Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Four Dead in Ohio: Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State Paperback – March 1, 1995
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Revised for the 25th anniversary of the Kent State murders, Gordon's book probes for the answers behind the May 4, 1970, slaying of four students by National Guardsmen during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A compelling, highly readable analysis of the shooting, the cover-ups that followed, and the complex legal battles that surrounded the 1970 killings of four students by National Guardsmen at Kent State . . . Gordon systematically addresses the major unresolved questions of who did what and why in a manner that brings more clarity to this controversial historical tragedy than any other work to date . . . reads like a whodunit . . . As entertaining as the best detective fiction and as analytical and well documented as the best journalism or scholarship. -- Choice magazine
Balanced and thorough--and as close to the last word as anyone has come so far. -- Unsolved Mysteries of American History by Paul Aron
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Instead Gordon's book provides an excellent objective summary of what happened on May 4th, good detail about subsequent investigations and litigation, and a decent exploration of possible cover-ups with speculation as to motives.
There is not much to support a real conspiracy regarding the shooting itself, mostly just suspicion stemming from the efforts of local, state, and federal authorities to vindicate the guardsmen involved. Gordon's logical analysis of the situation, along with information released under the Freedom of Information Act, supports the idea that this was more a desire to cater to the conservative political base than to hide facts about a government conspiracy.
Gordon's most interesting points are not about the shootings or the subsequent investigations, but about the degree to which the action was condoned (and even applauded) by older Americans. His most memorable statement being that the killings were "the most popular murders ever committed in the United States".
Many years later Gordon examines the situation from a distanced perspective. The most likely scenario is that a handful of guardsmen and their NCO had agreed at some point during their time on campus to act on their frustrations if a good opportunity arose. After a bungled and especially embarrassing sweep across campus they found themselves bringing up the rear of the formation. When they reached the top of a hill they stopped, turned, and fired a volley into the parking lot 300-400 feet away. A payback scare for the students who had been "disrespecting" them during the 40 hours they had been on campus; or just a demonstration that they had live ammunition.
There had been rocks thrown and tear gas fired during this time, extreme for a crowd control situation but tame by civil disturbance standards. 200 miles east at Watkins Glen (NY) it is an annual tradition for bands of drunken motor racing fans to burn random cars. For years the Sheriff and his special posse have spent entire evenings tear gassing and battling these crowds without a single shot being fired. Of course few (if any) of the deputies had mega-hatred for the race fans; and unlike the KSU students even the most drunken spectator knew that the guns of the deputies were loaded.
While the shots were probably just intended to scare, there is also a possibility that those who hatched up this idea intended to shoot students and just wanted other shooters to cover their actions (no one is telling). It is also possible that some of the troops walking just ahead of this group and unaware of the plan were spooked by the first shots and turned and fired directly into the crowd hitting students.
There were 67 shots fired over a 13 second period, an extremely long time for this sort of situation. Although in photos the firing line looks organized, the targeted locations were extremely varied with enough cars and pavement hit to support the idea that the intent of many (but obviously not all) was to just scare the students. As Gordon points out (and the many photos illustrate) there is little logic to the notion that those who fired felt particularly threatened at the moment of the shooting, if anything they had reached a commanding position far safer than their previous location. In fact there was a detached company of guardsmen much closer to the targeted students (they were deployed a few yards from the students on the parking lot side of Taylor Hall) who looked on with amazement during the shooting.
Allison Krause (a teenage girl) was shot in the "back" three times from a range of 340 feet. Hard to spin that as self-defense. Does anything more need to be said about the amount of hate that was on the firing line that day?
I had several minor issues with the book. On page 32 Gordon reprints a Knight Newspaper drawing (made shortly after the shootings) of the area of campus where the shootings occurred, complete with arrows and labels tracing movement and location of the participants. This diagram is neither in scale nor properly oriented, and gives a confusing (warped and compressed) view of the scene. On page 54 is a chart made by the FBI of the same area. The FBI chart is to scale and properly oriented, and illustrates the significant distortions of the newspaper drawing. The only possible value of the newspaper drawing is that it may explain why some newspaper readers supported the actions of the guardsmen (the compressed scale makes its look like the students are just a few feet from the guardsmen), but Gordon does not explore this possibility. So why even include it?
Related to this are several references to the left flank of the firing line when Gordon apparently means the "right" - military unit alignments "should always" be be described from the unit's point of view (like a football formation). Finally, his description of the maneuvers on the football practice field appear to suffer from similar right-left confusion.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
One or two concerns with this book: The map on the inside cover has a differing location of the various victims than other books. In fact, photographs SHOW different figures laying or falling in different spots. (In fact, many of the books differ between themselves on where the four fell. I don't understand how and why this happened yet....)
I also enjoyed Davis' book alot, as it has SO MANY photos.. I find I flip back and forth to Davis' book to cross check things.
As with other books that were published earlier, the Kent State story continues to unfold... see other reviewers for further developments that have happened since publication. Perhaps another edition with updates and corrections is in order:
**This book is criticized by some "who were there," as it does not promote their agenda. (But then everyone has attempted to spin May Fourth to their advantage.) If there are factual errors, I did not spot them on the first reading. I enjoyed this book, despite the criticism. But, perhaps the best view is gained by reading MANY authors and MANY points of view. That's why I continue to seek them out...and to question their points of view with people who were on campus then. Inquire, reflect, learn.
I know I did. And I'm still searching out others....
Most recent customer reviews
An updated e-book version with a new preface and a new appendix was released in 2015 .Read more