Review: Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing by Arnie Bernstein

11:47 AM

by Arnie Bernstein

Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: University of Michigan Press/Regional (March 16, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0472033468
ISBN-13: 978-0472033461

Description (Publisher Website)
On May 18, 1927, the small town of Bath, Michigan, was forever changed when Andrew Kehoe set off a cache of explosives concealed in the basement of the local school. Thirty-eight children and six adults were dead, among them Kehoe, who had literally blown himself to bits by setting off a dynamite charge in his car. The next day, on Kehoe's farm, what was left of his wife—burned beyond recognition after Kehoe set his property and buildings ablaze—was found tied to a handcart, her skull crushed. With seemingly endless stories of school violence and suicide bombers filling today's headlines, Bath Massacre serves as a reminder that terrorism and large-scale murder are nothing new.

Author Bio
A native of Chicago, Arnie Bernstein is the author of The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections and Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago and the Movies. He is the winner of a Puffin Foundation Grant and Midwest Regional History Publishing honors.


This book is an incredible account of the first school bombing in our nation's history. Skillfully laying the groundwork of the events in the months and years leading up to this disaster, the author leads us through this all but forgotten tragedy, bringing it back to life with an almost minute by minute account of the the day of the disaster.

The reader is introduced to the children and families of victims and survivors both, and is given an almost chilling look into the mind of Andrew Kehoe and what possibly triggered this event.

This book had me riveted from beginning to end and I couldn't recommend it more. This fascinating account is a story that needed to be retold so that it's not forgotten. Loaded with first hand accounts, the reader has a front row seat to the shocking, numbing horror of that day, and can almost smell the dust and smoke and hear the screams of children and parents alike. While the author brings the reader into the horror if the day, he manages to keep it from becoming sensationalistic tabloid style writing. Kudo's to Bernstein for telling the complete story while maintaining respect for both the living and the dead of this event.


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