Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

4.4 62
by Jeff Guinn

See All Formats & Editions

Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America's most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different -- and far more


Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America's most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different -- and far more fascinating.

In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Their timing could not have been better -- the Barrow Gang pulled its first heist in 1932 when most Americans, reeling from the Great Depression, were desperate for escapist entertainment. Thanks to newsreels, true crime magazines, and new-fangled wire services that transmitted scandalous photos of Bonnie smoking a cigar to every newspaper in the nation, the Barrow Gang members almost instantly became household names on a par with Charles Lindbergh, Jack Dempsey, and Babe Ruth. In the minds of the public, they were cool, calculating bandits who robbed banks and killed cops with equal impunity.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Clyde and Bonnie were perhaps the most inept crooks ever, and their two-year crime spree was as much a reign of error as it was of terror. Lacking the sophistication to plot robberies of big-city banks, the Barrow Gang preyed mostly on small mom-and-pop groceries and service stations. Even at that, they often came up empty-handed andwere reduced to breaking into gum machines for meal money. Both were crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his toes while in prison and Bonnie from a terrible car crash caused by Clyde's reckless driving. Constantly on the run from the law, they lived like animals, camping out in their latest stolen car, bathing in creeks, and dining on cans of cold beans and Vienna sausages. Yet theirs was a genuine love story. Their devotion to each other was as real as their overblown reputation as criminal masterminds was not.

Go Down Together has it all -- true romance, rebellion against authority, bullets flying, cars crashing, and, in the end, a dramatic death at the hands of a celebrity lawman hired to hunt them down. Thanks in great part to surviving Barrow and Parker family members and collectors of criminal memorabilia who provided Jeff Guinn with access to never-before-published material, we finally have the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep and unprecedented insight by a masterful storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

Bryan Burrough
…easily readable and includes much of the last two decades' new scholarship…A good amount of new detail about Bonnie and Clyde has emerged in the last 20 years, much of it unearthed by the Dallas historian John Neal Phillips and a small army of dedicated hobbyists, not to mention the information contained in two books by Clyde's sister Marie. Guinn packages this material, plus some nuggets he himself discovered, into a fine work of history.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Journalist Guinn (Our Land Before We Die ), in this intensely readable account, deromanticizes two of America's most notorious outlaws (they were "never... particularly competent crooks") without undermining the mystique of the Depression-era gunslingers. Clyde Barrow, a scrawny kid in poverty-stricken West Dallasin the late 1920s, stole chickens before moving on to cars, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Buck. In 1930, he met 19-year-old Bonnie Parker, and during the next four years Clyde, Bonnie and the ever-revolving members of the Barrow Gang robbed banks and armories all over the South, murdering at least seven people. Bonnie, who fancied herself a poet, wrote, "Some day they'll go down together," and they did, in a Louisiana ambush led by famed ex-Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. With the brisk pacing of a novel, Guinn's richly detailed history will leave readers breathless until the final hail of bullets. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Who hasn't heard of Bonnie and Clyde Barrow? The story of their murderous crime spree during the Great Depression has been told numerous times in both print and film. These new books provide lengthy, detailed descriptions of their many crimes, as well as comprehensive reviews of their backgrounds. Schneider (Brutal Journey), in particular, emphasizes the social climate of the era, as encountered especially by Clyde-oddly, the book is composed in the second person, as addressed empathetically to Clyde himself, leading the author into language that is impressionistic and somewhat disconcerting to encounter in sourced nonfiction. Although Schneider does not justify the criminal lives of the Barrows, his aim may be to show that their story is relevant today, when members of modern street gangs sometimes view a life of crime as their best way out of poverty.

Relying on unpublished manuscripts and testimonies and written sources that he deems reliable, Guinn (former book editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; The Christmas Chronicles) reminds us that many stories of Bonnie and Clyde were exaggerated in the news, resulting in myths he challenges here. For example, they were very inept crooks. Although he does not provide as comprehensive a review of the era's social climate as Schneider, Guinn explains how celebrities reflect the needs of their particular time. In addition, his coverage of the law enforcement effort to bring down Bonnie and Clyde is more detailed than Schneider's. He accurately points out that the general public idolized Bonnie and Clyde because of their rebel image of sticking it to bankers and the law during a period of economic and social struggles.Ultimately, the public adoration changed when Bonnie and Clyde killed two motorcycle cops. Many readers may feel that they've already had enough of these two, but both books are fine additions to the literature, although Schneider's approach takes some getting used to. Guinn's is more strongly recommended if one must choose.
—Tim Delaney

From the Publisher
“Engaging. . . reads like a road story—two kids from the Dallas slums in a fast car, headed to nowhere good.” 9 781416 557074 —The New Yorker

“A fine work of history. . . . Easily readable and includes much of the last
two decades’ new scholarship. . . . Especially good at . . . placing Bonnie
and Clyde in context.” —Bryan Burrough,
The New York Times Book Review

“A rollicking read, an astonishing story of perseverance in the face of hopelessness,
and a perverse tale of two lovers whom only death could part.”
—Mark Dunkelman, The Providence Journal

“Guinn cuts through the sex and gunsmoke surrounding the gangster
love story of Bonnie and Clyde. . . . A welcome corrective.”
—J. Lynn Lunsford, The Wall Street Journal

“Guinn has deftly restored the humanity of America’s best known
crime couple, stripping away the Hollywood glamour and hype with
the unvarnished but equally compelling truth.”
—Kathleen Krog, The Miami Herald

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 19

The Platte City Shootout

N.D. Houser, the owner-operator of the Red Crown Tavern and its adjoining two-cabin motor court, was suspicious from the moment Blanche Barrow walked into his office on July 18 and asked to rent the cabins overnight for a party of three. For one thing, Blanche was wearing her beloved "riding breeches" — jodhpurs was the correct fashion term — that were skintight across the rear and flared out from the hip to the knee. Pants like that were seldom seen in Platte City, Missouri, and several people who saw Blanche there were still remarking about them decades later. Then she paid the $4 rent in loose change, undoubtedly looted earlier in the day from the cash registers and gum machines at the three service stations in Fort Dodge. Houser took the money and watched as the fellow driving the Ford V-8 pulled up to the cabins, opened the door of the garage between them, and backed his car in. Criminals were notorious for doing that so they could make fast getaways.

Clyde got Bonnie settled in the right-hand cabin. W. D. Jones joined them there as usual. Buck and Blanche took the cabin on the left. Almost as soon as everyone was inside, Clyde sent for Blanche. He gave her more loose change and told her to go over to the tavern and buy five dinners and beer. She was to bring the food back so they could eat in the cabins. Blanche reminded Clyde that they'd just checked in as a party of three. Buying five meals would be a tip-off that there were more of them than that. But Clyde said he didn't care — she was to get five dinners, period, and he wanted chicken if they had it. Blanche did as she was told, and as she poured more coins into his palm Houser said he'd have to go back to the cabins with her. He'd forgotten to take down the license number of their car, and it was required information from all their guests. Feeling helpless, Blanche led him back to the right-hand cabin and called for Clyde to come out. He opened the garage door so Houser could jot down the V-8 sedan's license number: Oklahoma 75-782. Clyde didn't think it was an immediate problem as he routinely switched plates on stolen cars. But it should have served as a warning sign that the staff at the Red Crown was especially vigilant. Clyde apparently didn't care. He told his family later that he liked the Red Crown cabins. They had stone and brick walls, which made him feel secure. If they needed to get to their car in a hurry, there was an interior door in Clyde's cabin that opened directly into the garage. Buck and Blanche's cabin didn't have one. They could only go in and out through the front door.

After dinner, everyone went to bed. They slept late on the morning of July 19. When Buck woke up, he told Blanche to go over to the other cabin and see when Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. would be ready to leave. Clyde said he'd decided they would stay another day. He wanted Blanche to fetch some more food and beer. Clyde felt relaxed about their situation. The cabins were nice. Bonnie needed rest. So Clyde gave Blanche yet another pile of change. After she brought the food, he sent her out to pay Houser $4 for a second night's stay. Blanche wasn't exaggerating in her memoir when she complained about having to run all the gang's errands. Houser took the money and told Blanche she could have a refund if her group decided to leave before nightfall. She thought it was an odd remark, and told Clyde that Houser "was the type that might tell the law we were there if he had the slightest suspicion about us." He was, and he didn't have to go far to do it.

The Barrow Gang had no idea that the Red Crown Tavern served as a gathering place for local cops and the state highway patrol. Two-way radios were still nonexistent for most lawmen in the region, so officers and supervisors would often meet somewhere at mealtimes to exchange messages and receive orders. The Red Crown was a favorite spot because the food was so good. On July 19, Missouri Highway Patrol captain William Baxter and some of his men met there for lunch. Either Houser or one of his employees mentioned to Baxter that the people in the two tourist cabins were acting awfully strange. The woman checking them in said they were a party of three, but she was buying meals for five. Besides paying for everything in loose change and parking backward in the garage the way crooks often did, whoever was in the right-hand cabin had taped paper across the windows to block anybody looking in. Houser described them to Baxter, and also gave him the Ford's license number. Baxter made a note to check the plate, and meanwhile put the cabins under surveillance.

Someone also passed the word about suspicious characters at the Red Crown cabins to Platte County sheriff Holt Coffey. Coffey and Baxter got along well. When they conferred early in the afternoon of the 19th, they concluded it was possible that the four or five people (they weren't entirely sure whether it was three men and two women, or two and two) might be the notorious Barrow Gang. Bonnie Parker was known to be badly injured, and a farmer in Iowa had recently reported finding used bandages at a campsite in the country. That meant the Barrows were probably somewhere in the region — why not Platte City?

The Barrows packed BARs, and Coffey worried that his own officers and the members of Baxter's highway patrol only had handguns and a few low-caliber rifles to return fire if it really was the gang and they tried to arrest them. Determined not to be outgunned, he went to see Sheriff Tom Bash, whose Jackson County department had jurisdiction for Kansas City and whose available armaments included machine guns, steel bulletproof shields, tear gas launchers, and armored cars. When Coffey drove over to ask for Bash's help, he didn't get the hoped-for offer of cooperation. As Coffey recalled it later, Bash snarled that he was "getting pretty damn tired of every hick sheriff in the country coming in here telling me they have a bunch of desperadoes holed up and wanting help." When Coffey insisted that they might be able to corner the infamous Barrow Gang, Bash finally agreed to send along a few officers and one armored car. This was an ordinary sedan whose sides had been reinforced with extra metal.

While Coffey pleaded with Bash, Lieutenant Baxter of the highway patrol got a report back on his license check. The number matched the plate on a Ford V-8 stolen on June 26 from a Dr. Fields in Enid, Oklahoma. Clyde, of course, had long since left that vehicle behind, but he foolishly kept the plate and screwed it on the bumper of the V8 he stole outside Fort Dodge on July 18. The Barrow Gang was suspected of the car theft in Enid, so Baxter felt he had more proof that Clyde and his cohorts were holed up in the Red Crown cabins.

By midafternoon, Baxter and Coffey began planning their raid. They knew Blanche had paid for the gang to stay a second night, so they decided to attack well after dark. The lawmen did their best to keep a low profile, but customers at the service station, grocery, and tavern all noticed highway patrolmen and county cops gathering and watching the tourist cabins. Word spread, and it soon seemed as though everyone but the Barrow Gang knew a confrontation was imminent. The newspaper Clyde had taped to his cabin windows to keep people from looking inside also prevented him from seeing what was going on outside.

At some point, either Clyde or Blanche walked to a local drugstore to buy bandages and over-the-counter medical supplies for Bonnie. Witnesses subsequently disagreed about who it was. Apparently, the lawmen let him or her come and go freely, not wanting to alert the rest of the gang and risk letting them escape. The druggist, who'd heard the rumors about criminals being in town, contacted Coffey to tell him about the purchases. The sheriff now felt certain that Bonnie Parker was in one of the Red Crown cabins.

That night in the left-hand cabin, Buck and Blanche talked about what they wanted to do next. Both were ready to leave Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. They were tired of being bossed around. While Buck shined Blanche's boots, he suggested that they go north to Canada and find an isolated cabin to hide in. Buck thought they could make a living as trappers. Blanche said it would be fine with her — anything to get away from the others. Then Blanche walked over to the grocery across the road to buy some soap. When she went inside, she noticed there were quite a few people there, and all of them stopped talking as soon as she entered. While Blanche waited for her purchases, she stepped on a scale and discovered she weighed ninety-one pounds, almost twenty less than she had back in March when Buck was released from prison.

Back in the cabin, Blanche told Buck the people in the store had acted strangely. He suggested that she go tell Clyde about it. Buck added that he thought they'd be fine if they didn't leave until the morning. Clyde told her the same thing. He sent Blanche back to the left-hand cabin, and a few minutes later W.D. followed to say Clyde wanted her to return to the grocery for sandwiches and beer. She refused, so W.D. went. After he got back — apparently, W.D. didn't notice anything suspicious going on — everyone had some food and then went to bed.

Around 1 a.m. on July 20, Baxter and Coffey gathered their men together. Counting themselves, the highway patrolmen, county cops, and two officers sent by Sheriff Bash of Jackson County in the armored car, the posse numbered thirteen. Coffey's nineteen-year-old son, Clarence, was one of the highway patrolmen, along with Leonard Ellis and Thomas Whitecotton. Whitecotton had rushed from the department office to be there. He was still wearing the fancy seersucker suit and Panama hat he favored for days spent behind a desk instead of out on patrol. Baxter and Coffey had machine guns. They also had thick metal shields that they carried in front of them like medieval knights. The shields were supposed to protect them from even high-caliber bullets.

Coffey and Baxter were in the lead as the posse closed around the cabins. Jackson County officer George Highfill steered the armored car in front of the door of the garage connecting the cabins, effectively blocking the Ford V8 inside. Then he shone the car's lights directly on the left-hand cabin door. Crouching behind their shields, Coffey and Baxter moved forward. Coffey knocked on the door. Blanche jumped out of bed and began pulling on her jodhpurs and boots. Stalling for time, she asked who it was. Coffey yelled, "The sheriff — open up!" From the right-hand cabin a man's voice replied, "Just a minute," and then the Barrow Gang started shooting, Clyde and W.D. from the right side and Buck from the left, blasting their bullets at the lawmen right through the cabin doors and windows.

Watching from behind, Clarence Coffey told reporters later that he saw his father "pushed him back like he was hit by a high-pressure hose" as the bullets from the BARs smashed into his metal shield. Baxter was knocked back, too. The high-caliber slugs couldn't penetrate the shields, but their impact was still staggering.

Except for the headlights of the armored car shining on the door of the left-hand cabin, the light in the area in front of the cabins was patchy. All highway patrolmen Whitecotton and Ellis could see were two shadowy figures lurching in front of the cabins while gunfire exploded everywhere. Whitecotton mistakenly thought Sheriff Coffey must be one of the Barrows and yelled to Ellis, "There's one of 'em! Get him!" Ellis, armed with a shotgun, raised his weapon and fired. A bit of buckshot scratched Holt Coffey's neck. Afterward, when Coffey bragged about being shot by the Barrow Gang and living to tell about it, Whitecotton and Ellis decided not to ruin the Platte County sheriff's story by revealing that he'd been hit by friendly fire.

Inside the cabins, Clyde yelled for W.D. to go into the garage through the interior door and start the Ford. Bonnie fished the keys out of Clyde's pocket and tossed them to the teenager. When W.D. had the engine engaged, Clyde yelled for him to pull the garage door open, but the posse was pouring tremendous fire into the cabins and W.D. was too scared to do it. Holding his BAR in one hand, Clyde ran into the garage through the interior door and began pulling the door open himself. W.D. tried to help. As the door rose, they saw the armored car about fifteen feet in front of them blocking the way out. Clyde opened up on the car with his BAR. The car's side armor was supposed to repel any bullets, but Clyde's slammed through, wounding driver George Highfill in both legs. Another bullet smashed the horn button on the steering wheel, and the shrill howl of the horn blended with the gunfire. If Highfill had held his ground, the rest of the posse could have tightened their circle around the cabins and eventually captured the whole gang, but the injured officer astounded both his fellow lawmen and Clyde by easing the much perforated armored car several dozen yards to the right, opening a way for Clyde to drive the V8 straight through the surrounding cops. Both sides realized what was about to happen, and for a few seconds there was no more shooting.

Using the interior door in the right-hand cabin that opened directly into the garage, Bonnie hobbled into the V8. Clyde and W.D. climbed in. But Buck and Blanche had to leave their cabin through the front door to get to the car, and as they slammed the door open and began running for the garage, the posse laid down a high-caliber fusillade. A bullet from Baxter's machine gun struck Buck in the left temple and exited out his forehead, taking away part of his skull and exposing his brain. He dropped between the cabin door and the car.

Ever since she unwillingly joined the gang back in late March, Blanche Barrow repeatedly engaged in whining and other petty behavior. But now she proved she had courage. With bullets flying all around her, Blanche stopped to loop her arm under Buck's waist. Skinny and scared as she was, Blanche still helped Clyde drag Buck into the car while W.D. provided covering fire.

Somewhere behind the cabins, one of the lawmen fired a tear gas rocket that overshot the Ford, sailed across the highway, and exploded next to the service station. Clouds of stinking smoke added to the chaos. Clyde floored the gas pedal of the V8 and drove straight out of the Crown Tavern lot, past Holt Coffey with his metal shield and onto Highway 71. Everyone in the posse was shooting and their bullets smashed into the Ford. In the back seat Blanche was bent over Buck, trying to shield him from further harm. Her face was turned toward the right, and that was the side where most of the posse were standing and firing. One of their bullets struck the car's back window. It exploded. Though her body protected her mortally wounded husband, glass splinters drove straight into both of Blanche's eyes. She screamed, "I can't see," but Clyde had to concentrate on getting them out of there and kept on going, around a sharp corner and then off into the night.

The posse didn't immediately pursue them. The armored car was a sieve. Besides Highfill's wounded legs and Holt Coffey's nicks, several other officers had been injured, though none seriously. The Barrow Gang hadn't added to their body count of lawmen this time. Baxter got to a phone and called in a description of the gang's Ford, which like the Jackson County armored car was riddled with bullet holes. He emphasized that his posse "had a shooting scrape with the Barrow brothers." The lawmen found some pistols and a BAR in one of the cabins, along with syringes and morphine. The latter discoveries sparked rumors that the Barrow Gang were junkies, but the needles and dope were just the last remnants of booty from the doctor's bag Clyde had stolen back in Enid.

While the posse poked about the Red Crown cabins, Clyde was finding it tough to get away from Platte City. He spent several hours lost on backcountry roads. At one point a tire went flat, and the V8 had to bounce along on the rim until Clyde found a suitable place to stop and change it. They encountered several locals but no police. Clyde assured Blanche that despite the glass slivers driven into them, her eyeballs weren't "busted." The right eye was less damaged than the left — she could discern light and movement through it, but very little else.

Buck faded in and out of consciousness. Blanche tried to keep her fingers pressed tightly against the hole in his head. The floor by the back seat was soaked with Buck's blood. He asked for water — they had none to give him — and even in his dire condition Buck tried to comfort Blanche by telling her his head only hurt a little.

At dawn they stopped for gas at a service station north of Kansas City. Clyde told Blanche to cover Buck with a blanket, hoping the attendant wouldn't notice anything was wrong. Apparently he didn't think the man would see dozens of bullet holes in the car. But as soon as the attendant walked over, Buck began vomiting loudly, and the fellow looked in and saw the blood and carnage. Shaken by his brother's condition, Clyde simply drove away, telling Blanche he was sure the attendant would call the Kansas City cops to report seeing them. There was still enough fuel in the tank so that they could keep driving for a while.

Clyde headed north into Iowa with no particular destination in mind. He just wanted to find a place where the gang could rest and get a better idea of everyone's physical condition. Buck was clearly doomed — you could look right inside his head — but it was hard to tell how much damage had been done to Blanche's eyes. W.D. had suffered some minor wounds in the shootout, and Bonnie was still in terrible shape. They stopped for gas again, and Clyde bought bandages, Mercurochrome, hydrogen peroxide, and aspirin. That was all they had to treat their injuries. They poured the hydrogen peroxide directly into the hole in Buck's skull, and then did their best to wrap his head. A pair of sunglasses helped protect Blanche's eyes. They drove toward Des Moines, pausing occasionally to change the bandages on Buck's head and Bonnie's leg, tossing the soiled ones to the side of the road and not realizing they were leaving a clear trail for pursuers. All day other motorists reported finding used bandages to the police. These Iowa lawmen knew about the shootout the night before — Platte City police had issued regional bulletins — so they were already on the lookout for the Barrow Gang, with injured Bonnie Parker and now at least one other member badly hurt and bleeding hard.

Late on July 20, just west of Des Moines, Clyde decided they had to stop. They needed rest, food, and to give Buck the chance to die a little more comfortably than he could in the back seat of a car. Staying at a motor court was out — there was no way they could check in without someone noticing their pitiful, bloody condition. That meant camping in the country, someplace off the main road where no one would see them. Then, like a miracle, off to the right of the road not far past the town of Dexter there appeared what seemed to be a perfect spot, lush rolling woods bisected by a wide river. Dexfield Park — named for its location between the towns of Dexter and Redfield, and ringed by local farms — had once been a popular gathering place, opened in 1915 and featuring carnival rides, softball diamonds, a dance hall, a massive swimming pool, and lots of wooded areas for picnicking and camping. But the Depression had left few who could afford admission, and the park closed in early 1933. By the time the Barrow Gang arrived six months later, the abandoned park's green acres still attracted lovers, local berry pickers, and occasional indigent campers. Clyde pulled off the road and drove back into a grove of trees. He used seat cushions from the car to make a bed of sorts for Buck. Clyde, Bonnie, W.D., and a weeping Blanche expected Buck to die any minute. He was suffering greatly. They waited, hoping they were far enough away from cities and prying eyes to be safe, but they weren't.

Copyright 2009 by 24 Words LLC

Meet the Author

Jeff Guinn is a former award-winning investigative journalist and the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral and How It Changed the West, and Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson. Guinn lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
fin_bheara More than 1 year ago
You probably have seen the 1967 movie about Bonnie & Clyde, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway...this book has their true story, and it shows just how inaccurate the movie itself really was, and how inaccurately the Barrow Gang was being portrayed. Their true story is really much more interesting, and you won't be able to put this book down. I highly recommend this book!
Lewis5x More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in Bonnie and Clyde. It tells the story of how hard life really was in thier era. Minute details of thier lives are brought out as no other book,movie or publicatation I have ever read ( and I have read many ) or saw does. Do not expect some Hollywood version of thier lives here,
HISTORIANJV More than 1 year ago
The background of the West Dallas slums is interesting, and the research based stories of how the Barrow and Parker families survived the Great Depression is riveting. Readers of true crime histories may be disappointed to find that two of the best known public enemies were simply antisocial outcasts, unwilling to deal with the nationwide events impacting almost everyone, and who were otherwise not special in any way except their desire for glory and propensity to commit violence without conscience. The author debunks much of the common knowledge created by Warren Beaty's 1967 movie, "Bonnie and Clyde."
Cherthom More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It is written very well and full of facts about Bonnie & Clyde. It's hard to put down. For anyone that is interested in these two people and their life in crime it's a must read! It shows them as human beings that made some really bad decisions.
Zor-El More than 1 year ago
What a tremendous book. I have become a fan of the writing of Jeff Guinn. His writing style is almost like that of a historical novel. He is meticulous with the facts but spins them into the book in a way that isn't dry. Probably his best talent is his ability to immerse you in the time period and setting that is the focus of the book. I have never been a "true crime" genre fan overall (didn't hate it but just never cared for it either) but this book was fascinating. I came away with a picture of who the real Bonnie and Clyde were. He does it in a way that while not in the slightest apologizing for their behaviour you actuallly like (perhaps too strong a word) or understand how they got to the point they did. I don't give a lot of 5 stars but this one deserves it.
Emma_Peel More than 1 year ago
This is a great book providing not only the exploits of two legendary people, but goes in to the socioeconomic structures which prompted the two to take such drastic actions. Whereas the Beatty and Dunaway film takes incredible license with the story and combine different people into one character, the book flushes out the story and gives greater detail as to what happened.
KJ10101 More than 1 year ago
A must read. This book states the true facts and shows what was gossip and fiction about Bonnie & Clyde. Everyone should read this even if you think you already know everything about their story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thorough, well-written, detailed study of Clyde and Bonnie, their personalities, relationships, ideals. WOW! Can't say enough good about it. Must read for anyone interested in historic crimes or the people behind them. My entire opinion of these two changed after reading this book; Mr. Guinn even had family members' opinions included, and these alone are surprising. Wow. Loved it.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
GO DOWN TOGETHER: THE TRUE, UNTOLD STORY OF BONNIE AND CLYDE by Jeff Guinn is a well researched and thorough account of the lives of this notorious couple. It takes us back to the depression-era Texas and we learn about whom they were and how they became to be what history has portrayed them to be. This book is filled with all the information you ever wanted to know and a few surprises to boot.
MagicMan13 More than 1 year ago
I had thought that I knew alot about the Bonnie and Clyde saga, boy was I wrong! I absolutely loved this book. The details about their early lives and the conditions that they lived in were eye opening. It really set up the whole story and helps you understand how two young people could end up as the most wanted criminals in the country. The research in this book is incrediable, to be able to reproduce Clyde and Bonnie's lives on a day to day basis over the few years they were together was amazing. It made me feel like I was right there with them on the back roads of Texas, Oklahoma, etc. I also the liked the pictures that were included in the book, besides the popular ones that everyone uses there were some unique ones that I had never seen before. I would have loved to seen more pictures. I absolutely love true crime books especially ones about the "gangster" types, Dillinger, Capone, etc. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Thank you. I will be looking forward to your next effort.
-Addicted_To_Books- More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr Guinn and discussing his objective for this book. His goal was to reveal the TRUE story of Bonnie and Clyde instead of retelling the Hollywood version everyone is so familiar with, and he did an excellent job. You can tell he really put effort and research into this book for it is nothing like what I knew-or thought I knew-about the real Bonnie and Clyde. You see them in a whole new light. Though it's honest and straight-forward and not embellished, it is not boring in the least. I was enthralled the whole time. I originally started reading this book because my class required it, but soon found that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've never had so much fun with a class reading assignment. I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction, but this is an amazing piece of literature, one that everyone should read (especially those interested in individuals like Jessie James, John Dillinger and the likes). Excellent work, Guinn! I can't wait to read your other books.
Natalie64 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating and straight forward are the words I would use to describe this book. The author presents us with the facts, but in a very readable and interesting way. Even though they were criminals and murderers, the author takes you into their minds and why they did it. The author does not make excuses or glamorize their lives. In fact, quite the opposite. These were desperate people who came from desperate conditions. Their life on the run was not romantic and they knew things would not end well for them. They knew they would pay with their lives. It is interesting how the author contrasts these two with the "big" names of the time (Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys nonfiction / biographies / history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written. It is very informative yet very easy to read. Even if you don't like nonfiction or history type books you will like this one. The author makes a great effort to tell the true story and his research is the best of any B&C book.
southernsympathizer-1 More than 1 year ago
This is a masterpiece that even in knowing the ultimate outcome, kept me turning the pages at a fever pitch. Mr. McGuinn's attention to detail is extensive yet never gets bogged down with inconsequential data. This book reads like a Grisham novel but with a realism that captures the essence of the horrible dust bowl/depression era that made me see and understand that desperate people take desperate measures and, in fateful irony towards the end, the duo ultimately find themselves more desperate than when it all began in the festering West Dallas slums. These were not Dillingeresque, professional bankrobbers, but a pair of bungling kids...sleeping in their(stolen)car, pilferring gumball machines and holding up gas stations and grocery stores to live in the bushes. Their only "successful" bank jobs (save 1) were in the last three months of their short lives. Clyde and Bonnie are portayed as very real people...and not what legend, lore and Hollywood have depicted. It was especially profound to me to read how family oriented they truly were..."coming home" whenever they could to give their impoverished families some clothing, gifts for holidays and monies for food. Clyde's character shone through (despite the obvious murders) in his quest to live up to his word and his co-inmate/friends in "bustin 'em outta jail"...a little different today, but I think Mr. McGuinn also showed that times have not changed as much as we think they have....the law and the media create and haunt us. The inhumane prison system created a frightened and angry man who was now capable of ANYTHING before ever being sent back to the "death farm". Families are harrassed and divided and in Clyde's case,he never had a chance at keeping a "decent job" with the "laws" continual presence at his workplace....nowadays it's criminal background and credit checks. Mind your Pees and Qs America...someone is watching and wishing to make a name for themselves. This book is a real eye opener.
Jennlvs2read More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.. informative and entertaining. I have a better understanding of the duo than I did before. If your looking for a book about Clyde and Bonnie I believe you will not be disapointed with this one!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Well written and researched, debunking previously filmed and written myth and folklore. I appreciated the fact he includes other historical facts about the time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VG read!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have anything else to do, do not start this book because you wont get anythibg else done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book very detailed and interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago