12/14/2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut
We remember the numbers: 20 children and six adults, murdered in a place of nurture and trust. We remember the names: Teachers like Victoria Soto, who lost her life protecting her students. A shooter named Adam Lanza. And we remember the questions: Outraged conjecture instantly monopolized the worldwide response to the tragedy, while the truth went missing.
Here is the definitive journalistic account of Newtown, an essential examination of the facts - not only of that horrific day but the perfect storm of mental instability and obsession that preceded it and, in the aftermath of unspeakable heartbreak, the controversy that continues to play out on the national stage. Drawn from previously undisclosed emails, police reports, and in-depth interviews, Newtown: An American Tragedy breaks through a miasma of misinformation with its comprehensive and astonishing portrayal.
This is the vital story that must be told today if we are to prevent another American tragedy in the days to come.
A portion of the proceeds from this audiobook will be donated to the Avielle Foundation.
©2013 Matthew Lysiak (P)2013 Tantor
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Your initial reactions upon gazing the book cover of “Newtown" will be to avoid reliving the Sandy Hook massacre. Matthew Lysiak, author, details the modern American nightmare, which leaves readers depressed and emotionally drained. However, reading Newtown is an important first step in starting to comprehend the roots of school shootings and its lasting effects on the families and communities.
The 20 years old shooter murdered his mother, 6 educational professionals, and 20 early elementary aged children. It's too easy to avoid thinking about this tragedy and bury your head in the sand, but the value of Newtown is the direct and clear descriptions of the shooters atypical childhood development, anti-social behaviors, and clear behavioral warning signs that escalated into mass murder. There are no explanations that will help the reader understand the shooter. However, the reader is exposed to a series to environmental circumstances and behavioral chains that culminated to into the worst tragedy in American History:
1) At age 4 the shooter was exposed to guns and practiced marksmanship on the shooting range.
2) The shooter's mother purchased high capacity weapons and magazines, which she illegally provided to her emotionally troubled son.
3) As early as kindergarten school officials implemented interventions designed to accommodate the shooter’s high degree of social anxiety and aspergers syndrome.
4) The shooter received mental health consultation and various psychotropic medications throughout his childhood.
5) The shooter was socially isolated from his peers, drew numerous pictures of people being shot to death, collected information on mass murders, and played thousands of hours of the video game "Call of Duty".
Newton also describes the courage of the Sandy Hook Elementary personnel and first responders. Lysiak spends time outlining the positive attributes of each victim. Overall, Newtown will make you very sad and troubled. However, the reader takes away certain behaviors exhibited by the shooter that almost anyone would identify as threat to society.
There is value to revisiting the Sandy Hook massacre and learning from its awful lessons.
Readers interested in more information related the precursor behaviors and environmental circumstances that related to the tragedy should go on to read the CT Attorney General’s Report on Sandy Hook (free On-line) and Andrew Solomon’s interview with the shooters father in the March 2014 New Yorker Magazine.
This is a hard review to write; especially with today being four years since the tragedy. This is the first audiobook that I am truly disappointed with because I don't feel the vocal performance respected the victims. The recounting of the massacre is horrifying enough but the narrator made me want to throw up when he mimicked the gunfire with an aggressive tone, "pop, pop, pop!" While I realize that Lysiak wrote those words, it truly did nothing but exploit what happened. With the explicit detail that is presented, I know what is happening inside of the school. I don't need the "pops" to convince me. It was almost enough to make me stop listening but I pressed on because I wanted to see if the book would redeem itself.
Like many have said, the book was released too soon. Dave Cullen's Columbine demonstrated how to examine a tragedy with the ten years of research that went into it and the effort speaks to itself. I found that Lysiak tended to repeat points he already established. The afterword is what destroyed my confidence in recommending this to anyone where he explored possibilities of, "what if this happened, maybe this would have been prevented." The most pervasive example of this was when he posited, "what if Adam Lanza's favorite teacher didn't retire? Would Sandy Hook still have happened?" This does nothing but assigns blame. Sue Klebold's excellent A Mother's Reckoning shows that you could do everything that you thought was right but it still did not prevent what happened.
I can't recommend this.
British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
There was a time when Dad worked, Mom stayed at home, we had one car, one black and white TV and our homes were surrounded by white picket fences. Well at least that was 'The American Dream'. Now we are more aware of our surroundings arn't we? Since events such as Columbine and Newtown we no longer take our children's safety for granted after we drop them off at school each day. There was a time when we would be so very proud when our children told us that they would like to be in the teaching profession when they get older. I cannot speak for everyone however I cannot tell you how I felt sick when when I heard my daughter announce that. Her Dad and I said nothing but exchanged frantic glances and were quickly trying to figure out how we could change her mind as we knew that she could not carry a firearm into her future school room in order to protect either her self or her precious charges
This book is a really well researched accurate of one of those days that caused us and much of America to feel this way.
Matthew Lysiack is a journalist so I was really looking forward to reading this volume as I felt that he would be as accurate as possible. I was also really surprised that his style was far more compassionate than I expected. His verbiage is not at all 'flowery' but easy 'on the ear.
The author gives us, the listener/ reader a good solid history of many of those involved. Takes us through the events of the day. Much of that terrible day will take you to a very dark place. He then walks with us beyond that day. Adam Verner's performance was very comfortable to listen to as you can hear the pain in his voice but it was appropriate and controlled. His style is very conversational.
At the end of the book we get a really interesting interview to enjoy.
To say that one 'enjoyed' a book with this subject matter is not PC. However it is informative and fills in some gaps that are left as one normally is only aware of the story reported to us during the mille and the journalistic drama of that horrendous day.
Thanks and respect to the women that served and paid a high price. You are still gorgeous Shi; your scars make you even more beautiful.
The details of one of the most horrific stories in American History. It gives the back stories of the families of both the victims and perpetrators. It also describes the weaknesses of both America's gun laws and mental health system. The great recession of 2008 has reduced this country's spending on mental health by five billion dollars. The only treatment available for mental illness for the majority of Americans is either in the emergency room or the prison system. The pain experienced by the Lanza family as well as the families of Adam Lanza's victims is relevant to understanding the complete loss in all scenarios like this. Until the shooter takes up an all too easily attainable firearm they often appear to be a sadder case than the victim. The story of Newtown reminds us of the lack of control inherent in a country that provides practically no mental health care and a ridiculously easy access to firearms. By far the saddest conclusion is that the future holds a world with even more Adam Lanza's and repeated number of Newtowns.
Explained the tragedy
At first it brought back the day so vividly, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue, but I'm glad I continued to make sense of the inconceivable.
So what will we do to prevent another Newtown?
I bought this book after reading Dave Cullen's "Columbine," which was fantastic. I was hoping that "Newtown" would be a similar study in the greater sociological phenomena that both fed into this tragedy, and came from it. Instead, this simply recounted the story of a horrific tragedy in order to pull at heartstrings and satisfy salacious rubberneckers. This book would appeal to the very same lookyloos that he describes wreaking havoc on Newtown in the wake of the tragedy. This book might have contributed something real if it had argued a point on issues like mental health, gun control or the press's responsibility in the face of tragedy. Instead, he presents only witness accounts without interpretation, and touches on the above topics without ever making a stand on any of them. It made me feel like a voyeur to listen to this book, and I was glad when it was over.
Wife, Mother, Photographer. Obsessed with Great White Sharks, urban legends, Sweet Valley High and horror movies.
Parts of this book were so hard to listen to. Knowing the suffering those children endured is so heartbreaking. The narrator did an amazing job on a sensitive topic.
I know it's necessary, but I don't like to talk about the killer. Those chapters I tended to skip through.
Love books, listen to 3-4 books a week, thriller and true crimes favorite.
An honest story of an extremely sad day in America. The interview at the end was also worth listening to.
Yes, very much so. Adam Verner read the content flawlessly. I felt as though I was there at Newtown and as a mom and human being, my heart broke.
I just thought Adam was outstanding and put such feeling into this American tragedy.
All he said and read was awesome.
I cannot think of any subtitle that would be fitting for this book.
Both emotionally and intellectually satisfying - it's the ultimate cautionary tale. Read it and weep literally.
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