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Sandy Hook cover art

Sandy Hook

By: Elizabeth Williamson
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Elizabeth Williamson
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Summary

Vanity Fair’s “Books We Can't Stop Thinking About”

Carnegie Medal Nonfiction Longlist 2023

The Washington Post Best Non-Fiction Books of 2022

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2022

Kirkus Best Non-Fiction Books of 2022

Slate Best Books 2022

Chicago Tribune Best Books 2022

Los Angeles Times Best Books 2022

Based on hundreds of hours of research, interviews, and access to exclusive sources and materials, Sandy Hook is Elizabeth Williamson’s landmark investigation of the aftermath of a school shooting, the work of Sandy Hook parents who fought to defend themselves, and the truth of their children’s fate against the frenzied distortions of online deniers and conspiracy theorists.

On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Ten years later, Sandy Hook has become a foundational story of how false conspiracy narratives and malicious misinformation have gained traction in society.

One of the nation’s most devastating mass shootings, Sandy Hook was used to create destructive and painful myths. Driven by ideology or profit, or for no sound reason at all, some people insisted it never occurred, or was staged by the federal government as a pretext for seizing Americans’ firearms. They tormented the victims’ relatives online, accosted them on the street and at memorial events, accusing them of faking their loved ones’ murders. Some family members have been stalked and forced into hiding. A gun was fired into the home of one parent.

Present at the creation of this terrible crusade was Alex Jones’s Infowars, a far-right outlet that aired noxious Sandy Hook theories to millions and raised money for the conspiracy theorists’ quest to “prove” the shooting didn’t happen. Enabled by Facebook, YouTube, and other social media companies’ failure to curb harmful content, the conspiracists’ questions grew into suspicion, suspicion grew into demands for more proof, and unanswered demands turned into rage. This pattern of denial and attack would come to characterize some Americans’ response to almost every major event, from mass shootings to the coronavirus pandemic to the 2020 presidential election, in which President Trump’s false claims of a rigged result prompted the January 6, 2021, assault on a bastion of democracy, the U.S. Capitol.

The Sandy Hook families, led by the father of the youngest victim, refused to accept this. Sandy Hook is the story of their battle to preserve their loved ones’ legacies even in the face of threats to their own lives. Through exhaustive reporting, narrative storytelling, and intimate portraits, Sandy Hook is the definitive book on one of the most shocking cultural ruptures of the internet era.

©2022 Dutton (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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Extensively researched

This is a very long book and the author has done masses of research. It comes to life when talking about the bereaved parents and their story is obviously heartbreaking. A difficult listen in that hundreds of other people are referenced and it can be a little hard to keep up.

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Truth wins when energised by commitment, strategy, love, and expertise.

Utterly gross dirty lies are drip fed into millions of bored or gullible minds to generate millions of dollars. The primeval pain of those whose loved ones died is ignored. Profit comes before truth. It appears to be miserably hopeless.

But brave committed bereaved parents work steadily away to redeem the memory of their children, and to prove the truth is stronger than lies if we stay the course.

Thank you courageous parents, and all who supported them.

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A harrowing yet hopeful look at tragedy and the monsters that profit from twisting tales

A difficult, often anger inducing listen. Hearing what horrors the children and educators faced almost 11 years ago, the devastation placed upon their family and loved ones. While this book speaks largely of the heinous conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook, what this book is ultimately about is the triumph of truth over deceit, of love over hate and how there will always be hope in a sea of darkness as long as we keep going forward without losing what we have lost.

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Heartbreaking but absolutely vital

Read very well by Rebecca Lowman, this book is a deeply researched investigation into the shooting, and the grifters who hounded the families afterwards.

Not a comfortable read by any means, (indeed I wept multiple times while listening) but a very necessary one, to at least partially explain how the American collective psyche has reached the point where Jan 6th could happen.

A great skewering of Alex Jones and his ilk also. Brava Ms Williamson, brava.

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very interesting account

This is the account of Sandy Hook families against the conspiracy theorists thst said it didn't happen.

it's heartbreaking, interesting and ultimately a story for our times where fake news is rampant

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Good triumphs over Evil

A superb book detailing the fight of courageous parents against the deluded, deranged and profiteering conspiracy spreaders that use the 1st amendment as cover for hateful bullying. It's encouraging to see that some have been held to account and hopefully that is a strong enough warning enough to deter others

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Essential Reading

This is a very important book.
Very moving throughout but never mawkish. Great research and great writing.
There are vital lessons here for us all.

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Heartbreaking and Inspiring

Heartbreaking and inspiring account of the Sandy Hook tragedy and the subsequent despicable swell of online conspiracy trolling and its destructive effects. Beautifully written and performed. Excellent

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Essential Reading

The fact that this book exists is tragic. From the heartbreak of cold bloodied murder of children, and the abuse the families had to endure, to the hoaxers getting their comeuppance it's tragic but a wonderful journey

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Fascinating Story

I have to say I had no idea before listening to this that it went on for so long... I really do feel for those families, 10 years of it, bloody appalling !

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1 person found this helpful