Last Day on Earth

Last Day on Earth

A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter

Book - 2011
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"On Valentine's Day 2008, Steve Kazmierczak killed five and wounded eighteen at Northern Illinois University, then killed himself. But he was an A student, a Deans' Award winner. How could this happen? CNN could not get the story. The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and all others came up empty because Steve's friends and professors knew very little. He had reinvented himself in his final five years. But David Vann, investigating for Esquire, went back to Steve's high school and junior high friends, found a life perfectly shaped for mass murder, and gained full access to the entire 1,500 pages of the police files. The result: the most complete portrait we have of any school shooter. But Vann doesn't stop there. He recounts his own history with guns, contemplating a school shooting. This book is terrifying and true, a story you'll never forget"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Athens, [Ga.] : University of Georgia Press, c2011
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 V
Characteristics: 167 p. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9780820338392
0820338397

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hgeng63 Jan 11, 2013

A cool & level-headed account of a mass murderer marred by several unsupported points (for example, he says that the killer's girlfriend & best friend have severe mental illness) by the author.

James_LevinsBPL Mar 17, 2012

This book was okay, but I thought the writing was kinda creepy and self aggrandizing to put it best. It seemed like author David Vann had a mental bromance or maybe even a twisted sense of kinship going on with his subject, the psychotic Northern Illinois University mass murderer Steven Kazmierczak. Vann's point seemed to be something along the lines of "Dude, Steven Kazmierczak and I both had really horrible childhoods, but he ended up a mass murderer and I ended up a prize winning author. But hey, I can like totally relate to him! I could have been a mass murderer too!" Vann felt the need to add way too much personal information about himself that really had nothing to do with the Kazmierczak. There were points in the book where the reader gets the feeling that Vann might actually be trying to one up Kazmierczak over who had the more screwed up childhood. It got old pretty fast. I strongly prefer it when true crime writers spare the reader their personal revelations and self comparisons to the subject. I mean it's a bummer that the author's father killed himself and that he was bullied as a kid, but I checked out this book with the intent to learn about the NIU shooter, not the trials and tribulations of the author's youth. The book is called "Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter" not "The Tragedy and Triumph of David Vann". That said, the book isn't awful and at just under 170 pages it won't take up too much time to read.....

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