Comprehending Columbine

Ralph W. Larkin
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-491-5
Publication: Feb 07

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-490-8
Publication: May 07

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-492-2
Publication: Feb 07

264 pages
6 x 9
1 tables, 6 figs., 20 halftones, 1 maps

The definitive book on the school massacre that shocked a nation

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


On April 20, 1999, two Colorado teenagers went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School. That day, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve fellow students and a teacher, as well as wounding twenty-four other people, before they killed themselves. Although there have been other books written about the tragedy, this is the first serious, impartial investigation into the cultural, environmental, and psychological causes of the massacre.

Based on first-hand interviews and a thorough reading of the relevant literature, Ralph Larkin examines the complex of factors that led the two young men to plan and carry out their deed. For Harris and Klebold, Larkin concludes, the carnage was an act of revenge against the "jocks" who had harassed and humiliated them, retribution against evangelical students who acted as if they were morally superior, an acting out of the mythology of right-wing paramilitary organization members to "die in a blaze of glory," and a deep desire for notoriety.

Rather than simply looking at Columbine as a crucible for all school violence, Larkin places the tragedy in its proper context, and in doing so, examines its causes and meaning.

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
1. Armageddon (Well, Almost)
2. God's Country
3. Culture Wars at Columbine
4. The Peer Structure of Columbine High
5. The Other Columbine
6. Eric and Dylan
7. From Oklahoma City to Columbine
8. Dead Celebrities
9. Give Peace a Chance

About the Author(s)

Ralph W. Larkin, Ph.D is owner of Academic Research Consulting Service and a Senior Research Associate, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He is the author of Suburban Youth in Cultural Crisis and (with Daniel A. Foss) Beyond Revolution: Social Movements in Historical and Comparative Perspective.