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Death at Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home to America

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It didn't seem possible. Four college students shot dead May 4, 1970, by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War. The shootings at Kent State University would shock the nation and spark a mass student strike across the country, the only one in U.S. history. A photojournalism student's photograph of a teen girl crying in anguish over a victim's dead It didn't seem possible. Four college students shot dead May 4, 1970, by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War. The shootings at Kent State University would shock the nation and spark a mass student strike across the country, the only one in U.S. history. A photojournalism student's photograph of a teen girl crying in anguish over a victim's dead body would win the Pulitzer Prize and become a symbol of the antiwar movement.


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It didn't seem possible. Four college students shot dead May 4, 1970, by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War. The shootings at Kent State University would shock the nation and spark a mass student strike across the country, the only one in U.S. history. A photojournalism student's photograph of a teen girl crying in anguish over a victim's dead It didn't seem possible. Four college students shot dead May 4, 1970, by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War. The shootings at Kent State University would shock the nation and spark a mass student strike across the country, the only one in U.S. history. A photojournalism student's photograph of a teen girl crying in anguish over a victim's dead body would win the Pulitzer Prize and become a symbol of the antiwar movement.

28 review for Death at Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home to America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I can always find one of these books to appreciate and enjoy how it tries to take a very complex topic and use one seminal photograph to explain it to middle and high school students. This is one such book in the series that has multiple layers and doesn't completely bog down the short and quickness that the book series intends with too many details that hide the significance of this one photo. Obviously the story is as deeply rooted in politics and war accompanied by the hotbeds of political ac I can always find one of these books to appreciate and enjoy how it tries to take a very complex topic and use one seminal photograph to explain it to middle and high school students. This is one such book in the series that has multiple layers and doesn't completely bog down the short and quickness that the book series intends with too many details that hide the significance of this one photo. Obviously the story is as deeply rooted in politics and war accompanied by the hotbeds of political action that are often college campuses. In reading this in June 2020, it feels apropos. While this was not the militarization of the police since those that did the firing of the guns were actual Guardsmen, it still smells exactly like the overreach of power. And the fact that while they were brought to trial, none were convicted of anything. The photo itself, of one of the students lying dead with a young woman (who was not a college student but went to Kent State after the initial protests began a few days earlier) perched over his body looking for someone to help. Burgan moves through the Vietnam War, Nixon's presidency, and protests including Kent State and some of the subsequent ones, along with various trials to try to bring some justice. It skims the surface on all of it and still manages to dive deep enough to fulfill the title/subtitle as well as the goal of the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carrie G

    "Death at Kent State" is a quick read that provides basic background information about the Vietnam War abroad AND here at home. It also explains the events of May 4, 1970 at Kent State and how they impacted American history. This would be a great text to pair with "The Things They Carried" or "Death Coming Up the Hill." "Death at Kent State" is a quick read that provides basic background information about the Vietnam War abroad AND here at home. It also explains the events of May 4, 1970 at Kent State and how they impacted American history. This would be a great text to pair with "The Things They Carried" or "Death Coming Up the Hill."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Generally, I love reading junior nonfiction. Lots of great history in a quick read. The Vietnam War is one era of history that I know very little about, so I was especially excited to read this book. I knew the Vietnam War was rife with protests, but I didn't know anything about Kent State so it was interesting to learn about. That said, I was underwhelmed. For a series that is based on how photographs capture and shape perceptions of history, there was a considerable lack of good photos. I also Generally, I love reading junior nonfiction. Lots of great history in a quick read. The Vietnam War is one era of history that I know very little about, so I was especially excited to read this book. I knew the Vietnam War was rife with protests, but I didn't know anything about Kent State so it was interesting to learn about. That said, I was underwhelmed. For a series that is based on how photographs capture and shape perceptions of history, there was a considerable lack of good photos. I also thought the order of information was random and incohesive. I don't regret reading it. I learned some interesting facts that I didn't know before. I'm also even more convinced that I need to learn some more about Vietnam.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is a good attempt at an extremely complex and nuanced topic. To truly understand Kent State, you have to understand about the Vietnam War. How do you explain the Domino Theory to a bunch of kids in only a paragraph? This author does an admirable job. I only wish there had been a page or so on how badly we treated soldiers returning from Vietnam. Kids today have no idea how badly we behaved as a nation.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Labonte

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ardem

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jody

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  10. 4 out of 5

    kelly

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lupita

  12. 4 out of 5

    CHS

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ardem

  14. 5 out of 5

    JTWest Library

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Lafleur Meyers

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Chambers

  19. 4 out of 5

    WhitfieldIC

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Yocom

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lauralton

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

  24. 4 out of 5

    Percy Bell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Irma

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becca Crawford

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