Newtown

  • by Matthew Lysiak
  • Narrated by Adam Verner
  • 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Devastating on so many levels.

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.
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- Alexandra Aiello

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.


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- DaWoolf

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-10-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio