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Ceremonial Violence

Understanding Columbine and Other School Rampage Shootings
Narrated by: Joe Caron
Length: 11 hrs
4 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ceremonial Violence analyzes 13 school “rampage” shootings—including the Columbine High School massacre—and explains, for the first time, why teenagers commit these tragic atrocities. With his grasp of the elements of abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, sociology, and neurology that contribute to the homicidal mindset, Fast offers us a means of understanding and coming to terms with these shootings, and provides examples of what we should look for as early signs to prevent further tragedies.

©2009 Johnathan Fast (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Our adolescent massacres are, as Jonathan Fast, a professor of social work, astutely observes in his new book, a type of terrorism, but we have a hard time seeing them as such…Fast, in search of a more illuminating explanation, has made an in-depth study of 13 incidents." (Salon.com)
"Detailed and thoroughly researched… Fast does an excellent job of revealing what these broken children had in common." ( Kirkus)
"A penetrating examination of the nation’s school shootings…outlines clear and realistic goals for educators, community leaders, parents, and students that could help prevent these violent attacks." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but not as in depth as I wanted

When I purchased this book, I was looking for an in depth psychological analysis of school shootings, but what I got was fairly superficial.
The first 8 chapters just recounted various school shootings, while the last chapter is the only one that even tried to address the why and how to prevent them. I felt like I spent 8 chapters waiting to get to the meat of it and then they only gave me a bacon bit. There were some really good assertions in those chapters but they were never really explored for example, suppressed homosexuality, which was mentioned a few times and is an interesting concept given the role it played in the recent Orlando shootings.

If you know nothing about school shootings, this will update you on all the famous American ones. If you are already a crime buff and are looking for a piece on criminal psychology, keep looking.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • RAEFORD, NC, United States
  • 09-25-12

Great Author and Content, Sub-par Performance

Where does Ceremonial Violence rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I know some errors are due to the editor not paying attention, but the narrator need take a "cliffs notes" lesson in the stories they read. One moment he pronounces the boy's name McKay and then Makai (as it should be) and then three words later back to McKay. Same with Cassie, apparently her name is Casey.

Any additional comments?

There were quite a few errors in the shootings I know a lot about, so the stories that I'm not familiar with, I'm not sure I can count on the facts, being facts. Such as, Columbine happened on Tuesday, April 20th, 1999 and not Monday, April 20th 1999. Also, Dylan Klebold was the one who used the Tec-9 during the shooting, not Eric Harris. There were far too many details to list all of them, but if you are familiar with any of these shootings, you will see.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lots of insight into mass shootings in America

Particularly in the light of recent events, this book provides an excellent professional analysis of the dynamics involved in mass shootings.

Very disturbing, but educational. A must read for anyone who wants to engage with others in a meaningful debate regarding reasonable gun reform laws!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An am depth look that anyone who dares to care should give a read.

With the tragic epidemic of gun violence in our nation and particular those which are committed in schools, we have to ask ourselves these questions over and over and over again: Why does this happen? Why went anything done to stop it? How can we prevent future events? While this book may have been written prior to the more recent tradgedies at Sandy Hook or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, it’s hard not to notice that much of the lessons learned from previous events are more than relevant. Author Jonathan Fast explains a cause and effect and chronological order to explain events in hopes readers can understand the full circumstances that led to such acts of violence. Futhermore, he offers potential solutions that tackle areas from prevention to response which include breaking down social isolation to gun control measures. (Though a specific one isn’t mentioned). As someone who works with kids I endorse this book for anyone who feels it’s their responsibility to do anything they can to prevent and respond to such tragedies. It will mean having to hear some heartbreaking stories of death, life-altering injuries, people who turn to destructive methods to solve their seemingly ordinary problems, or the fact that a kid is capable of commuting such evil. But if it motivates just one person to 1. Counsel youth out of destructive mindsets. 2. Help correct social inequities in schools. 3. Create effective security measures for schools. 4. Work to pass effective gun regulation that respects the rights of law abiding owners. then I say it is an obligatory read.

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Thoughtful if outdated

The music is awful. Music does not belong in audio books- it is a distraction. This book should never have had a soundtrack.
The book is older and sadly we have learned more about rampage shootings. The points made are valid.

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The title of this book is a lie.

Nothing more than a series of cut and paste accounts of numerous school shootings with the occasional quote thrown in by some obscure "mental health expert". No insights into why kids kill beyond the cliches we've heard for years. After wasting hours of the listener's time, the author then ties it all together with a smug, condescending anti-gun, anti-NRA, anti-Republican rant. Pretty sure this guy has a nude poster of Diane Feinstein on his bedroom ceiling...

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Great analysis!

Loved it voice actor not so much. The case by case review of school shootings delves deep into the mindset as well as the social conditioning of the shooters. Each case is examined in depth, covering all aspects of the shootings and their affects.

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a timely book

well researched and written. the author dismisses the media portrayal of school shooters, great job.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Anti-gun propaganda

I liked the in-depth look at the shooters and case studies, but the overwhelming opinion of the author who is obviously anti-gun really took away from what could have been completely enjoyable. Keep your propaganda out of my listening!!!

4 of 9 people found this review helpful