An American Tragedy

Book - 2013
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"In the vein of Dave Cullen's Columbine, the first comprehensive account of the Sandy Hook tragedy--with exclusive new reporting that chronicles the horrific events of December 14, 2012, including new insight into the dark mind of gunman Adam Lanza. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and a decade's worth of emails from Lanza's mother to close friends that chronicled his slow slide into mental illness, Newtown pieces together the perfect storm that led to this unspeakable act of violence that shattered so many lives. Newtown explores the two central theories that have permeated the media since the attack: some claim Lanza suffered from severe mental illness, while others insist that, far from being a random act of insanity, this was a meticulously thought out, premeditated attack at least two years in the making by a violent video-gamer so obsessed with "glory kills" and researching mass murderers that he was willing to go to any length to attain the top score. Lanza's dark descent from a young boy with adjustment disorders to a calculating killer is interwoven with the Newtown massacre as it unfolded at the time, told from the points of view of eye witnesses, survivors, parents of victims, first responders, and Adam's relatives. A definitive account of a tragedy that shook a nation, Newtown features exclusive material including initial misinformation reported by the media and commentary on how this catastrophic event became a lightning rod for political agendas, much like Columbine did more than a decade ago"--
Published: New York :, Gallery Books,, 2013.
Edition: First Gallery Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476753744
Branch Call Number: 371.782 LYS
Characteristics: xvi, 264 pages ;,24 cm


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ArapahoeStaff15 Sep 26, 2017

A good basic account of Newtown. I would be interested to read a longer more, comprehensive book but this is a great starting point for anyone looking for a solid overview.

Aug 30, 2017

A chilling, powerful account of the shocking massacre of 6 educators and 20 young children on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I couldn't put this book down, riveted as I was by author Lysiak's ominous chronicle of shooter Adam Lanza's growing developmental problems, his frustrated mother Nancy's inability to find the medical care that could accurately diagnose and fix her son's bizarre dysfunctions (if indeed Adam was "fixable"--highly debatable), his descent into isolation and madness, and the horrifying act that viciously, mercilessly ended 28 lives--28 counting Nancy, Adam's first victim, and Adam himself, when finally he turned the gun on himself as the police closed in.

I closed this book feeling extremely conflicted about Adam's parents. I'll bet I'm not the only one.
Towards Nancy: What the HELL was this woman thinking, taking to shooting ranges a son she knew was sliding deeper and deeper into mental illness and indulging his fascination with guns? Was that really the only way she knew to bond with the boy? Even given her gun culture upbringing couldn't the woman see, couldn't she sense, how potentially dangerous this was?
How could she know her son was so disturbed yet remain in such denial? It would be cruel and unfeeling to use a term like poetic justice, but there is terrible irony, and inevitability, that Nancy would be the first person Adam murdered.

Towards Peter, Adam's father, long estranged from Nancy and eventually from Adam as well: Jesus Christ! Couldn't he have done something to head off any part of this awful tragedy? I vaguely remember Peter Lanza's interview with one of the evening newsmagazine shows--Dateline, or some such--shortly after the tragedy. His contrition and sorrow were palpable, and I remember feeling sorry for the man as he admitted he felt so ashamed of the chaos and pain Adam had inflicted that he wished his son had never been born. That's a hell of thing to say about your own child, but given the circumstance you knew what he meant.
But this book has made me angry. The author does not assign blame, but it was hard not to feel that Peter Lanza used his divorce from Adam's mother as a way of avoiding Adam's problems. Granted it was Adam who, upset by his father's new marriage and life, rejected Peter, refusing to have anything further to do with him. Reasonably, you might ask what more he could do.
I don't know. Something. Adam was his son and he was deeply troubled. Even from a distance, his father should have tried to monitor what was going on in that house.


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