May 4 Reading List

Below is a list of suggested books for learning more about the events of May 4, 1970. Some books are available to order through the Kent State University Press. Those books are linked in the title.

Reading List On Topic of May 4, 1970


By Thomas Hensley and Jerry Lewis. Beginning with a detailed description of the May 4 shootings and the events that preceded them, Kent State and May 4th is a revised, updated, and expanded volume of essays that seeks to answer frequently raised questions while correcting historical inaccuracies. Authored by two KSU professors.


By Joseph Kelner & James Munves. The victims' families' lawsuit trial attorney, wrote this book based on sworn testimony under oath in Federal Court.


Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties

By Tom Grace. The author, one of the students wounded at Kent State on May 4, 1970, Tom shows, the events of May 4 were not some tragic anomaly but were grounded in a tradition of student political activism that extended back to Ohio's labor battles of the 1950s.



Edited by Scott Bills. Bills pioneered the oral history work on and about the Kent State killings. In addition to the contributions of others, his edited collection contains eight valuable interviews, including one with a former member of the Ohio National Guard.


By David Hassler.  The text of David Hassler’s play is based on the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project begun in 1990 by Sandra Halem and housed in Kent State University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and Archives. Weaving these voices and stories from the oral histories together anonymously, Hassler’s play tells the human story of May 4th and its aftermath, capturing the sense of trauma, confusion, and fear felt by all people regardless of where they stood that day. See also A Teacher’s Resource Book for May 4th Voices.



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


Moments of Truth
Moments of Truth

By Howard Ruffner. Here, in Moments of Truth: A Photo­grapher’s Experience of Kent State 1970, Ruffner not only reproduces a collection of nearly 150 of his photographs—many never before published—but also offers a stirring narrative in which he revisits his work and attempts to further examine these events and his own experience of them.



By US Government Printing Office. Many photos, based on official FBI investigation.  Also known informally as "The Scranton Commission" Report. Includes photos taken at Kent State and a number of others taken at Jackson State, where two students were shot to death. 


A Teacher’s Resource Book for May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970  

By John Morris. Created to supplement May 4th Voices, a play based on the 1970 tragedy, A Teacher’s Resource Book for May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970 explains how real teachers in real classrooms have adapted the play to use in various pedagogical situations and levels of instruction. 



By Joe Eszterhas & Michael Roberts; A good, factual early book by a great Hollywood writer. Fine descriptions of lives/deaths of our Kent State 1970 martyrs.


By Carole Barbato, Laura Davis, and Mark Seeman. This We Know succinctly documents the facts that fill out the chronology of events of the four fateful days that ended with members of the Ohio National Guard killing Kent State students Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, and William Schroeder and wounding nine others. It gathers well-established information from recorded accounts, from the time events happened through what has been learned since.



By Peter Davies. An early book, this was written to spur a Department of Justice investigation into the Kent State killings. Like the Report, it contains many well produced photos, including some taken by Howard Ruffner.



By Howard Means. Noted author provides an overview of the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.



For more related readings and web resources, visit May 4 Collection Annotated Bibliographies (Kent State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives).


Visit the Kent State University Press for a complete list of May 4 related publications.