Parkland: The Birth of a Movement by David Cullen

Parkland: The Birth of a Movement by David Cullen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary, Non-Fiction
Length: Full Length (311pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.

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

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

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

Sad, haunting and shows the strength we all have after tragedy.

I have to admit, I hoped the climate of school shootings would end. I really did. Still do. This books takes a look at what can be done if you’re willing to fight back—not against the shooter, but the climate.

I came of age during Columbine. I never thought anything like that would happen in my lifetime and I had to explain to my students (I student-taught that spring) what had happened. I wasn’t far removed from high school. I can’t imagine having the determination or chutzpah to do what the students at Parkland did.

This could be seen as a liberal book, but it’s not. It’s the story of students having had enough. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up this fast. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about active shooter drills. I liked reading how these kids navigated their way through what they’d been through and the aftermath. I can’t imagine having seen my friends dying.

Understand this: the book isn’t a true crime book. It doesn’t make a big deal about the shooter. This book is about the students and the aftermath. Time could’ve been spent on the shooter and his history. It might have made this a more well-rounded book. But that’s for the author to decide, not me.

If you want a book that will make you think…then this is the book.

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