Kent May 4 Center

by Alan Canfora, Director
-- Kent May 4 Center --

Below I offer my expert opinion about the variety of recommended books available about the 1970 Kent State massacre tragedy.

(1) THE KENT STATE COVER-UP by Joseph Kelner & James Munves; Kelner, our victims' families' lawsuit trial attorney, wrote this excellent book based on sworn testimony under oath in Federal Court.


(2) THE TRUTH ABOUT KENT STATE by Peter Davies; An early book, Davies courageously exposes the cover-up of murder. Many important photos.


(3) THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON CAMPUS UNREST by US Government Printing Office; Many photos, based on official FBI investigation. Thorough Jackson State section, too. Also known as "The Scranton Commission" Report.


(4) MAYDAY by J. Gregory Payne of Emerson College; Good info about Kent, 1970, our four martyrs & NBC-TV's 1981 docudrama.


(5) THIRTEEN SECONDS by Joe Eszterhaus & Michael Roberts; A good, factual early book by a great Hollywood writer. Fine descriptions of lives/deaths of our Kent State 1970 martyrs.


(6) FIRE IN THE STREETS by Milton Viorst. A nice 1960s review, year by year, featuring eyewitness accounts. Final chapter features my Alan Canfora narrative about Kent, 1970.


(7) FROM CAMELOT TO KENT SATE by Robert Morrison; Features narrative of Kent wounded student Tom Grace. Tom Grace & I arrived at Kent State in 1968; we both joined the College Democrats in 1968 while we were dorm room-mates; we joined Kent SDS together in 1969; during 1969-70, we were room-mates off-campus; on May 4, 1970, at Kent State, we were both shot & wounded. We both lived to tell the story.


(8) KENT STATE: HOW MURDER WENT UNPUNISHED by I.F. Stone; a very good book by the late IF Stone--one of America's great patriotic muckrakers. Stone harshly criticizes the Ohio National Guard and the government for the cover-up of murder. Includes the summary of the conclusions of the US Justice Department's FBI investigation.


9) THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY, edited by Bill Warren. An early, quickly-published book of May 4, 1970, eyewitness observations by Kent State students. Good, passionate, first-hand 1970 commentaries.


10) THIS WE KNOW, by Carole Barbato and Laura Davis. KSU professors were 1970 KSU students and they offer the newest Kent 1970 book: a nice, brief summation of very complicated events. Offered now at new May 4 Visitors Center on the KSU campus.


11) KENT STATE (Cornerstones of Freedom), by Arlene Erlbach, a book for younger readers, a good, brief summation of misunderstood, complex 1970 events.


12) COMMUNICATION CRISIS AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY: A CASE STUDY, by Phillip Tompkins and Elaine Anderson, documents communication breakdown at the time of the 1970 student revolt and subsequent tragedy.


13) VIOLENCE AT KENT STATE, MAY 1-4, 1970: THE STUDENT'S PERSPECTIVE, by Stuart Taylor and others. Reveals factual data compiled by 7000 responses to a questionaire mailed to all KSU students after the tragedy.


14) THE KENT AFFAIR: DOCUMENTS AND INTERPRETATIONS, by Ottavio Casale and Louis Paskoff. A good variety of local and national news media accounts of the tragedy and aftermath.


15) KENT STATE/MAY 4: ECHOES THROUGH A DECADE, edited by Scott Bills. A variety of opinions written by a variety of people associated with kEnt state University and the city of Kent.


16) KENT STATE AND MAY 4TH: A SOCIAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE, by Thomas Hensley and Jerry Lewis. Two KSU professors offer their academic views as teachers of political science and sociology.


17) BLOOD OF ISAAC, by Charles Thomas. Former worker at National Archive offered much useful unpublished information available only at the KSU library web site online:

18) KENT STATE: WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY, by James MIchener. Noted fiction author wrote this very early yet still most popular book which has been criticized for some exaggerations, inaccuracies and fabrications. Useful for descriptions of students killed and other accurate depictions. Poor conclusions offered by the author.



NOTE: If you seek these RECOMMENDED BOOKS, you can sometimes borrow them for free from your local library or, if unavailable there, ask your librarian to borrow the books free from another library by "INTER-LIBRARY LOAN".



NOTE: You can order great, often cheap, new/used "Kent State 1970" books online fast at:   or