GRAPHIC NOVELS

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio

Comic Arts: Abrams. Apr. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781419734847. $24.99. Rated: Teen+. hist
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Backderf (Trashed) here relies on meticulous research to re-create the horrific National Guard occupation of the Kent State University campus in May 1970. Fears that student radicals might be preparing to rise up in armed insurrection are inflamed after a group incensed by the invasion of Cambodia riots on the evening of May 1, leading to a State of Emergency being declared. A protest outside the campus ROTC headquarters the following evening ends with a campus-wide lockdown by the National Guard. A sit-in to protest the occupation the next afternoon results in the students being beaten and bayoneted. By the afternoon of May 4, some students are eager to join a rally against the Guardsmen, some are too scared, others simply want everything to blow over so they can resume their normal lives. By the end of the day, exhausted and terrified National Guardsmen operating under orders from inept leaders will kill four and wound nine others.
VERDICT An incendiary corrective to the myths and misconceptions surrounding these events and a memorial to the lives lost or forever altered that should be required reading for all Americans.

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