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Kent State more than 50 years later

Cover of Kent State
A review of Kent State by Deborah Wiles

To this day there is argument about what happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970. What's certain is that tensions were high. America was at war in Vietnam, the nation was divided in their support of President Nixon, young men were living in fear of the draft, and students were protesting the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces. Many students at Kent State thought the bombing escalated a war that the United States was supposedly withdrawing from and were peacefully protesting on Friday, May 1 on the Commons, a large grassy area in the middle of campus.

Students socialized at bars in downtown Kent on Friday night and things went from bad to worse. The police were involved, the Mayor of Kent declared a state of emergency, and eventually the National Guard was brought in. After a week-end of beautiful spring weather, the Kent State Campus was ravaged with military vehicles, tear gas, and four college students were dead. 

Award-winning author Deborah Wiles provides a meticulously researched examination of what occurred from multiple viewpoints while urging the reader to learn from the past.The events leading up to and after the killings are relayed from the fictional perspectives of a protestor, a National Guardsman, local townspeople, and a student in dialogue with each other. Wiles represents the varied emotions and mindsets of this tumultuous and tragic time with care and consideration and provides scrupulous notes about the Kent State Collection at Yale and the Kent State May 4 Visitors Center.

Nov 17, 2021