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Newtown

An American Tragedy
Narrated by: Adam Verner
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (185 ratings)
Regular price: $22.40
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Publisher's Summary

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

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

Good, but no Columbine

This book was informative, and did a good job of summarizing the story of Newtown. But it seemed to lack the panache and exhaustive investigative query of Dave Cullen's Columbine. Some parts of the story seemed more like filler and in my opinion was unnecessary. Towards the end there were good chapters on the role of mental illness in stories such as these, as well as some question as to whether Lanza may have been psychopathic, or have some sort of ASD diagnosis. Overall good story told with empathy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The American Dream? Now A Daily Fear.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tragic, heartbreaking, and important

Any additional comments?

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.


11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Inside A Tragedy

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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sadly enlightening

What did you love best about Newtown?

Well researched

What did you like best about this story?

Explained the tragedy

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

So what will we do to prevent another Newtown?

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Claire
  • Pacifica, CA, United States
  • 10-03-16

Shameless gawking at tragedy

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Incredibly fair and honest story telling

I think this book gave a very fair and honest platform to people on every side of this story, from those who are for mental health reform, or gun reform, or both, or none, and also to law enforcement and the community of Newtown. The story telling is incredible, and the research is clearly thorough. It’s rare to read something that feels so void of the author’s opinion, while still maintaining the care and sensitivity and emotion necessary when dealing with tragedies, but it was incredibly well done in this book.

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Sandy Hook, justice to Adam Lanza.

Amazing Plotline, I can't believe that a man would do something so cruel and violent to an innocent elementary school like Sandy Hook Elementary.

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Humanizing the story and the town of Newtown.

The day really began the decade of death from the Epidemic of Mass shootings really began on December 14, 2012. After that, we now realize that this is no longer just occasional tragedy with political consequences, it's a National Crisis. I urge, no matter what anyone believes is the answer to this crisis, to give this book a read and hear about..... The acts of the first responders, teachers, of the children we have lost and those whose childhoods were stolen from them on the day of darkness. I also urge readers to discover, who was Adam Lanza and what could have been done to stop him. Would it be different if someone had reached out to him, Read Read Read and let us never forget those who were lost.

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Haunting

This book was the hardest I’ve ever listened to. It was tragic but beautifully told. Matthew Lusaka balances the stories of the victims and the story of the gunman well. An important read about one of the worst tragedies in recent memory. AUDIBLE 20 SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY