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No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine
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No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine (Paperback)
by Brooks Brown (Author), Rob Merritt (Author)
(47 customer reviews)                                                                                                                                                 

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Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
The question of why Columbine seniors Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 classmates and one teacher before killing themselves is personal for classmate Brown, who was friends with both boys. However, this search for an answer is unlikely to provide closure for either Brown or others concerned about preventing future acts of school violence. The author, who appeared on Oprah and other shows after the killing spree, writes conversationally, as if he were being questioned by a talk show host and asked to describe growing up with Klebold, why he thinks Harris told him to go home right before the shootings and what can be learned from the gruesome event. Interspersed between Brown's first person accounts of bullying and injustice at Columbine, which he regards as the motivating factors for the shootings, are third person interviews with his parents and others. Since much of the story of the event's aftermath is told from newspaper clippings and TV reports, there's little new here. Still, Brown's discussion of Harris's Web pages, where he made a death threat against Brown, and the police's failure to act on them, makes for chilling reading. The book bogs down when Brown details the actions of the local police and sheriff, who implied that Brown was a suspect even though they knew he and his family were mentioned as potential targets in Harris's journals. Too little time has elapsed since the shootings for Brown to have the perspective necessary to make this a definitive work, but readers interested in a close-up account of the tragedy will want to read this book. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
When Eric Harris walked up to Brooks Brown in the Columbine High School parking lot on April 20, 1999, and told him, "Brooks, I like you now. Get out of here. Go home," Brown's life changed forever. Minutes later, Harris and Brown's close friend Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and a teacher. Brown immediately became the subject of rumor and innuendo, eventually being named as a "potential suspect" by the police. Besides the misery of being falsely associated with the murders, Brown endured unremitting guilt and confusion over having known Harris and Klebold well. Here Brooks tells his harrowing story, analyzing the Columbine murders along the way. Insisting that video games and rock music had nothing to do with the murders, he focuses instead on the horrific teasing and bullying rampant at Columbine. He insists that while Harris and Klebold were responsible for the deaths of 13 people, the school was responsible for making them into desperate, angry boys. Despite uber-hip slang and occasionally awkward phrasing, Brown's story is gripping and provocative. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews
47 Reviews
5 star: 68%  (32)
4 star: 8%  (4)
3 star: 10%  (5)
2 star: 6%  (3)
1 star: 6%  (3)
Average Customer Review
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 28 people found the following review helpful:
Raw, honest book, April 5, 2003
By Mike Johnston (Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
I'm a 46-year-old former high school teacher with no ties to Colorado or Columbine. I'm not a Columbine junkie--haven't read any other books on the subject and didn't know any more about it than any other American who watches and reads the news.

I read this book in three sittings in less than 24 hours. It's a compelling story written in plain, raw prose that makes no pretense to literary merit. I'm perfectly willing to believe that this isn't "the last word" on the subject, that it looks at things from only one perspective, and may even be somewhat self-serving.

But so what? What we need to reach understanding is direct, honest accounts from _different_ perspectives, and that's what I found here. Obviously, the author (who was involved in, and scarred by, the event) has been trying to work out his culpability, his feelings, and tell his story--genuinely searching for explanations and meaning--and this book is the fruit of his effort. The person he describes himself to have been will be familiar to most teachers, a part angry, part goofy punk who is both rebellious and thoughtful and bright.

He describes the toxic atmosphere of the school. Large high schools can be awful places--he compares it socially to a prison yard, something I have no trouble believing. The main interest of this book to readers, however, is Brooks's gradual discovery of what might be called the realities of adult politics--the inept, self-justifying Sheriff, the injustices perpetuated by a shocked community attempting to assign blame, the understandable desire of the authorities to make it all go away, the efforts of many interest groups to appropriate the event for their own purposes, and, eventually, the kids' rejection by hardened politicians who see it only as a small facet of a larger issue they've already made up their minds about. This is the disillusion we all face entering adulthood, but made brutally sudden and shocking for the author by the murders. He seems to have done a good job of handling it all in the aftermath--although the book describes a teenager, it's written from the perspective of an adult. In fact I hope Brown becomes a politician's clear that his values have been formed in the crucible of this experience.

I picked up this book on impulse, and it's a very quick read, but I'm glad I read it. I may even seek out other books on the subject now.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great Book, September 19, 2006
By Randy Given (Manchester, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This was a great book to read. I don't know everything there is to know about the Columbine Massacre, but enough to know that some have bits of the truth, but also their own ax to grind ("Bowling for Columbine", "Elephant"). This book was a quick read and kept my attention. It certainly fits in with all the different data sources, notwithstanding the conflicting stories that "officials" have given. I'm afraid that more and more of this is going to happen (just two days ago, a similar situation was averted). I hope that books like this wake up society to actually find out how to PREVENT such disasters. I think many of us "know" what the issues are, but are too afraid to do anything. This book helps keep that focus. It's amazing that the author kept going after all the problems. At the end of the book, it seems like anyone would give up, but the author gives hope to us and is trying to continue himself. Thank God for people like this. Highly recommended.

10 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
This certainly sheds some light..., October 27, 2002
By Tracy Damyanovich (Central Coast, CA) - See all my reviews
[This certainly sheds some light...]on, if there can be a "why", this may have happened. I have read articles in the media that reported on the "bullying problem" that existed/exists at Columbine, but this book really brings that issue to life. A school that discourages independent thought is worrisome to begin with, but with the amount of cruelty that was alledgedly tolerated in this building I'm surprised more of it's students didn't [break] out more often. The atmosphere at Columbine before the tragedy seemed absolutely stifling...

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Most Recent Customer Reviews

Bullying and Teasing As Possible Causes of School Violence
"No Easy Answer" is a look at the Columbine massacre from the perspective of Brooks Brown, a friend of the two shooters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bruce W. Harden

No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Columbine
This was a very interesting account by a young man who had some insights that few have of this most tragic event in our history. As a school administrator it was a wake-up call.
Published 4 months ago by Teresa A. Lane

Learn the whole truth about the causes of Columbine
The Roman poet Virgil once wrote, "From a single crime, know the nation."

Brooks Brown, who knew both Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, gives a unique perspective on... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Curt Rowlett

You've Gone Way Over Your 15 Minutes of Fame Brooks
Forget the 13 who were murdered and all those wounded on April 20, 1999; forget the pain of their families; Forget Harris and Klebold; Forget them all because I have just realized... Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Boulhosa

It kept my interest from start to finish
This book gives you a closer look at what was going on in the lives of Harris and Klebold from someone who was very close to the situation. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Kim Gordon

Intriguing book!
This book certainly made me think! Brown and Merritt have brought amazing insight to this tragedy. What mental anguish to know in hindsight what your friends had planned. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Iowa Reader

Given the reviews here, disappointing
I turned to this book as possible first-hand source material for a seminar on violence and enculturation in modern America. What did I come away with? Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jumana

There must be better accounts
Brown's work is nothing save self-serving, poorly written, half-thought out tripe: I would call it pablum for the masses, save that this seems to overstate the value of the work... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Leah Homewood

Best Columbine book ever made
All I want to say that brooks brown knew Eric and Dylan well and he had feuds with eric and such this is what make's it a good read I am going to put this on my best books list... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Donna T. Young

No a true account of what happened inside
If you're looking for a book that goes in-depth about what happened inside the school and how events occured, this is not the book for you. Read more
Published 15 months ago by A. Fister

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