this tragedy, but Columbine created Eric and Dylan." If this is his theme, I completely disagree. I will agree that Columbine High School seemed to be a toxic environment for groups other than the accepted "norm." It also seemed to be a school that worshiped sports and athletes. But Brooks himself says that he and Dylan were bullied starting in the 1st grade. His theory might be easier to stomach if the two had snapped and gone on a shooting spree. But they planned for a year. The hostile high school environment may have exacerbated the situation, but those two had some serious mental problems. I've read some reviews where readers felt that Brooks Brown whined and played the victim with this book. I agree to an extent. I also lost a little respect for him when he went on a media spree and got tied up with Michael Moore, although he says he never received payment for his appearances. I also felt he got a little preachy at times. I did not like how the book kept switching point of view. Within chapters, it would switch from Brown's 1st person account to his co-author's 3rd person interviews and recollections. I'm fascinated by this topic in a sick sort of way. I think that it is polarizing. I've developed some rather strong opinions. I agree with many of the ideas presented in this book, just not all. At the very least, it made me think and enabled me to write this rather lengthy review. That's what books are for.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    This was a good counterpoint to Cullen's book on Columbine. Cullen creates a bit of a smoke and mirrors act in an attempt to deflect blame away from the school culture as a contributing factor in the tragedy. Brooks Brown was there, he was a student, he should know what he saw and he seems to be a credible witness. I do think that Eric and Dylan were also bullies themselves. Even the incidents Brown points out, like Eric throwing ice into his windshield demonstrates the bullying, though I'm not This was a good counterpoint to Cullen's book on Columbine. Cullen creates a bit of a smoke and mirrors act in an attempt to deflect blame away from the school culture as a contributing factor in the tragedy. Brooks Brown was there, he was a student, he should know what he saw and he seems to be a credible witness. I do think that Eric and Dylan were also bullies themselves. Even the incidents Brown points out, like Eric throwing ice into his windshield demonstrates the bullying, though I'm not entirely sure he ever makes that connection himself. It really is sad what happened to boys like Brooks who suffered so much in the wake of this. They are the invisible victims and I don't believe one can ever really make sense of what happened at Columbine because what happened was not the result of mature, rational thinking. It can't be understood in those terms either. There truly are no easy answers. I saw a video on utube of Eric Harris in the cafeteria which was filmed at an earlier time, I'm not sure when. The nervous energy of this kid was just so obvious. He appeared to be jumping out of his skin. And he doesn't really participate in the conversations going on around him. Very strange. As much as he disgusts me, it really didn't take long to see he had serious issues, even taking the violence out of the equation. What a shame. So many what ifs. Even fifteen years later, I am as horrified and mystified as I was when this was fresh. But thank you Brooks. I found your book informative and overwhelmingly sad. Thanks for sharing your experience with the reading public.

  13. 5 out of 5

    teleri llinos

    As someone who has been interested in Columbine for nearly a year, I was super excited when I finally got this book and reading it did not let me down. Although it did take me awhile to read, I got through it in the end. Brooks really goes into detail about everything surrounding Columbine. He talks about the media, about the victims and their families, he talks about how him and his family, and how they were all affected when he was accused of being in on the plotting and killings, and I wasn't As someone who has been interested in Columbine for nearly a year, I was super excited when I finally got this book and reading it did not let me down. Although it did take me awhile to read, I got through it in the end. Brooks really goes into detail about everything surrounding Columbine. He talks about the media, about the victims and their families, he talks about how him and his family, and how they were all affected when he was accused of being in on the plotting and killings, and I wasn't expecting so much detail. I remember when I began reading it and started thinking, hmm....he's a little stuck up, but after all he's been through, having his whole community think he's a killer because a police officer is accusing you, even though you and him both know he's lying for three years, my gosh, how he managed to pull through and keep going. But I now know why Columbiners are obsessed with this book, he talks so much about growing up with Dylan Klebold, and he tells so many memories and proves that Dylan wasn't born a killer, and overall, it's such an interesting read!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Brooks Brown is angry. And who can blame him? He already took his share of shit at school, along with his friends. Then two of them, including his best friend from childhood, walked into Columbine one day and became notorious mass murderers. Just before Eric Harris entered the Columbine cafeteria armed to the teeth and ready to commit random slaughter he ran into Brooks Brown. "Brooks, I like you now. Get out of here. Go home." For some reason Harris decided to warn Brown off -- albeit in an obl Brooks Brown is angry. And who can blame him? He already took his share of shit at school, along with his friends. Then two of them, including his best friend from childhood, walked into Columbine one day and became notorious mass murderers. Just before Eric Harris entered the Columbine cafeteria armed to the teeth and ready to commit random slaughter he ran into Brooks Brown. "Brooks, I like you now. Get out of here. Go home." For some reason Harris decided to warn Brown off -- albeit in an oblique way. Thus, Brooks Brown would survive the day, but become guilty by association and used as a scapegoat by the Jefferson Co. law enforcement. The next several years would be hell. And the memories would never fade. Imagine being completely robbed of your youth in that way and having your identity completely entwined with Columbine. And living in a society that still lives by the myth that high school is the Best Years of Our Lives. I recently read David Cullen's detailed study of Columbine and Brown's account provides an interesting counterpoint to both the official story most of us heard 10 years ago and Cullen's more updated revelations. Cullen's book goes into the ineptitude and dishonest practices perpetuated by elements of the Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Dept. and police force. He also talks about the ordeal of Brooks Brown and his family. As you may guess, Brown's account of the events is far more scathing. Where Cullen took a middle-of-the-road view toward the prevalence of bullying at Columbine (yes, it happened but probably no more or no less than it happens at thousands of other high schools across the nation.) Brown pulls fewer punches and describes the Columbine atmosphere as being wide open to marauding gangs of jocks and filled with teachers and administrators who turned a blind eye and favored the alpha males. Brown also shares details with the reader about his fraught relationship with Eric Harris. While Klebold had been a good friend when Brooks was in grade school, he did not meet up with Harris until entering Columbine High School. Brown and Harris became friendly through their mutual friendship with Dylan Klebold. However things took a dramatic turn for the worse when Harris and Brown had a fairly trivial falling out which Harris conflated into a full fledged vendetta. Harris threatened Brown repeatedly, vandalized his car and posted death threats against Brooks and his family on his website. The Browns grew alarmed at Eric's spiraling violence and attempted to get the police involved more than once. They also filed a police report that lead to a search warrant of the Harris home which was written up but never served. All this happened a year before the shootings. Brown tries to make sense out the tragedy for his own sanity. He is trying to reconcile his relationship with both killers, (but especially with Dylan Klebold). He has survivor's guilt. He feels guilty for being friends with these very disturbed young killers. Hence, this account is highly personal and shown through the rather unique perspective of a Columbine student who was not a victim in the sense of being physically wounded in the attacks...and also someone who identified to a certain extent with Klebold and Harris. Readers who are interested in learning more about the events at Columbine should not bypass this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    I can see why Brooks had to write this book, both for necessary inner and outer redemption, seeing as he and his family really went through bad times after Columbine (and before, obviously, when Eric Harris threatened Brooks and nobody acted upon it). However. As important a book this is for Brooks, his family and many others directly concerned... I doubt it's that helpful to people outside. Or well, at least it wasn't for me. Some anecdotes mentioned made me doubt Brooks and his family as narra I can see why Brooks had to write this book, both for necessary inner and outer redemption, seeing as he and his family really went through bad times after Columbine (and before, obviously, when Eric Harris threatened Brooks and nobody acted upon it). However. As important a book this is for Brooks, his family and many others directly concerned... I doubt it's that helpful to people outside. Or well, at least it wasn't for me. Some anecdotes mentioned made me doubt Brooks and his family as narrators early on - there was an incident mentioned back when Brooks and Dylan Klebold accidentially somewhat ruined a girl's coat and the teacher made them clean it, probably a tad too thoroughly, with a teethbrush and all - however, Brooks' mother made it sound as if some torture had happened. Considering what happened later, the relation was way off for me. Also, Brooks himself... I don't know. Giving his first interview while Columbine was still happening? Yep, see my eyebrows raised. And in the end, it all gets a tad too preacher-y. Uh. Guess this was just too personal for my liking. Brooks was too close, too involved, to convince me as 100% reliable narrator. Sorry. If you're interested in the topic of Columbine, I'd rather rec Dave Cullen's Columbine, which, personally, I prefered lots more. ETA: Also, this was edited sloppily - really, really weird line breaks like "would[line break]n't" or "could[line break]n't" all the time - those disturbed my reading way too much. And woah, personal pet peeve: The German town is called Erfurt, NOT Ehrfurt, how hard can such little research be?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Washu

    I read this book when I went to a book club based on True Crime. I was annoyed they chose a book about School Shooters then I was swayed when they chose a great writer who had many things to say about the tragic event. Brooks Brown kept a blog at 1Up that I used to read during free periods between classes in college. A few times, he mentioned the massacre but he captured my interests when he wrote some amusing antidotes on parents and video games. Something I know too well about. His account of w I read this book when I went to a book club based on True Crime. I was annoyed they chose a book about School Shooters then I was swayed when they chose a great writer who had many things to say about the tragic event. Brooks Brown kept a blog at 1Up that I used to read during free periods between classes in college. A few times, he mentioned the massacre but he captured my interests when he wrote some amusing antidotes on parents and video games. Something I know too well about. His account of what happened to the killers was understandable and dare I say... relatable. Relatable to teens today. We still notice bullying in our schools and it affects the mind in many ways. Some aren't as tragic as Eric and Dylan but still heartbreaking. Brooks Brown opened our eyes to a whole different side to them unlike the media who branded them, "Monsters" or "freaks". It was interesting to hear about them on the lead up to the massacre and hear about the ever lasting effects afterwards. On an unrelated note, I read this book when I was five months pregnant. I was so impressed with this book, when I gave birth to my son, I called him Brooks after Brooks Brown himself :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    DNF. I was expecting something good from this book. Brooks Brown, a childhood friend of both Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, sets out to give us insights into the boys he grew up with, who went on to commit the murderous acts at Columbine High School in 1999. I'm 100 pages in, and I can honestly say there has very little of much substance into anything. I feel as if every second sentence I'm reading starts with the words "I went home and told my mom". Frustrating and irritating. So with that in mi DNF. I was expecting something good from this book. Brooks Brown, a childhood friend of both Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, sets out to give us insights into the boys he grew up with, who went on to commit the murderous acts at Columbine High School in 1999. I'm 100 pages in, and I can honestly say there has very little of much substance into anything. I feel as if every second sentence I'm reading starts with the words "I went home and told my mom". Frustrating and irritating. So with that in mind, I'm jumping ship. I doubt this book is going to provide me with anything more insightful than the memoirs of a tattle tale. Harsh perhaps, but I've no time to spare for what I sadly feel, is a weak story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tânia

    “Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.” - Mark Twain 3,5* I’ve wanted to read this for years, mainly as a follow-up to Columbine by Dave Cullen and it’s weird now that I’ve put some distance from it to finally pick it up and go back to it again. I’m glad that I didn’t read this right after Dave Cullen’s acclaimed book because I’m afraid I would be biased. I mean, for me, that’s the best book I’ve read on the Columbine tragedy. On its own, No easy Answers also delivers “Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.” - Mark Twain 3,5* I’ve wanted to read this for years, mainly as a follow-up to Columbine by Dave Cullen and it’s weird now that I’ve put some distance from it to finally pick it up and go back to it again. I’m glad that I didn’t read this right after Dave Cullen’s acclaimed book because I’m afraid I would be biased. I mean, for me, that’s the best book I’ve read on the Columbine tragedy. On its own, No easy Answers also delivers a punch. It’s told from Brook Brown’s perspective, who was friends with Eric and Dylan long before they were mass murderers. He was childhood friends with Dylan and later on met Eric in High School. It’s the closest thing we’ll get of the boys viewpoints and it’s told from one of the people who knew them better than anyone else. Not just that, it gives you a different perspective of what happened that day and the events preceding it. There are some harsh truths covered up as lies. It's unbelievable how much the police concealed and the extent they went to just to cover their own mess. Columbine could've been prevented if only they'd taken action on Brown's complaints against Eric Harris's dangerous behavior the year before. What a shame. I noticed a stark contrast between the two books. On the one hand, Dave Cullen downplays the bullying they suffered, claiming Eric was a psychopath and Dylan was depressed thus easily swayed into the plan; on the other hand, Brooks Brown reiterates how much it played a key role in the shootings. And it’s obvious, really, from his account and the evidence they left behind, though not the sole reason. I feel like it became too self-serving towards the end, and a bit preachy. Some parts seemed unnecessary and I didn’t see the need for them to be detailed or even included in the book. Apart from that, it’s a particularly interesting read and it paints a very personal and insightful picture of their friendship and the ultimate betrayal.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    When the author mentioned "My juggalos" in the forward, I didn't think this was going to be a very good book, but I found that it's very insightful and honest. I ended up really, really liking it. When the author mentioned "My juggalos" in the forward, I didn't think this was going to be a very good book, but I found that it's very insightful and honest. I ended up really, really liking it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    BlackMamba

    I knew Dylan long enough to know that he didn't start out as a monster. He became one. That's what makes his fate so scary. The next Dylan could be your son. Your neighbor. Your best friend. Not some faceless, anonymous killer who comes out ofthe dark and snatches your loved ones. A regular person who faces the cruelty of the real world just like the rest of us—and in whom something erodes away over time. It's too late to stop Eric and Dylan. But maybe if we realize what we're doing to one another a I knew Dylan long enough to know that he didn't start out as a monster. He became one. That's what makes his fate so scary. The next Dylan could be your son. Your neighbor. Your best friend. Not some faceless, anonymous killer who comes out ofthe dark and snatches your loved ones. A regular person who faces the cruelty of the real world just like the rest of us—and in whom something erodes away over time. It's too late to stop Eric and Dylan. But maybe if we realize what we're doing to one another and take action now, we can save the kids who would otherwise go down the same path. - Brooks Brown Avevo dodici anni a quell'epoca, tredici li avrei compiuti due mesi dopo, quando i due adolescenti Dylan ed Eric compirono quello che dopo tutti scoprirono essere un vero e proprio attacco terroristico all'interno della scuola, che entrambi frequentavano: la Columbine High School. Quel massacro è rimasto impresso nella mia memoria per sempre e, qualche volta, mi ritrovo a navigare in internet per cercare sempre più dettagli su cosa è realmente successo quel giorno. Ovviamente per avere le mie risposte, per sapere il perchè quei due ragazzi erano così pieni di rabbia e odio. Perchè erano così depressi e disturbati da commettere un atto così tragico. Brooks Brown, amico intimo di Dylan Klebold (che diventerà amico anche di Eric Harris successivamente) cerca di darsi e darci delle risposte, ripercorrendo fatti accaduti prima, dopo e durante il massacro. Il libro è stato pubblicato nel 2002, solo tre anni dopo il massacro. Mi è piaciuto, se può essere usata questa frase su un argomento così delicato, su un libro basato sulla realtà, che lo rende ancora più sconvolgente. Su alcune cose non sono d'accordo con lui che cerca di raccontarci, di farci credere come Eric sia stato il più "terribile" tra i due, come abbia attirato Dylan, magari facendo leva sui problemi personali che il giovane aveva a quei tempi. Credo solo che, terribilmente, il fato abbia fatto incontrare due persone piene di risentimento verso una scuola che non li aiutava, verso un istituto che chiudeva gli occhi se qualcuno veniva preso di mira (aggiungerei crudelmente). Verso compagni che li ignoravano o deridevano, torturandoli psicologicamente per molto tempo (non parlo solo della Columbine, ma anche delle scuole che avevano frequentato precedentemente). Non voglio assolutamente trovare una "scusa" per ciò che hanno fatto, continuerò a condannare il loro atto vile e crudele, ma dopo qualche anno a bollarli solo come dei "pazzi psicopatici" ho un'altra percezione dei fatti, di come alcune cose si sarebbero potute evitare, se qualcuno li avesse ascoltati e aiutati, invece di ignorare e perdere le speranze perché quei due erano "strambi". Una grossa causa di quel fatto sanguinoso è stata la NEGLIGENZA da parte della POLIZIA. Hanno fatto un pessimo, un TERRIBILE lavoro su tutti i fronti. Quando Brooks fu minacciato di morte da Eric nel '98 e i genitori ne parlarono con la polizia, non venne fatto nulla, Eric fu solo costretto a scusarsi con i genitori di Brooks, che non gli credettero, intimandogli di stare alla larga dalla loro casa e da loro figlio. Eric era un ragazzo che non lasciava correre una sciocchezza, estremamente vendicativo, quindi non lasciò correre una cosa del genere. Continuò a quasi perseguitare quella famiglia e quel ragazzo orchestrando giochetti ai danni di Brooks. Tutti sapevano chi fosse (magari Dylan lo aiutava, anche se fu lui ad avvisare Brooks della minaccia, dicendogli di leggere sulla pagina web di Eric cosa aveva scritto, chi lo sa! In questo libro, Brooks si domanda se Dylan non l'avesse fatto per avvertirlo, ma solo per vedere la sua reazione, anche se poi dirà a Brooks di non parlarne con Eric) ma nessuno fece alcunché. LA POLIZIA se ne lavò le mani, ignorando successivamente le parole e LA MINACCIA di Eric Harris ai danni di Brooks (quest'ultimo scoprì - solo dopo la strage - la seconda minaccia, dove Eric un po' di tempo prima di fare pace con Brooks aveva descritto minuziosamente sul suo diario tutto quello che avrebbe voluto fare alla famiglia di Brooks la mattina del 20, prima di andare alla Columbine. Di come avrebbe ucciso prima i suoi genitori e poi avrebbe preso il suo tempo per bloccare Brooks, orinare e sputare su di lui, prima di ammazzarlo). Se la polizia, dopo la prima denuncia, avesse preso la questione seriamente, se avesse scavato più a fondo, quante cose potevano essere evitate? Durante il massacro, i poliziotti, i dannati agenti speciali della SWAT, non mossero il culo per aiutare i ragazzi intrappolati nella scuola, rimasero fuori, senza entrare, se non dopo tante ore (grazie a questo, il professore Dave Sanders morì dissanguato) semplicemente perché avevano paura e non erano addestrati in operazioni del genere. Sul serio? La SWAT non era addestrata ad affrontare una cosa del genere? A distanza di diciassette anni mi viene ancora da ridere sull'assurdità di questa dichiarazione perché, ci credo. Molti dei sopravvissuti quel giorno SI SALVARONO da soli, come quel ragazzo che si lanciò dalla finestra della biblioteca dopo il suicidio di Dylan ed Eric. Ci sono alcune prove che uno (dei tanti) ragazzi uccisi nella biblioteca non fosse stato ucciso nè da Eric nè da Dylan, ma da alcuni poliziotti. I bossoli sparsi intorno al ragazzino appartenevano alle pistole usate dai poliziotti e, successivamente, sparirono dalla scena del crimine. Lo sceriffo intraprese una personale battaglia per mettere in cattiva luce Brooks e il ragazzo fu anche coinvolto "nell'investigazione" come possibile terzo responsabile della strage. Volevano far credere alla gente che Brooks aveva aiutato Dylan ed Eric e in molti credettero alle sue allusioni, tanto che il ragazzo (oggi trentacinquenne) fu spesso allontanato dalla comunità e bollato come "killer". Si parla anche di come la musica e il cinema violento furono la causa della strage, altra cosa assolutamente ridicola. Brooks spiega come una cosa del genere veniva usata dalla gente che voleva "risposte facili" e dell'assurdità di dare la colpa a Marilyn Manson, ai KMDFM e ai Rammstein (le ultime due band erano le favorite dei due ragazzi, MM lo disprezzavano, ma il cantante fu comunque accusato di quella strage dai cattolici e da tutta la comunità). Eric Harris era razzista, amava quelle idee, si dice abbia scelto il 20 Aprile per il massacro perché era la data di nascita di Hitler. Sì, era un coglione con idee assurde, ma anche nel suo passato possiamo trovare qualcosa che ha influito sulla sua psiche e, successivamente, il bullismo, la negligenza degli insegnanti, la strafottenza di coloro che avrebbero dovuto accompagnarli in quel percorso importante e l'alienazione (la sua e quella di Dylan) hanno dato una grossa mano a distruggere quella poca sanità mentale che ancora possedevano. Per concludere, sono d'accordo con Brown. Il 20 Aprile 1999 è accaduto per tanti fattori tragici, tanti puntini oscuri che si sono collegati e hanno dato il via alla strage quel giorno. Per molta gente, Dylan ed Eric erano degli psicopatici, questa è un'altra risposta facile che ci si vuole dare. Sì, si divertirono quel giorno, ridevano e sbeffeggiavano i compagni prima di ammazzarli, li insultavano, ma Eric lasciò andare Brooks (gli disse semplicemente: "Brooks, i like you now. Get out of here. Go home") quella mattina e Dylan permise a John Savage di scappare via (uno dei superstiti che si trovava nella biblioteca quel giorno). A detta di Eric: "almeno cento persone quel giorno non DEVONO morire, gli altri invece sì". Nei video che la polizia non ha mai voluto rilasciare e che, a detta di molti, sembra siano stati definitivamente distrutti (e questa cosa mi fa incazzare parecchio, perché non ne capisco il motivo) Eric chiede scusa ai suoi genitori. Certo, viene spiegato quanto Eric fosse un bugiardo patologico, ma perché mentire quando sapeva di dover morire? Perché non dire ciò che pensava realmente in quei video? Perché, almeno come penso io, gli dispiaceva davvero per loro e per le persone che sarebbero state influenzate dalle sue azioni. Dalle sue e quelle di Dylan. Per me, questa non è psicopatia. Per me si arresero, definitivamente e tragicamente.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm from Littleton and was in lockdown at a nearby middle school when the horrors of Columbine were unfolding in 1999. It wasn't until the shooting at my own school (SPU) in early June 2014 that I began to even start approaching this - as in, come out of denial that I wasn't living in a world where such a thing as Columbine could possibly happen (yes, I'm aware there have been "worse" shootings since). I appreciate Brooks' candor and unique voice and found much of what he said about the desperat I'm from Littleton and was in lockdown at a nearby middle school when the horrors of Columbine were unfolding in 1999. It wasn't until the shooting at my own school (SPU) in early June 2014 that I began to even start approaching this - as in, come out of denial that I wasn't living in a world where such a thing as Columbine could possibly happen (yes, I'm aware there have been "worse" shootings since). I appreciate Brooks' candor and unique voice and found much of what he said about the desperation and hopelessness of our generation (and beyond, at this point), the failure of The System to do what it purports to do and the "underside" of the otherwise solemn but still neatly packaged mainstream story of Columbine. It's clear that he's angry but I can't blame him and I didn't find his emotion distracting. In much of what I've read of the Columbine material thus far, I'm getting the impression that Eric was the psychopathic ringleader and Dylan was the badly depressed follower (not that they aren't both equally responsible for this madness); I sort of wish Brooks had spoken a bit more to that specifically but I wouldn't want to advocate that Brooks tells a story other than his own. Additionally, I've come across a number of sources that relay Mark Taylor and Richard Castaldo feeling slighted by Michael Moore during the making of "Bowling for Columbine" and that Moore was not exactly honest with either Mark or Castaldo. Brooks' book didn't give me that impression so I'm sort of left with a question there. At any rate, I appreciate coming across this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the Columbine case; his story needs to be part of the Columbine story not just because he personally knew the perpetrators but also to hold in tension with all the other stuff out there. I'm not saying that Brooks trumps all, of course - there's a lot of information and misinformation about this high-profile tragedy but for anyone still haunted by it, Brooks' perspective is a must in the Columbine conversation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I read No Easy Answers: the Truth behind Death at Columbine, written by Brooks Brown Rob Merritt, for my summer reading assignment. It is written from Brooks Brown’s point of view on the Columbine massacre. The book is the story of Brooks Brown who is accused of being one of the Columbine murderers simply because he was friends with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The reason I chose this book was because many of my friends read it and they really enjoyed it and, after reading it, I did too. What I read No Easy Answers: the Truth behind Death at Columbine, written by Brooks Brown Rob Merritt, for my summer reading assignment. It is written from Brooks Brown’s point of view on the Columbine massacre. The book is the story of Brooks Brown who is accused of being one of the Columbine murderers simply because he was friends with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The reason I chose this book was because many of my friends read it and they really enjoyed it and, after reading it, I did too. What was most interesting was learning about the other side of Columbine High School, the side that was not so perfect. I have listened to Rachel’s Challenge in which the speakers portray the high school as a very kind place, a place where everyone got along. However, in this book the high school is seen as a dark place where students never got along and were often bullied. The high school in this book was a clear contract to the high school in Rachel’s Challenge. The only thing that I disliked about the book was the excerpts from newspapers, court cases, and police reports because many times they were not interesting to read. I also wish there was more written about what actually happened during the day of the shootings, which is only covered in the first few chapters in the beginning of the book. Ashley (no last name) says, “Through the eyes of someone who knew both the shooters, you realize things you had not really before heard about the shooting.” I agree with Ashley. Before reading this book I did not know much about the occurrence besides what I had known and learned from Rachel’s Challenge. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school or older because of the mature content of the story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alli

    Brooks Brown, the best friend of Dylan Klebold one of the Columbine shooters gives a gut wrenching view of the shooting through his eyes. I read this my freshmen year of High School and along with another student incorporated excerpts into a play we wrote for the senior class. Brooks Brown tells this story in a down to Earth fashion that is easy to read and understand through a teenagers eyes (He was also gracious enough to help consult on the play I co-wrote and was just as pleasant on the phon Brooks Brown, the best friend of Dylan Klebold one of the Columbine shooters gives a gut wrenching view of the shooting through his eyes. I read this my freshmen year of High School and along with another student incorporated excerpts into a play we wrote for the senior class. Brooks Brown tells this story in a down to Earth fashion that is easy to read and understand through a teenagers eyes (He was also gracious enough to help consult on the play I co-wrote and was just as pleasant on the phone). Definitely an interesting perspective and one I would recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I've always wondered why people do the things they do. I can remember watching a lot of this on tv when the Columbine shootings happened and I always wondered why someone would ever do something like this. This book gives some insight as to maybe why they did it. The person that wrote this book was friends with both of the shooters. It tells a lot of things that I never saw in the news (or maybe can't remember). It does have some swearing but it was an interesting read. I've always wondered why people do the things they do. I can remember watching a lot of this on tv when the Columbine shootings happened and I always wondered why someone would ever do something like this. This book gives some insight as to maybe why they did it. The person that wrote this book was friends with both of the shooters. It tells a lot of things that I never saw in the news (or maybe can't remember). It does have some swearing but it was an interesting read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Espinosa

    In this book it talks about what went on before columbine and after columbine. It's written by the boy, who knew Eric and Dylan named Brooks. Brooks and Dylan have been friends since grade school until in high school Dylan changes to a violent kid who has the desire to kill. This book is really good and interesting if you enjoy documentaries. It probably was one of the best books I've ever read. their are a lot of information and shocking news in the book. In this book it talks about what went on before columbine and after columbine. It's written by the boy, who knew Eric and Dylan named Brooks. Brooks and Dylan have been friends since grade school until in high school Dylan changes to a violent kid who has the desire to kill. This book is really good and interesting if you enjoy documentaries. It probably was one of the best books I've ever read. their are a lot of information and shocking news in the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Dreadful story elegantly told. I'll admit to a certain bias in evaluating this book since my son is the co-author. Photos of the victims and the perpetrators are included. How does bullying escalate into such a heinous crime? Excellent springboard for discussion. Dreadful story elegantly told. I'll admit to a certain bias in evaluating this book since my son is the co-author. Photos of the victims and the perpetrators are included. How does bullying escalate into such a heinous crime? Excellent springboard for discussion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A perspective on the events that unfolded at Columbine High School on the 20th April 1999 -- but by a close friend of the killers'. This adds a whole new insight into what happened, and offers truth and facts rather than the speculation that was tossed around by the media at the time. A perspective on the events that unfolded at Columbine High School on the 20th April 1999 -- but by a close friend of the killers'. This adds a whole new insight into what happened, and offers truth and facts rather than the speculation that was tossed around by the media at the time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Boy, I don't know what my problem is, but lately I've been reading "hard to read" books. This book is haunting. But it's honest, and I think it's important to read--especially for those who work with children or have them. I've read other books about Columbine. The fact that this is written by Brooks Brown (with Rob Merritt) who was a friend of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris gives it a unique perspective. Brown recalls what Klebold and Harris "were really like" and offers history and context to so Boy, I don't know what my problem is, but lately I've been reading "hard to read" books. This book is haunting. But it's honest, and I think it's important to read--especially for those who work with children or have them. I've read other books about Columbine. The fact that this is written by Brooks Brown (with Rob Merritt) who was a friend of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris gives it a unique perspective. Brown recalls what Klebold and Harris "were really like" and offers history and context to some of the myths we heard in the media. I greatly appreciated that Brown doesn't sugar coat his own problems; it sort of lends more credibility when he talks about how hurtful Eric Harris was to him and to his family. As a better--and nearly lifelong--friend of Dylan Klebold's, Brown's account is definitely biased toward sympathy for Klebold that he doesn't really have toward Eric. Brown is also in a unique position to call out the police. They knew about Harris's death threats and murderous rants for several months before Columbine. Had they acted on the reports and information the Brown family provided them, they could very possibly have stopped the attack altogether. I can't dwell on that thought too long. Nor can I dwell on what the police--and the Littleton community--did to Brooks and his family afterwards. Throughout its recount of his life growing up, the bullying at Columbine leading up to the attacks (and after them), April 20, and its aftermath, Brown doesn't hesitate to lay the blame squarely on Klebold and Harris for what they did--while he questions what propelled them to commit these heinous acts, he calls them what they are: murderers. And yet . . . in a way, he almost humanizes them. And he certainly reminds us that the 12 innocent children and the 1 innocent children and the dozens of others wounded weren't the only victims. Klebold and Harris died that day too. And they were grieved. They were missed. And then there are their families and their friends who are left wondering--even today--what they could have done or should have done differently. How they could have been betrayed so thoroughly by people they loved. How they reconcile the monstrous acts with the boys they enjoyed. That's the trouble with acts like this. They don't happen in a vacuum, even when our society wants to force them into one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    So there seems to be a fairly big divide in those who are interested in learning about Columbine: those who like Dave Cullen's book ("Columbine"), and those who don't. Those who don't like Cullen's work (or think it has an agenda, or that it is untruthful, or whatever) seem to recommend reading this book more, which is the reason that I picked it up in the first place. Brooks Brown has a unique perspective about what happened in Columbine. He grew up friends with Dylan Klebold, one of the shooter So there seems to be a fairly big divide in those who are interested in learning about Columbine: those who like Dave Cullen's book ("Columbine"), and those who don't. Those who don't like Cullen's work (or think it has an agenda, or that it is untruthful, or whatever) seem to recommend reading this book more, which is the reason that I picked it up in the first place. Brooks Brown has a unique perspective about what happened in Columbine. He grew up friends with Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters, and was hated by Eric Harris, the other shooter (until the two rather inexplicably made up in their senior year). Brooks could have easily been killed by Eric Harris, but Harris instead told Brooks that he "liked him" and that he should leave. Little did Brown know that the duffel bags Harris was lugging around with him at the time were filled with explosives and guns. Brooks was also targeted as a potential "suspect," even though there was virtually no evidence that he was, except that his life had been spared by Harris (and, by default, Klebold) and that he had been friends with the pair of them. Reading about what happened during that time, it really does feel like Brooks was maliciously targeted by the Sheriff's department, most likely because his parents DID try to warn the department that Eric Harris was dangerous (something that the department denied repeatedly until solid evidence backing the Browns' claims was brought to light). Brooks does offer a different perspective than Cullen's; he knew both shooters, and he went to Columbine. Cullen's portrayal of Columbine being this perfect little school on the Front Range always rung a little false to me; come on, we've all been to high school, and I have yet to find one where bullying wasn't rampant. Cullen also seems to think that is one is bullying others, that person cannot be bullied as well; I am not sure how he arrived at that conclusion, but it's not true. Brooks comes across as a little...I don't know how to describe it, except less-than-truthful. I do have trouble believing some of the things he said (taking credit for a project to "protect" an FBI officer's son, for example), but overall, I think this adds some additional information to Columbine, for those who are interested.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Honest. Brutally honest. This book truly shines a microscope on societal hypocrisy and after-the-fact revisionist history. We need to be candid about all aspects of this shooting, as this is becoming a sadly regular event in America. While Mr. Brown does not comprehend an actual understanding of gun control (for which he unknowingly advocates), this book is an amazing and honest account of the events before and after Columbine. Mr. Brown does not shy away from hard truths. He did not even do so a Honest. Brutally honest. This book truly shines a microscope on societal hypocrisy and after-the-fact revisionist history. We need to be candid about all aspects of this shooting, as this is becoming a sadly regular event in America. While Mr. Brown does not comprehend an actual understanding of gun control (for which he unknowingly advocates), this book is an amazing and honest account of the events before and after Columbine. Mr. Brown does not shy away from hard truths. He did not even do so at a time when voicing them was dangerous to himself. I will never forget the passage: " 'Eric and Dylan are the ones responsible for creating this tragedy,' I told them. 'However, Columbine is responsible for creating Eric and Dylan.' " Make no mistake. There is NO excuse or justification of what happened - nor does Mr. Brown attempt to imply such a thing. However, if we wish to prevent at least some of the future tragedies, we must acknowledge that intervention is critical. We must learn to recognize what is truly happening beneath our noses. One thing that truly made my skin crawl was the willing blindness of community reaction - from the preacher who used a funeral as a political platform in contradiction to a young woman's life to the principal who truly did not understand the culture of cruelty he fostered. Factor in those who were friends with the outcasts were not allowed to return to school - even though they suffered more than many in losing friends, knowing their friends caused it, and finding themselves guilty by association - and it is a shocking look at our rush to judgment. Are these individuals responsible for what happened? No. However, their blindness will haunt me. I cannot fathom such willful ignorance. I will forever wonder what simple awareness might have changed at Columbine. What trust in a fair system might have wrought. I will never blame anyone other than the shooters, but this will always make me consider how actions and careless speech impact another person. I cannot even begin to comment on the "investigation" or the response of the politicians in fear of the NRA or political position. Read this book. Draw your own conclusion. And please read Sue Klebold's book. Please.

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