Confrontation at Kent State
The dramatic and eye-opening original account of events that shook the nation.
At noon on May 4, 1970, a thirteen-second burst of gunfire transformed the campus of Kent State University into a national nightmare. National Guard bullets killed four students and wounded nine. By nightfall the campus was evacuated and the school was closed. A generation of college students said they had lost all hope for the System and the future.
Yet Kent State was not a radical university like Berkeley, Columbia, or Harvard. Although a new mood had been growing among the students in recent years, the school was not known for political activity or demonstrations. In fact, exactly one week before, students had held their traditional spring-is-here mudfight. What most alarmed Americans was the knowledge that if this tragedy could occur at Kent State, on a campus made up of the children of the Silent Majority and in the heart of Middle America, it could happen anywhere.
But why? how did it happen that young Americans in battle helmets, gas masks, and combat boots confronted other young Americans wearing bell-bottom trousers, flowered shirts, and shoulder-length hair? What were the issues and why did the confrontation escalate so terribly? Would there be future confrontations like the one of May 4?
To answer these questions, prize-winning reporters Eszterhas and Roberts, who were on campus on May 4, spent weeks interviewing all the participants in the tragedy. They traveled to victims' homes and talked to relatives and friends; they spoke to National Guardsmen on the firing line and to students who were fired on. By putting together hundreds of first-person accounts they were able to establish for the first time what actually took place on the day of the shooting.
About Joe Eszterhas
Joe Eszterhas was twenty-five years old and had been with the Cleveland Plain Dealer for three years when he co-wrote this book. In 1968 he received the Cleveland Press Club Award and the Ohio Associated Press Award for his coverage of the Silver Bridge disaster. In 1969 he wrote the Life magazine account of the My Lai massacre; in 1970 he received the Associated Press Award for his six-part series. He was a senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine from 1971 to 1975. He has written screenplays for several major Hollywood movies, including Basic Instinct in 1992, and has written several other nonfiction books, including Hollywood Animal, an autobiography, and Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith. More About Joe Eszterhas
About Michael D. Roberts
Michael D. Roberts was thirty years old and had been with the Cleveland Plain Dealer for seven years when he co-wrote this book. In 1966 he received the Ohio Associated Press Award for exposing a forged Rembrandt painting. He reported on assignment from Vietnam, the Middle East, and the newspaper's Washington Bureau. He joined Cleveland Magazine in 1972 and served as editor for 17 years. He works in public relations and regularly writes for several publications. More About Michael D. Roberts