Parkland: Birth of a Movement

Parkland: Birth of a Movement

by Dave Cullen

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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.

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

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

Editorial Reviews

Elise Jordan

Parkland is exceptional. I really look forward to it being unleashed to the world, because the Parkland students really did something. They are a political force to be reckoned with in our country.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Part character study, part media analysis, part political critique, Parkland ends up being many things. Thanks to Dave Cullen’s gift for clear, involving storytelling, it ends up being, above all, a compelling “year-in-the-life” tale of a group of ordinary, yet also extraordinary, teens.

San Francisco Chronicle

[Parkland] provides nuanced, sensitive portraits of the Parkland kids who have become media stars. . . . These are extraordinary young people, and Cullen does them and us a great service by showing their ordinary lives.

The Atlantic

Parkland is the first book about the shooting that’s not marketed toward teens and young adults. It also may be the most optimistic of the bunch. . . . an inspiring read.

Newsday

Parkland is an unexpectedly lively chronicle with a powerful message.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Part character study, part media analysis, part political critique, Parkland ends up being many things. Thanks to Dave Cullen’s gift for clear, involving storytelling, it ends up being, above all, a compelling “year-in-the-life” tale of a group of ordinary, yet also extraordinary, teens.

Booklist (starred review)

Cullen brings his eloquence, expertise, combination of deep research and concision, and unbiased perspective to yet another mass school shooting, revealing its deepest layers and resonance. . . . [a] moving, defining, and important account of an essential and vital youth movement.

Newsday

Parkland is an unexpectedly lively chronicle with a powerful message.

The Atlantic

Parkland is the first book about the shooting that’s not marketed toward teens and young adults. It also may be the most optimistic of the bunch. . . . an inspiring read.

San Francisco Chronicle

[Parkland] provides nuanced, sensitive portraits of the Parkland kids who have become media stars. . . . These are extraordinary young people, and Cullen does them and us a great service by showing their ordinary lives.

Washington Post

Parkland is one of the most uplifting books you will read all year. . . . [it] is a balm. . . . genius.

Book Forum

If any nonfiction writer is equipped to tell this story, it’s Dave Cullen.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Parkland is a moving petition to America that it not look away from the catastrophes at Columbine, Newtown, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and, yes, Parkland. It succeeds as an in-depth report about the “generational campaign” in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy, a bi-partisan movement advocating serious gun reform.

San Francisco Weekly

In the hands of a less-skilled writer, a project like Parkland might risk becoming the type of uplifting but empty text that typically arrives with aspirations of cashing in on a cultural moment. Instead, Cullen utilizes the moment to amplify the Parkland students’ calls for actions while situating his views within a structure of quality reporting that emphasizes facts above emotions.

Chicago Tribune

[Parkland is] written with the clarity and depth and time… that the students who died and the students who live deserve, and that the nation grappling with it all needs. I was moved and informed and, most of all, heartbroken by it — even though it’s written with authentic hope.

Publishers Weekly

★ 01/28/2019

School shootings are horrors, but, as journalist Cullen (Columbine) depicts in this page-turner, something hopeful has risen phoenixlike from the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.: an eloquent, organized group of survivors who have become nonpartisan activists for reasonable gun control. “There are strains of sadness woven into this story,” he writes, “but this is not an account of grief.” Cullen, who got to know the students over 11 months, recounts how the movement began the day of the shooting, with David Hogg’s first plea for calls to congresspeople on national television; grew as the Parkland activists forged connections with less-heralded teens advocating against gun violence in Chicago; and led to the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Along the way, he draws nuanced portraits of several students, among them Jackie Corin, a preternaturally organized junior who handles logistics and event planning, and Cameron Kasky, a theater kid who was the first to tweet #NeverAgain. Cullen makes sure they come across as “kids, because that’s who they are”; despite their unusual maturity, they get tired, act out, break down. Both realistic and optimistic, this insightful and compassionate chronicle is a fitting testament to a new chapter in American responses to mass shootings. Agent: Betsy Lerner, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.)

Booklist (starred review)

Cullen brings his eloquence, expertise, combination of deep research and concision, and unbiased perspective to yet another mass school shooting, revealing its deepest layers and resonance. . . . [a] moving, defining, and important account of an essential and vital youth movement.

Book Forum

If any nonfiction writer is equipped to tell this story, it’s Dave Cullen.

Washington Post

Parkland is one of the most uplifting books you will read all year. . . . [it] is a balm. . . . genius.

San Francisco Chronicle

[Parkland] provides nuanced, sensitive portraits of the Parkland kids who have become media stars. . . . These are extraordinary young people, and Cullen does them and us a great service by showing their ordinary lives.

Washington Post

Parkland is one of the most uplifting books you will read all year. . . . [it] is a balm. . . . genius.

Library Journal

★ 03/01/2019

We all know about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, the movement it sparked, and the teens who continue to speak truth to power. But do we really know the young people behind the tweets and interviews? Journalist Cullen (Columbine) tries to answer that question, documenting the impact of the tragedy and pain that swept through the community, as well as the movement that served as a lifeline for all involved. This work gives voice to the faces behind March for Our Lives, exploring their world behind the scenes to introduce a group of extraordinary people thrust into the public eye by one of the worst events in U.S. history. Exposing the physical and emotional effects of activism in light of tragedy while examining the solace of action and community, Cullen presents a well-balanced review of the Parkland shooting without too much emphasis on the perpetrator or the horrors of the day. VERDICT An emotionally gripping, very human portrayal of the people behind March for Our Lives. A solid choice for readers interested in current affairs, gun legislation, and young people in America.—Gricel Dominguez, Florida International Univ. Lib., Miami

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2019-01-13

An incisive study of one of the past year's most significant mass shootings, with publication tied to the one-year anniversary.

Cullen spent 10 years researching and writing his book Columbine (2009), which meticulously documented the Colorado high school massacre, with an emphasis on the two students who planned it. This time, in the aftermath of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, committed by a former student on Feb. 14, 2018, the author has produced an impressively deep account in just 10 months. Never naming the murderer of 14 students and three staff members, the author focuses on surviving students who coalesced to promote gun control by spreading their message, encouraging voter registration, and seeking to influence legislatures at the local, state, and national levels. Starting with his initial coverage of the story for Vanity Fair just after the shooting, Cullen immersed himself with the students, many of whom left classes to tour the nation. Throughout the book, the author demonstrates his rapport with the students as well as Parkland parents, teachers, and community leaders. When he deems it appropriate and relevant, Cullen effectively compares and contrasts the Columbine and Parkland experiences. As he notes, his years of immersion in the Columbine tragedy left him with secondary PTSD, so diving in to the Parkland aftermath felt personally risky. However, he persisted, believing that the hopeful messages of the students would outweigh the darkness. Chronicling how the mostly middle- or upper-class Parkland students eventually expanded their crusade to address other issues related to guns, Cullen memorably captures many of the interests they share with often stereotyped inner-city teenagers from violent neighborhoods. In nearly 60 pages of detailed endnotes, the author expands on the revelations in the main narrative, discusses his information-gathering methods, and discloses potential conflicts of interests due to the close relationships he has formed with survivors.

In both Columbine and this up-to-the minute portrait of the Parkland tragedy, Cullen has produced masterpieces that are simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful about a saner future.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062882967
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 87,034
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Customer Reviews