Special Collections and Archives

Kent State Shootings: Selected Books

Special Collections and Archives

Kent State Shootings: Selected Books

May 4 Annotated Bibliography

Selected May 4 Books

Anderson, Maggie and Alex Gildzen, eds. A Gathering of Poets. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1992.

In 1990, poets from around the country were called to gather on May 3-4, 1990 in Kent, Ohio to commemorate May 4, 1970. Poets who were unable to attend the gathering sent in poems to be read. This book is an anthology of poems selected from those contributed to the gathering.

Bills, Scott., ed. Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade.. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1988.

Through a series of essays, this book provides town and gown reactions to May 4th. Not only do the selection of articles give insight into the events of May 4, 1970, but there is also a focus on the aftermath. Articles discuss the "Kent 25" as well as the Gym Controversy and legal proceedings. Authors include prominent Kent residents, students, and faculty, as well as a former university President, an ACLU lawyer, and other outside scholars. Includes annotated bibliography.

Casale, Ottavio M. and Louis Paskoff, eds. The Kent Affair: Documents and Interpretations. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.

A mixed collection of documents, including reprints of newspaper articles and excerpts from some of the "official reports." Interpretations or reactions include Letters to the Editor and letters sent to President White. With the exception of the preface, there is no interpretation on the part of the authors, rather, they let their collection of documents speak for itself.

Davies, Peter and The Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church. The Truth about Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1973.

Through detailed analysis, Davies et. al., argues that there might have been a conspiracy among the Guardsmen on Blanket Hill to shoot. Davies' well documented argument for a grand jury led in part to the Justice Department's decision to reopen the case. Includes photographic sequence of May 4, with accompanying analysis of the photograph and its context.

Eszterhas, Joe and Michael D. Roberts. Thirteen Seconds: Confrontation at Kent. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1970.

Authored by two Cleveland Plain Dealer reporters, the book describes the events of early May, 1970 and includes chapters about Allison, Jeff, Sandy, Bill, General Del Corso, and Governor Rhodes.

Gordon, William. 4 Dead in Ohio: Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State? Laguna Hills: North Ridge, 1995.This is a link to another web site

Note: This book was originally published under the title, The Fourth of May: Killings and Coverups at Kent State.

Gordon, a journalist and author who has investigated May 4, 1970 through research and over 200 interviews, sets out to answer the question in his subtitle "Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State?" He concludes that there was no conspiracy, but notes that "only the Guardsmen who were on Blanket Hill know what prompted them to open fire..."

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

This is the only book written by National Guardsmen. Although Grant and Hill were in Kent, they were not on Blanket Hill and did not see the shooting. Includes interviews. Defends Guard actions with the discredited Portage County Grand Jury Report.

Hensley, Thomas R. and Jerry M. Lewis, eds. Kent State and May 4th: A Social Science Perspective. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1978; 2000 (2nd ed.)

Primarily aimed at social scientists, with essays demonstrating the use of social science theories to understand the issues involved in May 4. Students and others interested in learning more about May 4 will also gain from reading this book. Includes an excellent historical narrative giving an overview the events of May 1-4 as well as essays on the legal aftermath and gym controversy.

Kelner, Joseph and James Munves. The Kent State Coverup. New York: Harper and Row, 1980.

Chief trial counsel for the plaintiffs in the 1975 litigation, Kelner describes in detail the legal battle and his part in it.

Michener, James. Kent State: What Happened and Why. New York: Random House, 1971.

Concludes that "[t]here is no acceptable proof of collusion on the part of officers or men to account for that sudden and dramatic turn of 135 degrees before firing, but it seems likely that some kind of rough verbal agreement had been reached among the troops when they clustered on the playing field." Probably the most recognized book on May 4, 1970, reactions to the book have varied. While most agree that the book gives a good sense of what was happening, two university professors did a study of the book, noting that many people were misquoted.

O'Neil, Robert M., Morris, John P., and Raymond Mack. No Heroes No Villains. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc., 1972.

Aimed at faculty and administrators, this book focuses on both Kent State and Jackson State as academic institutions and "concentrates upon the implications of the student deaths and subsequent events for the future of academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic governance."

Payne, J. Gregory. Mayday: Kent State. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1981.This is a link to another web site

Divided into three parts. The first section of the book, entitled "The Event," provides a chronology and historical context for May 4, 1970. Written in 1981, the book looks at the 10 year aftermath. "The People," looks at everyone from the families, victims, and guardsmen to photographers and artists. Finally the books ends with a section on "The Movie" (the NBC docudrama, Kent State) for which Payne served as a historical consultant.

Perlman, Sandra. Nightwalking: Voices from Kent State. Kent: Franklin Mills Press, 1995.

Sandra Perlman is the creator and director of the Oral History project at Kent State. The Oral History project allows people to record their memories of May 4, 1970 for posterity. Thoses voices were the influence for this play. As Perlman notes "[n]one of these stories is pure fact, though none is purely fiction."

Shriver, Phillip R. The Years of Youth: Kent State University, 1910-1960. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1960.

A history of Kent State University from its founding in 1910 to 1960. Provides historical context of the City of Kent and the University.

Sorvig, Kim. To Heal Kent State: a Memorial Meditation. Philadelphia: Worldview Press, 1990.

Sorvig is an environmental engineer who submitted an entry in the May 4 Memorial Competition. Although he wasn't a finalist, Sorvig wrote a book of his thoughts on the subject and in creating the memorial.

Stone, I.F. The Killings at Kent State; How Murder Went Unpunished. New York: Vintage Books, 1971.

The first three chapters are reprints of his newsletters (October, November, and December, 1970). The fourth chapter is the Justice Department's summary of the FBI report. Introduction by Ohio Senator Stephen Young. Appendices include reprints of the Akron Beacon Journal's Special Report, the Grand Jury Report, David Frost's interview with Mr. Agnew, and correspondence between J. Edgar Hoover and the Editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Taylor, Stuart, Shuntich, Richard, McGovern, Patrick, and Robert Genthner. Violence at Kent State May 1 to 4, 1970: The Students' Perspective. New York: College Notes and Texts Inc., 1971.

One of the few data rich studies done, Taylor and his graduate students sent out a survey on May 28, 1970 to obtain student "perceptions, feelings, attitudes, and reactions." With a sample size of 7,000, the survey provides data relatively unbiased by a large time lapse or other published opinions.

Thomas, Charles A. Blood of Isaac. [unpublished e-book]This is a link to another web site

Charles A. Thomas wrote a number of e-books (never published in print format) about the shootings at Kent State University based on his extensive research with FBI, Department of Justice, and other governmental files associated with the event.

Thomas, Charles A. KENFOUR. [unpublished e-book]This is a link to another web site

Charles A. Thomas wrote a number of e-books (never published in print format) about the shootings at Kent State University based on his extensive research with FBI, Department of Justice, and other governmental files associated with the event.

Thomas, Charles A. The Scales Overturned. [unpublished e-book]This is a link to another web site

Charles A. Thomas wrote a number of e-books (never published in print format) about the shootings at Kent State University based on his extensive research with FBI, Department of Justice, and other governmental files associated with the event.

Tompkins, Phillip K. and Elaine Vanden Bout Anderson. Communication Crisis at Kent State. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1977.

Examines claims that the events of May 4 were the result of a communication breakdown. Surveyed students, faculty, administrators, and staff. Concludes that "the disintegration of Kent State University during the crises of May, 1970" was the result of serious communication problems embodied in the communication structure of the university.