Birth of a Movement
Emma González called BS.
David Hogg called out Adult America.
The uprising had begun.
Since Columbine unleashed an epidemic, we felt powerless to stop these horrors. America remains awash in guns. Parkland changed everything. These astonishing students had learned the lessons of Newtown, and struck back lightning fast.
Parkland chronicles the birth of a movement — the first real hope to finally end the scourge of the school shooter era, which began before they were born. How they channeled their anger into a movement is a remarkable story.
Cameron Kasky recruited a colorful band of drama kids and brought them all together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.
I shadowed the March For Our Lives kids nearly ten months, from the first weekend, to take you behind the scenes from inception through the March For Our Lives, two national school walkouts, the daunting 2-month Road to Change summer bus tour, Change the Ref, their return to school, and the lead-up to the mid-term elections.
This is a completely different take on the tragedy than Columbine. That book was about what drove the killers, and how the community recovered. Parkland is about neither — I refuse to even name the pathetic killer, who is now irrelevant. This book is entirely about the response — the amazing March For Our Lives kids. It's about a way out.
It was quite an odyssey. Finally, a story of hope.
New York Times Bestseller
New York Times Bestseller
BEST BOOKS OF 2019
American Library Association
New York Public Library
"One of the most uplifting books you will read all year.”
"This book is about the birth of something extraordinary: the birth of a movement, but also the rebirth of hope.”
— Publishers Weekly
Written by the author of the New York Times bestseller Columbine, who has been covering these ghastly spectacle murders for two decades. Dave covered Parkland for Vanity Fair from the first weekend, with unrivaled access to the Parkland kids. Full bio. TV.
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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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.
Behind the Book
Junior Jackie Corin organizing the 100 volunteers just before they boarded the buses to Tallahassee to meet state officials six days after surviving their attack.I loved this moment, too.
Photo by Dave.
I swore I would never go back. I got to Columbine before most of the SWAT teams went inside, and I have followed the Columbine survivors for the nineteen years of the school shooter era. I suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD, seven years apart, and that was enough. I have covered most of the major spectacle murders since then in some capacity, but mostly from afar: critiquing media coverage and conferring with the cadre of FBI profilers and forensic psychologists. Later, the ACIA think tank has brought me in to off-the-record onsite meetings with victims and experts at places like Tucson and Virginia Tech. But I refused to dive back into one of these crime scenes, to report another story of misery and horror. This time, I jumped at the chance
I went to Parkland because it’s different. Radically different. In nineteen years watching this epidemic escalate, I’ve never seen anything like the March For Our Lives kids: Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, Alfonso Calderon, Daniel Duff, Matt Deitsch, Ryan Deitsch, the Peace Warriors and so many more. These extraordinary kids seized their story and their destiny day one and willed it into a story of astonishing hope. Hope for change, drastic change.
In March, I wrote, "This will be a short book, sort of a nonfiction novella." That was the plan — but there was so much story! I asked my editor if it was too much, but she barely wanted to cut a scene. It's 300 pages, and I think you will be stunned by how much these kids endured. I have been so energized to be writing it. I smile every day I spend with these kids. I hope I do them justice on the page.
Jackie Corin's Instagram post Valentine's Day.
(Jackie Corin--who is featured heavily in the book). In the October print issue.
Parkland Picture Gallery
Mourners in the memorial area in Pine Trails Park Monday night, five days after the Parkland attack. I loved this moment, and described it in the book. Photo by Dave.
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FL State Sen. Lauren Book with one of her babies during MFOL's Tallahassee initiative, that first week. One of my favorite moments.