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67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American…

67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence (2016)

by Howard Means

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In my house, we talked very little about Vietnam, or the violence with the IRA. I suppose that is why certain days live in my mind, this is one of them. I was only ten at the time but I remember this violence in my home state. Three days of protest, more students than I could count and then the National Guard. It was so hard to believe in 13 seconds, 67 shots could be issued and four lives killed.

The author, Howard Means, did a good job with the oral-history collection and interviewing to relay this story from those who were there. I feel he was able to describe the tension and the anger surrounding this time. Not only of those there but across the nation. From the President, the Governor, the Mayor and so on, each are examined to help us to reflect on that day and, hopefully, stop it from happening again.

Very good. I was given this book by NetGalley and Perseus Group Books, De Capo Press in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  ksnapier | Sep 8, 2017 |
The Kent State shootings are something I had vaguely heard about but never actually studied. My history classes never got to 1970 I guess.

There is a disconnect for me regarding these events because I've never before experienced anything like this time in our history. It was so volatile with Nixon/Watergate, Vietnam, the assassinations, the civil rights riots... Everything was in an uproar. The students who were protesting and burning down ROTC buildings across the country were feeling something that I don't think has been equaled in my lifetime. The closest might be the Wall Street sit in's a few years ago, but those and the response were relatively tame comparatively. The apathy of my generation is in stark contrast to the activist zeal of the 60's and 70's.

All that is to say that I was most surprised about how much people at the time blamed the students instead of National Guard. Of course, it's all in how it was reported, but that reaction took me by surprise because I had always been under the opposite impression. Apparently the image of this event has changed a lot over the past few decades, but it's hard to believe that the students who were shot were blamed for themselves dying/being injured. I highly doubt that would be the case if something similar happened today.

Not that anyone was in the right on this whole thing. The author does a good job of showing the missteps on every single side that lead to this tragedy. From the student protesters, to the National Guard, to the Governor of Ohio, to Nixon, to the Kent State President, etc. The list goes on. He also explains in depth the ramping up of events that culminated in that Monday's shooting, as well as the aftermath and what little justice was to be had. However I didn't appreciate the authors opinion bleeding through in several places. There was some heavy sarcasm used, as well as opinionated comments that could have been left for the end if he wanted to express his personal views on everything. Seeing it in the main part of the book just made me begin to doubt the objectiveness of the author, and begin questioning the slant of everything else I read.

Overall though this was a good read, especially for someone like me who wasn't alive during the events and wants a birdseye view of the events and their consequences. It's a maddening set of events that continues to amaze, but I think it was important to read and understand the background and aftermath as well. We'll never know what exactly happened that made those 67 shots be fired, but through eye witness accounts and research Howard Means has done a commendable job putting it all together in one place.

Copy courtesy of Da Capo Press, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
This is an amazing look at the Kent State shooting incident in 1970. I have always been aware of this incident and what it came to signify, but I never knew the facts of what happened on that campus and in the nearby community that fueled this confrontation. This book provides so much information and important insights shared by many involved with all parts of this incident, making history come alive for the reader. I highly recommend it to all who love history or just want to learn more about this time period. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Jun 19, 2016 |
The events of this book took place 46 years ago, and yet there are still questions as to who and what initiated them. History can be both interesting and educational to current generations, but this event seems quite relevant to some of the events and attitudes of today. Perhaps for that reason, it is a especially timely revisit of what transpired at Kent State culminating on May 4, 1970.
Many college students throughout the United States were active in anti-war and anti-establishment protests during the Vietnam War. This weekend at Kent State was a watershed moment in these protests. The events that led to 4 students shot dead by National Guard troops are looked at from all angles by this author. He includes past interviews as well as more recent ones to give the reader a complete historic perspective. Although it does not appear to be his purpose to give an opinion of cause or blame, I did come away with a continued sympathy for the victims of the shootings. I also recognized that almost all of the participants in this tragedy had lives that were forever affected by what happened in these critical few seconds. Young people, both students and guardsmen, lost their innocence on this horrific day.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a clear, concise, and yet interesting look at this revolutionary event. It presents many views and personal recollections that have a sense of relevant today just as much as nearly 50 years ago. ( )
  c.archer | Apr 15, 2016 |
Funny, in that peculiar, inexplicable way, the things we learn and don't learn in public school. I was seven years old when this happened, and none of my future history or social science classes ever so much as mentioned the event. This was a pivotal time and occurrence in our history, yet it passed by my school years unspoken. Perhaps it was too new and too raw to address in our schools, though I would think that is more reason to teach it, rather than less reason.

As the title implies, this book's focus is on Kent State and the tragic deaths - murders? - of four students in May of 1970. Unlike most books on this era, we don't get a buildup of the tumultuous culture of the sixties. We're dropped right into the madness of protests and politics on one college campus. If you're unfamiliar with the cultural upheaval of the time, you might first want to read a book encompassing the broader aspects, though I do think the author does a good job of showing the short version of how we got to that place in time.

This is an easy book to read, as far as the author's style and approach. The writing is engaging, not dry or overly academic. It's a reader-friendly book. The author does an excellent job of putting the pieces in some semblance of order, from both sides, and of trying to sort it out so that we might understand how and why it all went so wrong.

*I was provided with an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  Darcia | Apr 10, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0306823799, Hardcover)

At mid-day on May 4, 1970, after three days of protests, several thousand students and the Ohio National Guard faced off at opposite ends of the grassy campus Commons at Kent State University. Just after noon, the Guard moved out. Twenty-five minutes later, Guardsmen launched a 13-second, 67-shot barrage that left four students dead and nine wounded, one of them paralyzed for life. The story doesn't end there though. A far greater tragedy was narrowly averted minutes later when the Guard and students reassembled on the Commons.

Using the university's recently available oral history collection, Howard Means delivers a book that tracks events still shrouded in misunderstanding, positions them in the context of a tumultuous era in American history, and shows how the shootings reverberate still in our national life.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 26 Jan 2016 21:12:03 -0500)

Using recently available oral histories from participants, Howard Means examines the Kent State shooting and the tumultuous era that reverberates still.

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