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For those of you who want to go beyond what you can learn about May 4, 1970 from this site or, for that matter, from history text books or encyclopedias, we offer to you the sources we have used over the years as well as those we have found from searching the web.The first section contains information on those books Kendra and I have in our collection as well as other recommended titles. We offer information on each, either a short review and/or a little of what the book is about as well as where you might obtain copies. Almost all of the book reviews come from a master thesis by a former Library Science student at KSU, James R. Brand. His Thesis was published in May of 1985 and is entitled May 4, 1970: A Critical Annotated Bibliography. Those entries of his we have used can be identified by (JRB) after the book author/title/publisher header. At the end of this page we offer links to where you might obtain these books and links to other on-line resources.

The books are indexed below for easy access. Just click on the titles to go to the detailed information.


Communication Crisis at Kent State: A Case Study
A Gathering of Poets- New!
I Was There:What Really Went On at Kent State
The Kent Affair:Documents and Interpretations
The Kent State Cover-up

Kent and Jackson State-1970-1990   New!
Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade
Lynch Street, The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College
The Killings at Kent State: How Murder Went Unpunished
Mayday: Kent State
Nightwalking  New!
The Middle of the Country: The Events of May 4th
as Seen by Students and Faculty at Kent State University

No Heroes, No Villains
The Orangeburg Massacre
President's Commission on Campus Unrest
The Scranton Commission
Reporting the Kent State Incident
Thirteen Seconds:Confrontation at Kent State
The Truth About Kent State:A Challenge to the American Conscience

Violence at Kent State, May 1 to 4, 1970: The Students' Perspective

on-line resources

May 4 Commemoration Photo Archives | Alpahbatized Site Index | Research Guide | May 4 Books and Resources |
May 4 Chronology  | Jackson State | Parking Lot Memorials | May 4 Memorial | Tent City and The Gym Struggle |
May 4 Task Force | William Kunstler | Arthur Krause | Links PageMay 4 Buttons | Your Story | May 4 Forum |
May 4, 1998 | May 4, 1999 | May 4, 2000  | May 4, 2001 | Chat Room | Home | 

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Esterhas, Joe and Roberts, Michael D. Thirteen Seconds:Confrontation at Kent State. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1970. (JRB)
Unique Features:
  • First "story" treatment of May 4 events and personalities (inspired Michener?).
  • Photos not seen elsewhere.
  • Very readable.
  • Minute facts and details allow the reader to experience a "you are there" feeling.
  • Factual errors, misquotes, etc.
  • Needs more photos, more of a photo sequence for May 4.
  • Too many one-sentence paragraphs.
  • Borrows from Knight Newspapers' special report published in Akron Beacon Journal.


TheKentAffair.JPG (13903 bytes) Casale, Ottavio M., and Paskoff, louis, eds. The Kent Affair: Documents and Interpretation. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1971 (JRB)
Unique Features :
  • The only gathering of news reports, editorial cartoons, editorials, letters and official reports in one book.
  • Written by Kent State faculty members.
  • Gives the reader a sense of immediacy, via materials which indicate the level of feeling present after the shootings.
  • Perusal of the materials is a fascinating way not only to learn about May 4 , but to see how it was covered in the media.
  • Many media sources are covered in one book, saving the reader time and energy on research.
  • Most of the photos are seen in other books.
  • Some of the excerpts of letters and articles are too abbreviated.
  • No index.


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Davies, Peter. The Truth About Kent State:A Challenge to the American Conscience. New York:  Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1973. (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • Presents  not only what happened, but alternatives--what authorities could have done differently to avoid the killings.
  • Written to argue the need for a Federal Grand Jury investigation (which later occurred).
  • Most extensive photo sequence on May 4 since the Scranton Report
  • Each Photo is analyzed, showing what is happening as will as its significance in the context of the events.
  • Factual information is limited to what was known in 1973, before the Federal Grand Jury investigation or 1975 civil trial.
  • Thorough photo sequence was good, there were many more photos available for use.
  • Davies contends that May 4 rally was solely an anti-Guard protest: however many students were there to protest the Cambodian invasion and the war.


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Grant, Edward, and Hill, Michael. I Was There:What Really Went On at Kent State. Lima, Ohio: C.S.S. Publishing Co., 1974 (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • Only book on May 4 written by guardsman.
  • Gives some background information on the National Guard, and their perspective on civil disorders.
  • Informative interviews with Professor Glenn Frank and photographer Douglas Moore.
  • Some unique Photos.
  • Parts are written in an over dramatic style which distorts the events.
  • Factual and typographical errors; a poor map of the site.
  • Reprints the discredited Portage County Grand Jury Report to support their case
  • Claims to represent both students and guardsmen, but clearly is a defense of guard's actions.


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Bills, Scott. Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1982. (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • Interviews and essays by people intimately involved with May 4 over the years.
  • Excellent descriptive annotated bibliography section.
  • Thorough recapping of 1970-1982 events in the introduction.
  • Attempts to provide all political and ideological viewpoints in the articles.
  • Photos and documents not in other books.
  • Interviews feature good questions and enlightening answers.
  • Few photos of May 1-4, 1970.
  • Except for the introduction, this is a book of personal, rather than factual, accounts.
  • Some may feel there should be more articles by people other than Kent students, faculty, and townspeople.


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Kelner, Joseph, and Munves, James. The Kent State Cover-up. New York:Harper and Row, 1980. (AKA Cover-up at Kent State). (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • Detailed narrative of the testimonies at the 1975 civil trials, by one of the lawyers for the families of the dead and wounded students.
  • First person accounts of May 4 by participants an all sides.
  • Very readable; an insider's point of view of the trial and the reactions of those involved.
  • Written directly from the trial transcripts; useful as a time-saving alternative to researching the originals.
  • Gives personal backgrounds on all the students who were shot.
  • This is not a really totally "objective" account; Kelner is somewhat biased and fairly emotional in his descriptions and accounts of the trial.
  • Photos had been published elsewhere; new photos from the trial evidence could have been used.
  • Coverage of the 1979 settlement is too short and critical. despite the fact that his former clients, the shooting victims and their families, agreed to it.


Mayday.JPG (8146 bytes) Payne, J. Gregory. Mayday: Kent State. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1981 (JRB)
Unique Features :
  • Describes the making of the NBC-TV movie, Kent State, from the point of view of Payne, the historical consultant.
  • Includes photos from the movie, thoughts of the actors, and various anecdotes.
  • "The People" section features statements, letters, interviews and photos from the families and wounded students - very effective in  personalizing the experience for the reader
  • Other photos, telegrams and letters not seen elsewhere.
  • Most of the May 4 photos are from other books; MAYDAY   is written on and around the photos, for some reason.
  • The chronology of 1970-1980 events rehashes what is in other books; Payne could have used this space to expand other chapters.
  • Included in the Appendix are an incomplete version of Governor Rhodes's May 3 speech and the discredited Portage County Grand Jury Report.


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Stone, I.F. The Killings at Kent State: How Murder Went Unpunished. New York: A New York Review Book, 1971. (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • First publication  of the Justice Department's secret summary of FBI findings on Kent State.
  • Includes, for comparison, excerpts from the Knight Newspapers Report and the Portage Grand Jury Report.
  • Stone's essays are very blunt and perceptive.
  • No photos.
  • Stone may be seen as to "liberal" by some.


Erenrich, Susie, ed. Kent and Jackson State: 1970-1990, Vietnam Generation, 1990

Susie Erenrich is a long time May 4th family activist. This book was a labor of love for her and is but one of the many projects she has overseen in the past 20 years. Below is her preface from the book.

  On May 4, 1990, I will return to Ohio to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Kent and Jackson State shootings. I will be joined by friends and family, many of them contributors to this special edition of Vietnam Generation, to honor the memory of the six students who were slain.
           For some, the legacy of Kent and Jackson State is just a forgettable incident; but to those most touched by the event, it has been the embodiment of their pain and anguish.
           Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, William Schroeder, Philip Gibbs, and James Green made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. The spirits of these people are very much alive. By looking through the terrible darkness of their deaths, we can see the love that still binds them to the living.
            Kent and Jackson State: 1970-1990 is a collection of essays, songs, photographs, and testimonials written by the people who have lost the most, and have said the least; the mothers and fathers, the wounded students, friends of the deceased, the eye-witnesses, and those who care.
             I invite the readers to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Kent and Jackson State shootings with me. For we can never deal honestly with the future if we fail to acknowledge the past.

Click Here for an order form to this Out of Print, Collectors Publication of Kent and Jackson State: 1970-1990!

Click HERE for a list of contributors.


Perlman, Sandra, Nightwalking, 1995, Kent, Ohio

Sandra Perlman is an award-winning member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights' Unit. She
has premiered more than a dozen plays in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland. Sandra
is the recipient of two Ohio Arts Council fellowships in playwriting.

What happens when twenty-five years after an event people come together to recall it? What happens when what they recall suddenly comes alive for them ? What happens when that event is the shooting of students on a Midwest college campus during the protests of the Viet Nam war?

NIGHTWALKING is an exploration of the memories surrounding one day in May of 1970 when four students were shot to death on a college campus. It is a dramatic chorus of testimonies and the trip back in time for one of the witnesses to his own family. Often non-linear, dream-like with a chorale quality, NIGHTWALKING brings us the reality of those days as the civil war gripped the country, and the truth that can still never be fully understood of the tragedy that stopped a campus and a nation.

Click HERE to go to Sandra Perlman's web site to find out more about Nightwalking
and Ms. Perlman's other woks



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Craig, Raymond A., A Gathering of Poets, Kent, Ohio, Kent State University Press. 1992

From the Back Cover:

At Kent State University on May 3-6, 1990, more than 300 poets from around the nation came together to remember the four students slain and nine wounded by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970, and the two students shot 10 days later at Jackson State College in Mississippi. Representing a wide range of aesthetic and political perspectives, the poets assembled to reflect on the tragedies and contribute to the healing process, an ancient function of poetry. Many had been involved in organizing readings against the Vietnam War and felt the events of May, 1970 signified a turning point in that war and in their own lives.


Warren, Bill, ed. The Middle of the Country: The Events of May 4th as Seen by Students and Faculty at Kent State University, New York: Avon, 1970 (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • First book published on May 4.
  • Features reactions to May 4 by students and faculty: honest, emotional, first-hand accounts right after the shootings.
  • Photos not seen in other May 4 books.
  • Includes a  New York Times interview with eleven KSU students on their reactions to the shootings one week after the event.
  • Sloppy, with topographical and factual errors.
  • No later editions were published to correct these errors.

United States. President's Commission on Campus Unrest. The Report of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970. (AKA The Scranton Commission Report) (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • Extensive photos on May 1-4, including a sequence on May 4 not seen elsewhere (except in Peter Davies' book later)'
  • Background on student protests and the black movement.
  • First comprehensive investigation on Kent State and Jackson State.
  • Basis of factual knowledge for other reports and books.
  • Good bibliography of books (sources for The Report and literature on campus unrest).
  • Section on Jackson State is only one-third as long as the Kent State section.
  • Jackson State section has few photos.
  • Location of dead and wounded at Kent State is wrong (Map, p. 410).


Tompkins, Phillip K., and Anderson, Elaine Vanden Bout. Communication Crisis at Kent State: A Case Study. New York: Gorden and Breach, 1971. (JRB)

Unique Features :
  • An attempt to understand May 4 from a communications standpoint, utilizing results from questionnaires and interviews with administrators, faculty and students of Kent State.
  • Written by former Kent State faculty members.
  • Candid comments by anonymous faculty and students; viewpoints not in other May 4 books.
  • "Inside view" of Kent State policies and communications channels at the time.
  • Good photos (by John Filo) in the appendix.
  • Sections describing May 1-4 are sketchy and sometimes inaccurate.
  • "Conclusions" chapter was short and sketchy; for some reason, recommendations resulting from the study were tucked away in the appendix.
  • Photos of May 4 all in an appendix, with no descriptive matter. Photos were mostly seen in other books.


Taylor, Stuart, et al. Violence at Kent State, may 1 to 4, 1970: The Students' Perspective. New York: College Notes and Texts, 1971. (JRB)
Unique Features :
  • A questionnaire method of obtaining the ideas and opinions of 7000 Kent State students.
  • Written by Kent State faculty and students.
  • There are sections for each day, along with student opinions on what happened and who was responsible. Included are sections on the causes of student unrest and the prevention of violence.
  • Presentation of the data is simple; no confusing statistical analyses.
  • All 200 questions asked of the students are included in the Appendix.
  • Includes photos not in other books.
  • Information on what happened each day is sketchy.
  • Photos are either not identified, or miscaptioned. Some of the captions are hard to read. Photos are not in chronological order.
  • Includes only the Portage County Grand Jury Report; other investigations,   such as the Knight Newspapers Report or the Scranton Commission Report should have been available for citation by the time this book was written.
  • No index.


Knight Newspapers, Inc. Reporting the Kent State Incident. New York: American Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, 1971. (JRB)
Unique Features :
  • An account of how  the Knight Newspapers, Inc. special report  was written.
  • Graphic detail of the efforts made by each reporter to investigate May 4.
  • Final essay, "The Need for Understanding", is an excellent summary of journalists' dilemmas in covering stories like this.
  • Does not give detailed facts about May 4 in the text (but does reproduce the 30,000 word special report.


O'Neil, Robert M.; Morris, John P.; and Mack, Raymond. No Heroes, No Villains. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1972. (JRB)
Unique Features :
  • A comparison of events at Kent State and Jackson State, with emphasis on their effects on the academic structures at those schools, and the implications for all of higher education.
  • Prepared by a special committee of the American Association of University Professors.
  • Compares the settings, antecedents of protests, events, and aftermaths, of Kent and Jackson State.
  • Features Jackson State documents, such as the Hinds County Grand Jury Report and a statement from the mayor of Jackson, not seen elsewhere.
  • Deals with implications for university governance, academic freedom, campus-community relations, freedom of expression, and the role of campus police, in light of Kent and Jackson State.
  • Chronology of events is sketchy; this is not a primary source for information on what happened at Kent or Jackson State.
  • No photos.
  • Kent State is dealt with in greater detail than Jackson State.
  • Some of the issues raised are dated.
  • Title of book is indicative of the authors' refusal to attach responsibility for the events.


LynchStreet.JPG (10654 bytes) Spofford, Tim. Lynch Street, The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College. The Kent State University Press: Kent, Ohio 1988

The only book I know of on the Jackson State slayings. Very adequately goes through the racial tension permeating this small all black southern college at a time of intense civil rights and anti-war activity. Very detailed in its description of the events of May 1970. Few photos, though.


TheOrangeburgMassacre.JPG (11215 bytes) Nelson, Jack and Bass, Jack. The Orangeburg Massacre. Ballatine Books: New York, 1970

From the front cover: " A profoundly disturbing documentary of the slaying of three black students on the South Carolina campus which was covered up by the FBI and by state officials, and which is uncanny in its similarity to the shootings at Kent State two years later."

where to get these books

Most of the above books are out of print. However there is an on-line service that lists used copies available at numerous bookstores. Two books (Lynch Street and Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade) above can be obtained from Kent State's University Press. I suggest linking to ABE first if you are cost conscious. I have supplied some links below.

Kent State University Press
Advanced Book Exchange (ABE)
Barnes and Noble

on-line resources

Link here to visit our Links Page for on-line May 4, 1970 information. First hand knowledge can be had form Alan Canfora's site. Kent State University's Special Collections section or the University library's Archives is a great place to visit if you ore in the Kent area. They can be linked to from the Links Page.

If any visitor to this site knows of any other sources of May 4, 1970 information or information on Jackson State or Orangeburg or other student shootings of the anti-war era please let us know and we will include links to them on this page. If there are individuals who want to offer the results of their research to the public or eyewitnesses to any of these tragedies who want to share their experiences please get in touch with us.


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