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Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter (Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction)


Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter (Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Book News Annotation:

On February 14, 2008, Steve Kazmierczak killed five and wounded 18 people at Northern Illinois U., then killed himself. Vann (U. of San Francisco) interviewed Kazmierczak's high school and junior high friends and examined the police files to explore how this happened to a seemingly-normal, high-achieving college student. He describes Kazmierczak's childhood and history of bipolar disorder, suicide attempt, and hospitalization; his attempt to join the military; his life as a student; and how things fell apart and what led up to the shootings. The author weaves in his own childhood, history with guns, and feelings of an outcast, finding parallels between himself and Kazmierczak. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

David Vann is the internationally bestselling author of Caribou Island, A Mile Down, and Legend of a Suicide, published in seventeen languages and winner of ten prizes, including France’s Prix Médicis for best foreign novel, selected for the New Yorker Book Club, The Times Book Club, BBC’s Book at Bedtime, TV book shows in eight countries, and more than forty “best books of the year” lists worldwide. Currently a Guggenheim Fellow, Vann has also been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He’s taught at Stanford, Cornell, and Florida State University and is currently an associate professor at the University of San Francisco.

Product Details

Vann, David
University of Georgia Press
Crime - True Crime
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Sociology » Violence in Society

Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter (Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction) Used Hardcover
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Product details 184 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820338392 Reviews:
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