From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter (Hardcover)
We, as a nation, have become desensitized to the shock and pain in the wake of mass shootings. In the bottomless silence between gunshots, as political stalemate ensures inaction, the killing continues; the dying continues. From a Taller Tower attends to the silence that has left us empty in the aftermath of these atrocities. Veteran journalist Seamus McGraw chronicles the rise of the mass shooter to dismantle the myths we have constructed around the murderers and ourselves.
In 1966, America’s first mass shooter, from atop the University of Texas tower, unleashed a new reality: the fear that any of us may be targeted by a killer, and the complicity we bear in granting these murderers the fame or infamy they crave. Addressing individual cases in the epidemic that began in Austin, From a Taller Tower bluntly confronts our obsession with the shooters—and explores the isolation, narcissism, and sense of victimhood that fan their obsessions. Drawing on the experiences of survivors and first responders as well as the knowledge of mental health experts, McGraw challenges the notion of the “good guy with a gun,” the idolization of guns (including his own), and the reliability of traumatized memory. Yet in this terrible history, McGraw reminds us of the humanity that can stop the killing and the dying.
About the Author
Seamus McGraw is a journalist and frequent contributor to the New York Times op-ed page, as well as to the Huffington Post, Playboy, Popular Mechanics, and Fox Latino. He is the author of The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone, Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change, and A Thirsty Land: The Fight for Water in Texas.
From a Taller Tower traces the history of the American mass shooter — at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland — without giving in to the notoriety that so many of them seek. With few exceptions, the murderers are never named. Instead, the book examines the beliefs many Americans hold onto about guns, mass shootings and mental illness, and confronts the circumstances that allow these catastrophes to continue.
A memorable, necessary contribution to the national conversation on gun violence.
— Kirkus, Starred Review
It is a terrible testament to the frequency of [mass shootings] over the last couple of decades that for those of us not directly affected, some of them tend to blur. From a Taller Tower offers a clearheaded and thoughtful analysis of these crimes, and our culture.
— The American Conservative
A deeply reported examination of the many mass shootings in the United States...The book attempts to unpack our responses to these crimes and explain what’s missing from our understanding of these events, while also revealing more about who is behind these atrocities.
— She Reads
[From a Taller Tower] traces the history of the American mass shooter and the troubling ways we make sense of senseless violence...There’s a tragic timeliness to McGraw’s book.
— Inside Hook
[From a Taller Tower] details how our culture of rage, victimhood, narcissism and love of guns has created an onslaught of violence that’s almost impossible to keep up with…[a] powerful new book.
— MEL Magazine