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A gripping account of America's first—and largest—school mass murder
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.
Cover photographs courtesy of Bath School Museum.
"With the meticulous attention to detail of a historian and a storyteller's eye for human drama, Bernstein shines a beam of truth on a forgotten American tragedy. Heartbreaking and riveting."
—Gregg Olsen, New York Times Bestselling Author of Starvation Heights
"A chilling and historic character study of the unfathomable suffering that desperation and fury, once unleashed inside a twisted mind, can wreak on a small town. Contemporary mass murderers Timothy McVeigh, Columbine's Dylan Klebold, and Virginia Tech's Seung-Hui Cho can each trace their horrific genealogy of terror to one man: Bath school bomber Andrew Kehoe."
—Mardi Link, author of When Evil Came to Good Hart
"Bernstein has a historian's eye for small and significant period details of fascinating interest to anyone who thinks about what the 1920s were like in Michigan, which makes it easy to pick up anywhere and read some small detail that gives you a sense for the times."
—Edward Vielmetti, community organizer in Ann Arbor, MI
"Arnie Bernstein, combines the research of a good writer with a crime reporter's insights."
—Scott Duncan, former police sergeant
"...A must read for anyone who likes true crime stories - or who thinks senseless mass killings are a modern phenomenon."
—Jack Lessenberry, Traverse City Record-Eagle
"Chicago author Arnie Bernstein has turned a tragic piece of Michigan history into a searing and painfully compelling story … Ultimately, Bath Massacre serves as a reminder that, whatever the armchair psychologists might say about the effect of violent video games and television on today's society, our modern culture has no monopoly on murderous psychopaths."
—Kristina Riggle, The Grand Rapids Press
"This affecting and thoroughly researched book is at its heart a local history gathered around a single tragic incident. Bernstein is fond of the minor details of small town life...in troubling contrast to these quotidian details are the meticulous descriptions of the human suffering Kehoe caused."
—Seth Kotch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Named a 2010 Michigan Notable Book
Copyright © 2009, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.
Listen: Arnie Bernstein interviewed on “The History Show” on RTE Radio in Ireland | 1/8/2019
Listen: Arnie Bernstein interviewed on Michigan Radio | 5/18/2017
Listen: Arnie Bernstein on True Murder Podcast | 1/14/2015
Watch: Arnie Bernstein on BookTV | 5/16/2009
Listen: UMP Author Podcast Series: Arnie Bernstein | MP3 | May 2009
Listen: Review Jack Lessenberry Show | 5/19/09
Read: Review Huffington Post | 5/16/2011
Read: Review of Author Event | Brutus' Blog | 7/13/10
Read: Review BlogCritics.org | 11/13/09
Read: Q&A with Arnie Bernstein | PDF | 5/1/2009
Read: A Writer's Journey | Wonders & Marvels | 1/13/2011
Read: Sentinel-Standard | 3/25/2011