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An exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War. May 4, 1970. Kent State University. As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened an An exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War. May 4, 1970. Kent State University. As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why. Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points -- protestor, Guardsman, townie, student.


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An exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War. May 4, 1970. Kent State University. As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened an An exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War. May 4, 1970. Kent State University. As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why. Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points -- protestor, Guardsman, townie, student.

30 review for Kent State

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Ohio, sung live in 1971 by Neil Young, solo acoustic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdVMG... Survivors from Kent State speak, 50 years later, in May, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I26iW... On May 4, 1970 (just about fifty years ago today!!! omg!!) I was a 17-year-old junior in a parochial (Christian, Dutch Reformed) high school. A young man raised in a conservative Dutch church, I was radicalized by my growing opposition to the Viet Nam War and had by then already traveled a couple times f Ohio, sung live in 1971 by Neil Young, solo acoustic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdVMG... Survivors from Kent State speak, 50 years later, in May, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I26iW... On May 4, 1970 (just about fifty years ago today!!! omg!!) I was a 17-year-old junior in a parochial (Christian, Dutch Reformed) high school. A young man raised in a conservative Dutch church, I was radicalized by my growing opposition to the Viet Nam War and had by then already traveled a couple times from Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor to attend meetings of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and even one meeting of the Black Panthers. I had helped organize sit-ins and walk-outs over the war and the riots/killings of the Kennedys and MLK, but I have to say I still joined with hundreds of thousands of (especially young) Americans in being shocked and outraged at the speech by Richard Nixon admitting that for some time he had secretly and illegally authorized the bombing of Cambodia (what he called an “incursion” instead of an “invasion”). The majority of the country (and most of the world) were by 1970 against the war, which had been “justified” by the lies of JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Robert McNamara (see The Pentagon Papers) and others who had known the loss of 58,000 American BOYS--including my cousin Berg--and millions of dollars used to destroy Vietnam with its bombs in order to beat them into submission would not lead to victory or even be justified in any sense. (Vietnam in 1995 released its official estimate of war dead: as many as 2 million civilians on both sides, including some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war). So, in a small midwestern and very much politically middle-American town of Kent, Ohio, wherein lies Kent State University (hardly a bastion of radicalism), students angrily and peacefully protested this movement in the war that would most affect them and not their elders. At this point in the war (that lasted twenty eight years, give or take a year), if you did poorly in school at the time you--if you were male--could be drafted to die in a war no one by this time saw was in any sense patriotic to serve. So things got a bit out of hand, as Wiles shows in her book that tries to be fair to all perspectives in what she nevertheless correctly identifies as the “murders” of four young people (children, really, as were our soldiers in Nam) and the injuring (including one permanently paralyzed) of nine others within thirteen minutes and with 67 shots by the Ohio National Guard. 13 other young students were killed by police and National Guard units in the coming weeks of May 1970 all around the country. Many, many more were shot and shot at. People were enraged at the killings and some of us still are! What I like in the book is that the killed students are briefly brought to life. We get to know about them and their largely tame, non-violent and scholarly backgrounds. One was late to Speech class. None of them were ever established as "radicals." Polls showed that a majority of Americans felt the shootings were justified at the time. Kent residents had heard that “outside agitators” had infiltrated and radicalized the campus, but students were also enraged to have the National Guard suddenly occupy their campus. Some folks had set the (old, to be demolished, but still property, I admit it!) KSU ROTC building on fire, and at one point several windows were broken. But let me tell you: The murders of those children were abominable and in no way justified, even though a letter to the editor of the local paper said he wished many more students had been killed and some people living there still feel this way. They were unarmed and engaging in largely peaceful civil disobedience, their right as Americans. The university President was AWOL, the mayor of the town was new and over-reacted, and the National Guard command was underprepared and stupid to give the “lock and load” order to shoot unarmed students (though some of them were throwing sticks and stones at the soldiers to try and chase them off campus). I did not particularly like the short production I heard on audiotape of this book. I didn't like the set-up of the older couple fighting over details of the times throughout. It is not a great book and too short but is targeted to middle grades kids who need to know about student activism, and it is fueled by great passion and a desire to hear all sides of the story, which I appreciate, so I was for those reasons tempted to give this four stars, but hey, by three stars I mean I liked it, it was good, over all. I loved her great and personal appendix narrative where I got more resources to look into. If you are interested, go yourself to the Kent State University special collections; everything is there. And much of it is digitized. One short book I ordered that she says was invaluable: This We Know: A Chronology of the Shootings at Kent State, May 1970, Carole Barbato and Laura Davis Here’s some more music she cites from the period: Marvin Gaye got letters from Nam from his brother and heard things that disturbed him about it all, and wrote this wonderful song, “What’s Goin’ On”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-kA3... “War” by Edwin Starr: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQHUA... Country Joe and “The Fish “Fixin’ to Die Rag”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dATyZ...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rama

    Dissent & Death In this book, the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard is narrated in a poetical form. This shooting during an antiwar demonstration resulted in the killing four students and wounding nine others. This historical event shook the conscious of people around the globe. The author uses her poetical skills to describe the history as a series of images, feelings, sounds, and experiences. Adopting a lyrical style helps the reader enter this moving and powerful g Dissent & Death In this book, the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard is narrated in a poetical form. This shooting during an antiwar demonstration resulted in the killing four students and wounding nine others. This historical event shook the conscious of people around the globe. The author uses her poetical skills to describe the history as a series of images, feelings, sounds, and experiences. Adopting a lyrical style helps the reader enter this moving and powerful genre and puts into a different focus on a story that has been widely published. Author Deborah Wiles is known to write on children, community, historical events and social justice in her literary work. Recreating a story as powerful as John Filo's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller is certainly challenging. This is powerfully illustrated by narratives that is well researched. This experience moves your heart to tears for lives cut short, lives damaged, and the nation forever scarred. The author hopes that her work will articulate the devastating moment in the history, understand the landscape of the events that led to the tragedy. Several singers and song-writers narrated the shootings, one notable song was written by Neil Young, and sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Music and artistic presentations narrate a story more powerfully than written prose. This compact sized book of 132 pages makes an interesting read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Powerful, well-researched, and brilliantly written.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss This is a well-researched and interestingly written novel. I was looking forward to it because I was living in Kent on May 4, 1970 and have thought this topic was ripe for middle grade coverage. Sadly, this is more of a high school book. There are a few f-bombs, but it is the format that is really stopping me from buying it. It's told in short snippets from various view points, rather like a Greek chorus. Many view points are represented this way, and there are excelle E ARC provided by Edelweiss This is a well-researched and interestingly written novel. I was looking forward to it because I was living in Kent on May 4, 1970 and have thought this topic was ripe for middle grade coverage. Sadly, this is more of a high school book. There are a few f-bombs, but it is the format that is really stopping me from buying it. It's told in short snippets from various view points, rather like a Greek chorus. Many view points are represented this way, and there are excellent notes at the beginning, but my students, who really know nothing about the event, will most likely struggle with understanding what is going on. Not all, of course, but it's gotten to the point where a lot of my students struggle with Matt Christopher. This would be a stretch. I would definitely buy this for a high school library, and have recommended it to our three high school librarians. In the current climate of political activism, it is an important book. If you have a middle school library, however, I would take a look at it. Wiles has done a lot of middle grade books, but don't purchase this one without investigating whether or not it is a good fit for your students.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    There are a lot of voices in this slim verse novel, and though the purpose of them is to exploit the chaos around the Kent State massacre, as a reader I found it extremely hard to tell who was who until deep into the final section. I think it effectively highlights the power of protest and youth protest in particular, but it never *quite* worked for me. It felt a little too superficial, especially as the author's note probably had as many words as the text itself. I wanted more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl A

    In this slim but powerful volume, author Deborah Wiles has issued an invitation to us all to not only remember the events at Kent State, but to have a dialogue on power, perception and protest. Told in free verse in multiple voices (students, activists, townspeople, guardsmen), the author presents the collective thoughts, feelings and attitudes of those who were involved in the events on the campus of Kent State at the height of the Vietnam War. The confusion, the anxiety, the anger, the sadness In this slim but powerful volume, author Deborah Wiles has issued an invitation to us all to not only remember the events at Kent State, but to have a dialogue on power, perception and protest. Told in free verse in multiple voices (students, activists, townspeople, guardsmen), the author presents the collective thoughts, feelings and attitudes of those who were involved in the events on the campus of Kent State at the height of the Vietnam War. The confusion, the anxiety, the anger, the sadness of those involved is captured in the fictional "characters" narrating the volume. Although slightly confusing at the beginning, as the dialogue continues, we hear the emotions and concerns that drive each of the viewpoints of the different groups involved in this horrific event that still shapes our collective memories. For young readers whose collective memories are shaped by Parkland, Pulse, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Dakota Pipeline Access, Global Climate Strike and so many more events, this reflection on the past will give them a deeper understanding of and reinforce the commitment of what they are fighting to change. Highly recommended for all readers, regardless of age or viewpoint. Thank you to Edelweiss for the advance E copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands. It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work t This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands. It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work together and make changes. We can only hope this book will help this generation to do the same. This history of youth activism is one we definitely want to be repeated.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Tegtmeier

    I feel like this is such an important book, especially now with the Black Lives Matter protests going on across the country. We are barely taught about the Kent State tragedy in school, and I think this book gave me a much better view as to what happened. I am interested to see what the physical book looks like because this audiobook was so immersive and interesting; it reminded me of a play, and that's what I pictured when it played. Overall, I think everyone should read this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ms. B

    3.5 stars, a well written novel in verse chronicling the days leading up to the Kent State shootings in May 1970. Even though tbe story is short, younger readers readers without background knowledge of the events will find it challenging. The story is told from multiple voices (points of views) and there are no breaks between voices (it's only four chapters and less than 150 pages, one for each day) which can make it hard to follow. Bottom line - those who lived through the events are the ones w 3.5 stars, a well written novel in verse chronicling the days leading up to the Kent State shootings in May 1970. Even though tbe story is short, younger readers readers without background knowledge of the events will find it challenging. The story is told from multiple voices (points of views) and there are no breaks between voices (it's only four chapters and less than 150 pages, one for each day) which can make it hard to follow. Bottom line - those who lived through the events are the ones who will most love and appreciate this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I loved the concept— all of the voices tumbling over each other. But I found the strength to also be the weakness: all those tumbling voices accurately reflect the chaos of those few days in May, 1970, but make the whole narrative difficult to navigate, especially for teens who have limited background knowledge.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This is a story in verse with multiple viewpoints contributing to the conversation. It will be well worth revisiting in audio and could win some awards if the end product is as good as this title deserves. The cover is specatular, btw. In just a few weeks we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of this polarizing event. I was in preschool when it occurred and I can remember hearing the song "Ohio" by CSNY on the radio: "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I he This is a story in verse with multiple viewpoints contributing to the conversation. It will be well worth revisiting in audio and could win some awards if the end product is as good as this title deserves. The cover is specatular, btw. In just a few weeks we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of this polarizing event. I was in preschool when it occurred and I can remember hearing the song "Ohio" by CSNY on the radio: "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming, Four dead in Ohio" In her author notes, Deborah Wiles quotes Jeffrey Andrew Barash from his book "Collective Memory and the Historical Past":". . .we honor great tragedies by never forgetting, that our social cohesion as a human society depends on our storytelling. It depends on our remembering, passing on what we remember, saving it, and honoring it." Thank you to Deborah Wiles for bringing this story to our attention and sharing it with a new generation. Thank you to Scholastic, Inc. and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. I am honored to have gotten an early look at this new release.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma Refvem

    This was a very quick book that I read in an afternoon. It felt like reading twitter, which was interesting and modernized the way I took in this information about an event from the past that I was unfamiliar with, however right now I would appreciate a break from Twitter... But it was very well told and I think gracious in bringing in many voices to explain this moment in history that is unfortunately repeating itself in different ways over and over again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krista Dolan

    Short, but POWERFUL! This narrative in verse is told in the form of a conversation between multiple unidentified perspectives. I wasn't sure if I would like that or be distracted by the different fonts used for each "character" but the voices are strong and it was not an issue at all. This makes me want to read more about Kent State especially with current events in mind.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ireadrosies

    Intense, full-cast audio drama with music and sound effects. Stellar audiobook production. Although it’s a quick listen, less than 2 hours long, this is a listening experience I will never forget. Probably better for high school audiences than middle school; I’d suggest grades 8+.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth Honeycutt

    Thoroughly appreciated everything about this book - the multiple perspectives, the historical information, the invitation for the reader to be a part of the bigger societal issues.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Robek

    Informative and brilliantly told from multiple view points in conversation. Now I want to attend the year vigil and museum.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Short but important read! I loved hearing the multiple perspectives; we all need to be listening to each other right now. Good research background info in the author's note.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexa L

    WOW! I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know as much as I thought about the Kent State shootings and this really opened my eyes. The audiobook was one of the best I've ever listened to with a full cast, I can definitely see this being an Odyssey award winner! Really short and I highly recommend!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    “Who lives who dies who tells your story.” Lin Manuel Miranda A powerful reflection on the tragedy at Kent State University in May 1970 - told in voices from those who participated and witnessed it. Would make a dramatic stage production.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I cannot recommend this book enough — to everyone. It’s incredibly powerful and moving. I adore its unexpected, almost play-like structure. I’d actually love this to be a stage play. Please, please read this book and share it with everyone you know!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: KENT STATE by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic Press, April 2020, 144p., ISBN: 978-1-338-35628-1 “What if you knew her And found her dead on the ground How can you run when you know?” Neil Young, “Ohio” (1970) [Mike] “B.D. This is crazy. Why on earth do you want to go to Vietnam?” [B.D] “I’m glad you asked. I made a list of the reasons why.” [B.D.] “‘I am going to Vietnam a) for Mom, b) for apple pie, and c) so that my roommate Mike can grow up strong and happy in a great land free of Communis Richie’s Picks: KENT STATE by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic Press, April 2020, 144p., ISBN: 978-1-338-35628-1 “What if you knew her And found her dead on the ground How can you run when you know?” Neil Young, “Ohio” (1970) [Mike] “B.D. This is crazy. Why on earth do you want to go to Vietnam?” [B.D] “I’m glad you asked. I made a list of the reasons why.” [B.D.] “‘I am going to Vietnam a) for Mom, b) for apple pie, and c) so that my roommate Mike can grow up strong and happy in a great land free of Communism and tyranny.’” -- Doonesbury (2/1/72) “YOU ARE ALL NOTHING BUT COMMIE HIPPIE PINKOS! YOUR PARENTS WERE ASHAMED OF YOU! They were not! We were patriots! We had the right to assemble. The right to protest. Our parents taught us this. They were auto workers, meat cutters, pipe fitters, truck drivers, teachers, nurses, stay-at-home moms. They taught us to love our country, too. YOU NEVER SHOWED ANYTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR OUR COUNTRY! YOU HATE OUR COUNTRY! Our country hated us.” Four dead in Ohio. For me, the Kent State killings took place near the end of ninth grade. Until then, I’d been a concerned young observer, reading the news and soaking in the nightly news films of the fighting and the flag-draped coffins returning from Vietnam. Kent State contributed to my becoming a participant. It was the talk around school that month, and I took part in a number of so-called Teach-Ins that were organized on the front lawn of the campus. By the following school year, encouraged by a young teacher of draft age, I began to speak out. I joined schoolmates and parents and neighbors, riding a bus to our nation’s capital and participating in the National Peace Action Coalition’s massive April 24, 1971 March on Washington. Speakers at the rally that followed the march included Coretta Scott King and Ralph Albernathy; Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Barbara Dane; John Kerry, Bella Abzug, Vance Hartke; and others. It was a pivotal time in what the Vietnamese dubbed “The American War.” It was a very big deal for me. And the flashpoint was Kent State. In advance of the 50th anniversary of the massacre, Deborah Wiles has created an amazing work of young people’s literature. I’m calling it a performance piece. “THEY SHOULD HAVE KILLED MORE OF YOU.” KENT STATE features numerous unnamed narrators describing and debating what happened during the days leading up to and including May 4, 1970 in Kent, Ohio. They also recount personal details about the lives and deaths of the four murdered students, Allison, Sandy, Jeffrey, and Bill. The unnamed narrators are each given a unique font and font size so we come to recognize them through that device. The narrators have varying perspectives and reactions that sometimes agree but are most often at odds with one another as they recall and characterize the events at Kent State. In addition to being a riveting read, KENT STATE is the perfect book for an informal English class read-aloud in which students each perform one of the many narrators in the book. It will also work well as a more formal production: performed in the studio for posting on YouTube; performed as a live radio play; or staged before an audience. I’m going to keep an eye on YouTube in the hope of eventually seeing this happen somewhere. And how does this relate to today’s young people? It’s all about the First Amendment and how far its protections extend. The protesters at Kent State believed that they were exercising their Constitutional rights: freedom of speech; freedom of assembly. These are the most precious of freedoms and it’s essential for each generation to protect them. Could Kent State happen again? Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ [email protected]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    5/5 for this slim (132 pages!), thought provoking novel in verse by Deborah Wiles. Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free copy of this book to share with @kidlitexchange! It comes out 4/21/20 right before the 50th anniversary of the #KentStateShooting. . . . I love Deborah Wiles' books. They're certainly not for every student. They require some background knowledge (although the prelude and afterword help) and a willingness to delve deep into the past. For those students who take the plunge, however 5/5 for this slim (132 pages!), thought provoking novel in verse by Deborah Wiles. Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free copy of this book to share with @kidlitexchange! It comes out 4/21/20 right before the 50th anniversary of the #KentStateShooting. . . . I love Deborah Wiles' books. They're certainly not for every student. They require some background knowledge (although the prelude and afterword help) and a willingness to delve deep into the past. For those students who take the plunge, however, they are rewarded with a rich experience. I loved the Sixties Trilogy, but KENT STATE might be my new favorite by @deborahwiles_. . . . Kent State starts with two voices addressing the reader in free verse -- "Make up your own mind./ Open your heart./ Here is what is most important:/ They did not have to die." More voices join in as the text goes on creating an argument over who was to blame and how the protests should have been handled. Each different voice is denoted by a different typeface; the disagreements between the disparate voices create additional tension that moves the story to the eventual death of four unarmed college students. "The campus was a war zone / and American students were the enemy." . . . Wiles deftly explores race (Black students believed from the start that the soldiers were armed with real bullets), as well as connections to America's past and present. "Understand your history. / You lie / in order to get / what you want." Ultimately, this book is a call to action. "It has always been the young / who are our champions / of justice./ Who stand at the vanguard / of change." I can see this being used in the classroom in creative ways. It's definitely rich for discussion, but parts could be read aloud as readers theatre, as well. As usual, Wiles incorporates lyrics from songs at the time throughout the text in an effective way. I want someone to create a playlist to read with this book! Recommended for grades 7+. . . . #middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla #mediaspecialist

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Kent State is structured like a novel in verse but it’s so much more than that. The varying perspectives are of collective voices and points of view, showing the reader just how difficult it was to get a consensus on what happened on that campus back in May of 1970. But even more important than that, Deborah Wiles circles it back around and points to how this moment in history still matters today and compels you, the reader, to be a vocal and participating citizen in our democracy. Put this book Kent State is structured like a novel in verse but it’s so much more than that. The varying perspectives are of collective voices and points of view, showing the reader just how difficult it was to get a consensus on what happened on that campus back in May of 1970. But even more important than that, Deborah Wiles circles it back around and points to how this moment in history still matters today and compels you, the reader, to be a vocal and participating citizen in our democracy. Put this book at the top of your TBR pile. I promise you won’t be able to put it down.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Shrugged

    This is a book for children. It is propaganda. All children's books are propaganda. Every single one. No exceptions. The difference is what a parent vs. government wants a child to understand about a given historical event or the attitude a children must learn: Be good; wash your face; be brave; be polite; hate sin; hate war; love peace. Here is what a child should learn from this book. If you agree, then this book gets 5 stars. If you don't then it gets 1 star: President Johnson was trying to en This is a book for children. It is propaganda. All children's books are propaganda. Every single one. No exceptions. The difference is what a parent vs. government wants a child to understand about a given historical event or the attitude a children must learn: Be good; wash your face; be brave; be polite; hate sin; hate war; love peace. Here is what a child should learn from this book. If you agree, then this book gets 5 stars. If you don't then it gets 1 star: President Johnson was trying to end the war in Vietnam and he even refused to run for President again in order to dedicate his remaining time in office to ending the war, but the South Vietnamese were stubborn and wanted to continue the fight. President Nixon came into office and made a speech that made it clear that he wanted to continue the war and invaded Laos, a neutral country. Bad Nixon. He murdered the Constitution of the United States, so the college students decided to protest the war and bury the Constitution. The protesting students were not communists. The students were not the Weathermen (a terrorist group). They did read Mao, though. The Ohio State National Guard was called out to suppress black protests on civil rights and to keep a Trucker's Strike from becoming violent. They were on hand when protests broke out at Kent State University. The National Guard issued a warning to the protestors to disperse, and then proceeded to shoot seven random students to death. Many other students were wounded. No explanation was given. The F-word was used at least twice along with a few other vulgarities. The author mentioned the "town and gown" tension between the college students and the townspeople and that theme permeates the narrative, but the author never explained what "town and gown" meant. It is a term from the Middle Ages which is how long such conflicts have been occurring. The college students of the Middle Ages came under a different law than the towns. Thus if a student broke a law in town... say by getting drunk and taking a swing at someone, the student was taken to campus to be judged by campus law... not the town law. In most cases the student was treated generously and sent back to his studies. This usually outraged the townspeople sometimes leading to riots. In general, students are a transient population with no vested interest in the long-term stability of a town, yet they expect an equal say in the town's future. This causes conflict even today. The author also mentions the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, the Weathermen, and Bernardine Dohrn. But the names are mentioned without explanation, as if one should know who they were/are. One SHOULD who Dr. King was since there is a holiday dedicated to him, but the others, it seems unlikely. FYI, I was listening to the audiobook version so I might be mistaken that the author mentioned Bernardine Dohrn, but the author certainly mentioned the Weather Underground terrorist group of which Dohrn was their leader. Dohrn was terrorist and early supporter of President Obama which might be why she got a mention in this book.... as if such a person ever could be a danger to anyone. I think she was dangerous at the time. The book was slanted toward the students at Kent State with only token explanations/excuses made for the actions of others such as the National Guard. The National Guard certainly screwed up massively. The author makes a point that the National Guard today observes no memorial for those students who were killed at Kent State... as if the National Guard was supposed to remember in perpetuity what screw ups their predecessors made. They should remember the lessons learned, but others police forces have not learned any lessons. Remember that the authorities of today were the student protestors of the 1970s. They have learned nothing. I recall the police in Oakland, California in riot gear firing tear gas canisters into crowds without regard to the injuries they might cause. The mayor of Oakland at the time was a woman and a Democrat. (See... Occupy Oakland, 2011.) FYI, the new mayor of Oakland is also a woman and a Democrat. She has instituted a ban on the freedom to assemble. "And the beat goes on..." Regarding the Black Panthers at the time of Kent State I suggest reading "Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey" by David Horowitz. It is an autobiography and a good read. He was a member of the Black Panthers at the time and he gives the reader an inside look at the organization. They were frightening people. It also gives one a better feel for the times than the book "Kent State" does. Finally, on a personal note, I knew a man who was there at Kent State at the time of the shootings. I judge him to be a leftist and a communist sympathizer. He told me that the shootings were a mistake, and that he knew many of the men in the National Guard. They would never, ever shoot into a crowd without a very good reason.... like fear for their lives. As I understand what happened to the National Guard, and as the author mentioned, there was a lot of construction happening on campus. As with any construction, safety fences were erected in order to prevent students from wandering into a construction area. These fences were real barriers, and the National Guard foolishly backed themselves against one of these fences with a mob approaching and no way out. The Guard was trapped and massively outnumbered. The mob could have swarmed them easily, taken their weapons, and killed them, so they fired in self-defense. The National Guard leader failed to dress in uniform. Thus, he was in civilian clothes and in the confusion it was difficult for individual Guardsmen to know if the person shouting orders was a legitimate leader. That led to more confusion and ultimately unit cohesion broke down. I don't recall if there was radio communication available to the individual soldiers. In the 1970s there were no cell phones. As the author said, there are many conflicting stories about what happened. Thus one can chose one story over another. Without ironclad facts, it is simply one opinion vs another. You can choose. The author chose a version of the events that was biased against what I think happened, and frankly shaded the truth of things that could be verified by the facts, such as portraying President Johnson as a wonderful guy, only wanting to end the war. In some ways LBJ (President Johnson) was a wonderful guy (at least in his intentions) and in some ways I admired him, but he was a racist war monger who escalated the war in Vietnam, and he got the majority of our soldiers killed because of his incompetence. (He was trying to run the war from Washington, D.C.). He also was instrumental in delaying civil rights for minorities until he could be sure that Democrats would get the credit. In the end he could not convince enough of the Democrats (or even influential Democrats like Senator Al Gore, senior or Senator Robert Byrd) to vote to give minorities civil rights, so he had to resort to Republican votes. The majority of Republicans voted for Civil Rights for minorities, so the Civil Rights Acts passed. Without strong Republican support the Civil Rights Acts and Voters Rights Acts would not have passed. (I suggest reading "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality" by Thomas Sowell.) In any case, I gave this book 1 star not because of the performance. The performance in the audiobook was excellent. It was the content that earned a single star. FYI, as if it mattered, I am a Mexican-American straight outta Compton. (No kidding.) I am also an Orthodox Jew. (Converted.) I was once a Democrat, but I vowed never to call myself one again after what the Democrats did to Vietnam and Cambodia during the Ford Administration. Millions died because the Democrats refused to keep the promises that the USA made to those countries. (See... "An American Amnesia: How the US Congress Forced the Surrenders of South Vietnam and Cambodia" by Bruce Herschensohn.) I would be ashamed to call myself a Democrat ever again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I don't remember the first time I heard about Kent State, but by the time I was in college at Western Illinois University, I was writing an article about the 20th anniversary for our college newspaper. Since that time, I have always had an interest in the tragic event. For the last 19 years, I've lived in Ohio. I work with Kent State graduates. They sometimes talk about going to school there years after 5/4/70 and how it is still a part of the culture of the school. One of my coworkers found a 1 I don't remember the first time I heard about Kent State, but by the time I was in college at Western Illinois University, I was writing an article about the 20th anniversary for our college newspaper. Since that time, I have always had an interest in the tragic event. For the last 19 years, I've lived in Ohio. I work with Kent State graduates. They sometimes talk about going to school there years after 5/4/70 and how it is still a part of the culture of the school. One of my coworkers found a 1970 Kent State yearbook at a garage sale and picked it up for 25 cents. Can you imagine such a find? He gave it to me and having a primary source like this, for someone like me who has been interested in the subject so long, it is a true treasure! When I saw that Deborah Wiles was writing a book about Kent State for younger readers, I was very excited. I tried so hard to get an ARC of the book because I just couldn't wait to read it! Unfortunately, I had to wait until it came out last week. The book is difficult to put into words. I am sure it was a hard book to write because there are so many voices and points of view. So many opinions. So many emotions. So much loss. So much hurt. Deborah chose to go into the challenge by giving voices an opportunity to speak through verse. Each day of the weekend, leading up to Monday, May 4th is given its one "chapter" if you will, in the book. That way, the reader can feel the emotion of every voice growing throughout the weekend until you get to that fateful day. When I am reading a book that captures a time in history, I always like to have my phone nearby. I like to look up exactly what is being referred to in the book, so I go to YouTube. When reading Wiles' Kent State, although I consider myself to be an "expert" on music from the 60s and 70s, I had never heard the song she used to give personality to Allison Krause ("Close to It All" by Melanie). And I needed to be reminded of Sandy's love of the song, "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces. Listening to those songs on YouTube made me feel a connection with those young woman whom I would never have a chance to meet. What Wiles did here in this part of the book was to give personal details of the people that Jeff, Bill, Allison, and Sandy were long before their names became marked with sadness. While I am not sure that my students will embrace the format of verse in this story, I can understand why Wiles did it this way. Because of the language within the book, it wouldn't fit well in my elementary library. That was not the audience it was written for anyway. The Author's Note at the end of the book is a MUST READ! It is so important for the reader to spend time in those last pages of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sunday

    "You are new here, and we don't want to scare you away, but we want you to know the truth, so we will start by telling you what is most important: They did not have to die." WOW. WOW. WOW. From the beginning Wiles draws readers in and holds their attention while numerous voices engage in a conversation of sorts about what happened May 1-4, 1970. Each voice--in a different font, using a poetic format-- reveals his or her role in and perspective on what happened by what they say. You hear the voices of "You are new here, and we don't want to scare you away, but we want you to know the truth, so we will start by telling you what is most important: They did not have to die." WOW. WOW. WOW. From the beginning Wiles draws readers in and holds their attention while numerous voices engage in a conversation of sorts about what happened May 1-4, 1970. Each voice--in a different font, using a poetic format-- reveals his or her role in and perspective on what happened by what they say. You hear the voices of students who protested, who didn't, of a member of the National Guard, of a member of the Black United Students, and of members of the town of Kent. Unlike other reviewers who felt the numerous voices presented a disjointed picture, I felt like the conversation was cohesive, beautiful, emotive, brilliant even, because you walk away with a deeper sense of how complex (and messy) situations like this could be and STILL ARE (a point Wiles makes towards the end). I'd book talk this--read the first couple of pages even (and project the pages) to get students interested in picking it up. Even better -ask a group of students to read and discuss (versus on their own). While Wiles does give some background and you learn a lot about the context through the conversation, some of our students who have very little background knowledge on this period might get more out of this book if it's read as part of a larger unit of study or as part of a text set. This could easily be partnered with other YA nonfiction on Vietnam like (look at my Goodreads shelf "YA Vietnam")-- *Boots on the Ground (each chapter is from a different person's perspective protest singer/soldier/medic/nurse/refugee/etc.'s perspective) (Partridge, 2018) *Vietnam: A History of the War (Freedman, 2016) - informative, explaining multiple sides of the conflict *Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Sheinkin, 2015) (riveting, Ellsberg--who helped plan the way turns against his gov't) If you're asking students to research and present on historical events--this book could be an AMAZING MENTOR text that pushes students to think about the different perspectives/points of view involved in any event and how these can be presented. Don't skip the AUTHOR'S NOTE at the end. Wiles describes her research process--again a great mentor for students to consider as they look through primary and secondary sources, interview sources, etc.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura Petrie

    Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The Vietnam War was a turbulent and controversial period in our country’s history, and I have always been fascinated by the social implications it had on our culture at that time. I have poured over infamous photographs of protests and often tried to put myself into their shoes to gain a better understanding of their perspective. Kent State by Deborah Wiles is a young adult novel in verse that zoo Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The Vietnam War was a turbulent and controversial period in our country’s history, and I have always been fascinated by the social implications it had on our culture at that time. I have poured over infamous photographs of protests and often tried to put myself into their shoes to gain a better understanding of their perspective. Kent State by Deborah Wiles is a young adult novel in verse that zooms in on the happenings at Kent State University in Ohio in May of 1970. I studied the events of the Vietnam War extensively in high school, and I did not realize how little I knew about this tragic event that happened on the homefront. I had no idea about the involvement of the National Guard on Kent State campus or about the protests. Through the use of font style, size, and stanza positioning, and a unique style of writing, Wiles captures several different voices and perspectives to help her readers understand the full breadth of what happened over the course of 3 days. Wiles perfectly captures the wide range of emotions and opinions that come in the wake of tragedy. Every voice has an idea of where the blame should be placed, and from their perspective, it is easy to understand why. I loved how Wiles included the names and stories of the faces we see in these photos. By the end of this novel, we know a bit more about who they were and where they stood on the war. As in most tragedies, these people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. As is mentioned by the author in the afterward, their stories were not well known or acknowledged at the time. By reading this book, we are giving them a voice. This book challenged my thinking. Wiles did an excellent job conveying all of the different voices, and as a result, it was easy to recognize that all sides think they are in the right or the know. It also forced me to think about how we walk the line of dissenting against something we do not believe in and showing support toward our country. Due to language and the seriousness of the content, I think this is a better read for 8th grade and older. It is the perfect companion for any curriculum that covers the Vietnam War.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Yattoni

    I picked this up from the book fair, because I ❤️ Deborah Wiles’ books. This historical fiction novel is about the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970. I was only a young girl when this happened. I remember seeing it on the news. The mood set in this book is very combative. It is a novel in verse and told in different perspectives of the people involved such as the National Guard, the college students, the townies. Wiles does a great job of going back and forth between the different perspectives. I picked this up from the book fair, because I ❤️ Deborah Wiles’ books. This historical fiction novel is about the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970. I was only a young girl when this happened. I remember seeing it on the news. The mood set in this book is very combative. It is a novel in verse and told in different perspectives of the people involved such as the National Guard, the college students, the townies. Wiles does a great job of going back and forth between the different perspectives. What I have taken from this historical account is that neither side to this day is willing to support the mistakes they made in leading up to the point of the shooting. It does, however, send the message to stand up to those people in power who continue to want too much of it. Difficult book for some, but if you like history and reading about how the government makes so many significant horrible decisions this is the book for you. Kent State is on the historical registrar. When I do my road trip out east, this will be a 🛑 on the way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Kent State by Deborah Wiles, 132 pages. Scholastic Press, 2020. $18. Content: Language: R (13 swears; 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence; PG-13 BUYING ADVISORY: HS – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW An anti-war demonstration at Kent State during the first week of May, 1970 escalated, so the National Guard was brought into Kent to restore order. After four days of tension and little acts of violence, the National Guard opened fire over the campus and killed four students. This true event and the ma Kent State by Deborah Wiles, 132 pages. Scholastic Press, 2020. $18. Content: Language: R (13 swears; 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence; PG-13 BUYING ADVISORY: HS – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW An anti-war demonstration at Kent State during the first week of May, 1970 escalated, so the National Guard was brought into Kent to restore order. After four days of tension and little acts of violence, the National Guard opened fire over the campus and killed four students. This true event and the many people who witnessed or were involved are represented in this historical prose told by Deborah Wiles. Five different voices discuss the events building up to the morning of the shooting and they share their opinion and perspective. I liked the idea of this historical fiction, but there is too much going on with the format and the dramatic arguing among unnamed voices. It just came across jumbled and confusing. The author’s notes could have been helpful but there was a lot of opinion and not enough historical set-up. The reader would have to have a lot of prior knowledge about the time period and the Vietnam War to fully understand the conflict. The content includes graphic shootings of innocent students. Reviewer, C. Peterson https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2020...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    interesting way of telling the story, different voices in different fonts representing different groups speaking directly to the reader. reminded me of JB by Archibald Macleish. The two main speakers had different viewpoints, one was looking back over the past fifty years and the other was stuck in that time w/the anger didn't seem to go thru the i don't give a damn 70s. near the end of the book the matured voice switches sides and the book becomes somewhat frayed. there is also a black voice, interesting way of telling the story, different voices in different fonts representing different groups speaking directly to the reader. reminded me of JB by Archibald Macleish. The two main speakers had different viewpoints, one was looking back over the past fifty years and the other was stuck in that time w/the anger didn't seem to go thru the i don't give a damn 70s. near the end of the book the matured voice switches sides and the book becomes somewhat frayed. there is also a black voice, a viewpoint i don't remember seeing in any articles. the constant referring to the reader, even to the point of abruptly telling us to INSERT YOUR NAME HERE got in the way. the final chapter says we should all listen to one another, which is v. nice but doesn't say how that would have prevented the killings. (i didn't realize the dead were hundreds of feet away, thought it was much closer, more targeted. instead it was mostly sick random bullets going where the bullets wanted to.) i thought everybody listened and they came to different conclusions about what they heard, so we continued to fight and riot and sit-in and kill people that disagreed w/us. the afterword was good, talking about sources, interviews, why she put a black voice in the book. i don't know of any other ya books about this, which is sad, perhaps Steve Sheinkin will write one so there would be this verse novel and a non-fiction book about the days.

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