The tumultuous story of two gay soldiers forging a powerful friendship before, during and after Don't Ask Don't Tell. Brett and Drake battle for love and freedom to survive three wars and one exhausting policy.
They adopt wildly different strategies to outmaneuver the silent adversary, yet each one rises deftly toward lieutenant colonel, inside the great American war machine as it rumbles through misadventures in the Middle East.
Two harrowing love stories — at war.
in the homestretch of writing!
Coming in 2024
New release date!
cover is a temporary mock-up
Written by a former gay infantry grunt who has shadowed these gay soldiers since 2000, when they were in hiding. It began with a Salon story that won a GLAAD Media Award, for best online story of the year.
Soldiers First explores three decades of social upheaval and military adventures through the lens of these two gripping lives, and the men they loved.
Me, as a young soldier at Fort Benning. (I was infantry drill corporal in my BDUs, and new lieutenant in my dress blues.)
Dave Cullen has been covering our blight of mass murders for two decades, first with Columbine, then Parkland: Birth of a Movement, and a Vanity Fair profile of Gabby Giffords. He is completing a book on gay soldiers, which will be a quarter century in the making.
Both existing books were New York Times bestsellers. Columbine is the consensus definitive account of the horror that inspired two decades of killers. Parkland takes a fresh approach, focusing on the response, and refusing to name the killer. It is story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the MFOL students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes.
Columbine made two dozen Best of 2009 lists and won several major awards, including the Edgar and Goodreads Choice Awards. It has been translated into eight languages, appears on several all-time True Crime Top 10 lists, and Slate named it one of the 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the quarter century.
Parkland has made ten major year-end Best Lists, been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award (Best Nonfiction of 2019), and longlisted for the ALA's Andrew Carnegie Medal For Excellence.
Dave has written for New York Times, London Times, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, Politico, Guardian, Washington Post, New Republic, Newsweek, Daily Beast, Slate, Salon, The Millions, Lapham's Quarterly, etc., and has appeared on most of the major networks in the US, and across Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.
Dave is a former gay army infantry grunt. He lives in Brooklyn and is uncle to 11 cool humans and 1 adorable corgi, Bobby Sneakers.
Cullen has produced masterpieces that are simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful about a saner future.
The author of the groundbreaking Columbine, 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. . . .
This moving, defining, and important account
of an essential and vital youth movement dedicated to change and saving lives belongs in every public and school library.
In this page-turner, something hopeful has risen phoenixlike from the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre. . . . Both realistic and optimistic, this insightful and compassionate chronicle is a fitting testament to a new chapter in American responses to mass shootings.
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— Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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— Canadian Broadcasting System
It's 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.
Dave has been a frequent analyst about Columbine, Parkland, school shootings, gays and soldiers on Today, NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, Nightline, Morning Edition, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, CBSN, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, All In With Chris Hayes, Katie, Talk of the Nation, Hannity, and numerous documentaries including CNN, NatGeo, Showtime and The Nineties.