On Page 23 of Howard Ruffner’s new book is a photo he took Oct. 16, 1969. It depicts a peaceful demonstration of Kent State University students walking from the campus to downtown Kent to protest the Vietnam War.
Many hold signs reading “Bring All the Troops Home Now.” In the front, about 10 students carry a banner; smiling in the center of the frame is 18-year-old Allison Krause. Seven months later she would be dead.
Ruffner’s “Moments of Truth: A Photographer’s Experience of Kent State 1970” combines the author’s work as a student journalist with his personal reflections almost 50 years after members of the Ohio National Guard shot four students and wounded 13 others. Ruffner, already an Air Force veteran who had studied photography and taken a broadcast journalism course, had enjoyed taking photos around campus, and he includes several shots of sports and concerts.
On May 1, 1970, Ruffner took pictures at a rally protesting Richard Nixon’s Cambodian military operations. Faces are intent and composed; Ruffner writes “I remember thinking that no one wanted to work the crowd into a yelling protest and shouting frenzy.” By the next day, things had changed. The ROTC was burned down and National Guardsmen were everywhere. On May 3, Ruffner was allotted a press pass, and the next day he made an agreement to supply photos to Life Magazine. One of the photos he took the next day appeared on the next week’s cover and earned him a share of the George Polk Award for News Photography.
In addition to showing the timeline of the tragedy as it developed, Ruffner choose several copies of certain photos to place side by side, highlighting key figures whose importance he describes in the text.
The images were used during Ruffner's later testimony during the civil trials against the National Guard. His photos were evidence of the chain of events and the actions of the guardsmen.
“Moments of Truth” (180 pages, hardcover) costs $34.95 from Kent State University Press. Howard Ruffner will launch “Moments of Truth” at a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Kent State University Library, 1125 Risman Drive. Free, but space is limited; register at https://www.library.kent.edu/events.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 South Green Road, South Euclid): Cuyahoga County Public Library’s new Writer-in-Residence Mary Weems (“Public Education and the Imagination-Intellect: I Speak From the Wound in My Mouth”) reads from her work at a reception, 1 p.m. today; Donna Marie Przybojewski reads from and signs her children’s books about Henry David Thoreau, 3 p.m. today; Judah Leblang discusses “Echoes of Jerry,” about his relationship with his deaf uncle, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Register at 216-382-4880.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): John Bruening signs “The Annihilation Machine,” a World War II alternative fiction fantasy, 1 p.m. Sunday; Michael K. Smith signs “The Thin Gray Line,” a Civil War-set novel featured in column, 3 p.m. Sunday. From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, almost 20 authors from the Great Lakes African American Writers Conference will read from and sign their works. See the list at glaawc.com/writers-workshops.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Norton branch, 3930 South Cleveland-Massillon Road): Kathryn Long talks about her mystery “Buried in Sin,” 6 to 7 p.m. Monday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Kenmore branch, 969 Kenmore Blvd.): Tim Carroll talks about “World War II Akron,” 6 to 7 p.m. Monday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Middleburg Heights branch, 16699 Bagley Road): Judith Finlayson, author of “You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: What You Need to Know About Nutrition, Experience, Epigenetics and the Origins of Chronic Disease,” appears from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday. Register at 440-234-3600.
Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.): In the Fall Author Series, business reporter Christopher Leonard discusses “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America,” 7 p.m. Monday, and Linwood Barclay signs his thriller “Elevator Pitch,” 7 p.m. Tuesday. No seats remain to hear Helen Prejean (“Dead Man Walking”) discuss “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey” at 7 p.m. Thursday, but her talk will be simulcast in another room. Register at 330-653-6658.
Kent State University Student Center (1075 Risman Drive): Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship and American Book Award recipient Sonia Sanchez talks about poetry and its effect on student activism and the legacy of May 4, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 5071 Wallings Road): Author Erin O’Brien talks about “Rust Belt Burlesque: The Softer Side of a Heavy Metal Town” (with photographer Bob Perkoski), 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Register at 440-237-3800.
Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Stephen Post, author of “Why Good Things Happen to Good People” and “God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness,” appears at 7 p.m. Thursday; Noah Blaustein (“After Party: Poems”) reads from his work 7 p.m. Saturday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (60 S. High St., Akron): Cuyahoga Falls author and critic Mark Dawidziak presents “The Shawshank Redemption Revealed: How One Story Keeps Hope Alive,” a 25th anniversary look at the beloved Ohio-made film, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Libraries (Coventry Village branch, 1925 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): John Billheimer will talk about his West Virginia-set Owen Allison mystery series including “Primary Target” and his non-fiction including “Hitchcock and the Censors,” 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Barnes & Noble (28801 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere): Utahan Emily Bernath signs her inspirational “Broken Lenses: Identifying Your Truth in a World of Lies,” 4 p.m. Friday; Daniel Robert Hoy signs his story collection “Daniel Robert Hoy Tabletop Book MMXVIII,” 2 p.m. Saturday.
Troutman Vineyard (4243 Columbus Road S., Wooster): The Buckeye Book Fair continues its “Authors on the Vine” series with illustrator Barry Gott, “Dino Drawing!”, 11 a.m. Saturday. A $12 ticket admits one adult and one child and includes a glass of wine. Buy tickets at Eventbrite.com.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Snow branch, 2121 Snow Road): Nevada Barr, author of the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Award-winning Anna Pigeon mystery series, signs her standalone thriller “What Rose Forgot,” 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Seats may remain for Lisa Unger (“The Stranger Inside” is about a woman who escaped abduction as a child, but now learns of a similar case) and Laura Lippman (“Lady in the Lake” is about a 1960s Baltimore journalist who investigates the death of a waitress), Sept. 22. Register at 216-661-4240.
Reading by Tracy K. Smith: United States Poet Laureate 2017-2019 and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, onboard the Steamship Mather at Dock 32 in North Coast Harbor, Sept. 25 as part of Cleveland Book Week. Free, but space is limited so reservations are required at Eventbrite.com.
Sept. 26 appearance by bestselling author Andrew Gross: (“The Saboteur,” “Button Man”) in the Literary Society’s annual fundraising event for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. $65 ticket includes cocktail and appetizer/dessert reception and an autographed copy of “The Fifth Column,” a World War II-set spy novel. Call 330-740-6086 or visit libraryvisit.org/literary-society.
Send information about books of local interest to Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.